Month: March 2018

History on the Screen 3.1: Victoria and The Crown Pt. 2

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Below you’ll find the doppelganger chart I mentioned the day before yesterday, that shows the tele-cinematic counterparts of the historical people of the British royal family appearing in the first two seasons of both shows, Victoria (PBS & WGBH Materpiece) and The Crown (Netflix).

From George to shining George.

King_George_III_of_England_by_Johann_ZoffanyEr, from old King George III–who lost the American colonies and later went crazy–down to his 7th-great-grandson, the wee Prince sd-aspect-1461114471-prince-george-800George, who, somewhat coincidentally, if and when he becomes king anywhere from like the year 2033 to the 2070s (!!!) will be King George VII.

Incidentally, in the course of scouring the web for pictures of both the real Victoria and Elizabeth II when they were young, I found two of particular interest, one of each.E n M 1

Here’s the one of Elizabeth II. It’s awesome. Because in it she looks like she’s being just absolutely real, her real self (whoever that is) and though that isn’t *necessarily* any of our business, in the same spirit that The Crown brilliantly humanizes her, so too does this picture. All the more interesting and charming because she’s with her sister, who is known (from real life for those who’ve been alive longer, u-hem) and the show to have been the more animated, lively, apt to be found tossing one back and guffawing. And yet here, ’tis Her Majesty doing just that. Plus, it’s a hoot, that checked-out expression on Tony’s face.

V 1The particular one I found of Victoria is just a bit below. But why it caught my attention so sharply warrants a short explanation and some other pix. Ok, so I V 3found some genuinely charming pictures of young and younger Victoria from the era that the show so far has covered. Like these, to the right and the left.

And, ok, we all sort of know that tele-cinematic depictions of people–no matter who–are going to involve casting actors who generally speaking have physical looks that conform more to the telegenic norms. Ya with me? In other words, literally on the face of it, although they’ve done clever and appropriate things to Jenna Coleman’s hair and face to give the impression of Victoria, Jenna is just cute as a button, conventionally speaking, doesn’t have that proud and tremendous nose Victoria had, or the lovely and ample rounded cheeks.

Victoria_sketch_1835But then this picture caught my eye. (Wasn’t hiding anywhere esoteric, either; it’s on the Wikipedia page.) This picture is a self-portrait that Victoria drew about the time she took the throne. This is how the young Victoria saw herself. I think it looks so much like Jenna Coleman that I’m fairly if not fully convinced that the geniuses making the show intentionally cast an actress who resembled this picture, because that’s the point of the show: we’re seeing the world as she saw it, so by God why should we see the woman any way but how she saw herself?

Genius move.

And I think my somewhat wacky idea, here, gains Her_Majesty's_Gracious_Smile_by_Charles_Knightcredence with this other picture, taken of the old Victoria. But it’s different in that–look at that smile! Her face is transformed! She doesn’t even, to me anyway, resemble the stolid, stoic Victoria that we’re all quite used to seeing. This smiling woman looks so sweet, so loving, so warm and present and…just the way Jenna portrays her, as she’s written and directed in the show.

So, to keeping the public at bay if ya need to.

And to warmth. At least on that level, the monarch gets to have their cake and share it with whom they please.

Here’s the tree w/ the actors next to their historical characters.



History on the Screen 3: Victoria & The Crown

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Having recently gotten into the two excellent, deeply enjoyable and artistically elite mini-series The Crown (from Netflix) and Victoria (from WGBH’s Masterpiece and ITV from the UK) it seemed only natural to make a family tree of the British monarchs showing how the crown indeed made its way between the two longest serving sovereigns–Queens, both–from HRM Victoria to HRM Elizabeth II.

It appears below. But since these shows, especially The Crown, are so popular, I feel obliged to confess that I’m a bit of a later comer to it.


After months of seeing the gently lit silouhette of actress Clarie Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth II as my Netflix wallpaper, actively avoiding even checking it out—hilariously sort of Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 1.44.23 PM.pngpathetic pattern I seem to repeat throughout my life when first confronted with an item that not only ends up being of interest to me, but crawls right in there with the marrow, I even generate “logical” excuses as to why I don’t need that thing: Sgt. Pepper’s, “too sensitive“; Paul’s Boutique, “too frivolous”—I finally got on board with The Crown, thanks to watching an episode with my mom over Christmas, blasting my way through the BS excuse this time of “too irrelevant to politics”. ROFLOL


I didn’t really binge it. Well, not all of it, not all at once.

The episode I’d watched over Xmas was the Jackie Kennedy one. And after it was over, a near total convert I eagerly shared how I couldn’t wait to indulge in watching the next, and the next etc. And THEN she tells me, “Sorry, buddy, this is from season 2, and it’s almost over.” The cruelty.

After returning home from the Xmas visit, full with the painful knowledge that there was very little of this precious show *after* the bit I’d seen, I solemnly went back to start the show from its beginning; even if I knew the end of being with it was coming, and when!– at least, I told myself, I can enjoy season 1 and the run-up to where I’d entered.

Episode 1 was a great intro and re-entry. But Episode 2 “Hyde Park Corner”, which follows the events around George VI’s death blew my mind. It made me realize just how awesome this show is. It achieves that special thing that is what the cinematic arts are all about. Later, reading about the show, Claire Foy shared that that, the death of Elizabeth’s dad, was the central fact for getting to her character. Watch it if you haven’t, and if you have, enjoy it again! It’s profound and masterfully done. Anyway! And, in the unexpected turn that my experience of this show is a microcosm of life, being aware of just how Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 2.04.29 PMawesome it indeed is, just how little of it there was, I decided to savor it and didn’t want to use up all the episodes, so I started pacing myself.

I’m still saving the last episode. 🙂


I didn’t prop any such fortitude in watching Victoria, though, although I haven’t seen most of season 1 of it because my PBS (what is UP, KQED?!?) for some reason doesn’t offer the streaming episodes where I live. But I was able to find two from season 1 and all of King_George_III_of_England_by_Johann_Zoffanyseason 2 and binged away. Great, great stuff.

Anyway, being the geek for charts that I am, I put together this one below showing the relational line from Queen Victoria to her great-great-granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II. Actually, it includes back to Victoria’s grandfather, George III, who of course lost America (and is infamous here as some tyrant from whom we freed ourselves, even though it was Parlaiment and not George behind the laws our Founders represented as oppressive).

ERNST VICT SHOWSo on the chart at the bottom it’s easy to follow the line of the throne from George III and how the crown bounced from Victoria’s head and landed on Elizabeth’s and not that of the heads of George’s surviving eldest male line of Ernest_Augustus_I_of_Hanoverdescendants. They descend from Victoria’s digruntled uncle, Ernst, the Duke of Cumberland and King of Hanover, who appears in “Victoria” (real to the left, show on the right). He was the younger brother of Victoria’s dad, but the senior son to have a son; they stayed in Germany, as Kings of Hanover, and when WW-I broke out they remained loyal to Germany. As a result, they were stripped of their British titles and such. Then when the war ended, the Germans had a revolution and stripped them (along with all the other German nobility) of their German titles. Don’t worry about them too much, though, they’re still filthy, filthy rich.

Anyway, what’s amazing, is that between the two shows not a generation is missed, since Elizabeth II’s grandmother, Mary of Teck, appears in The Crown, and she was married to George V, who, though he’s not in the show, was the son of Edward VII, who appears as a baby and then child inV to MT.png Victoria. Neat! The excerpted chart to the right shows from Victoria, along with their TV counterparts, to her grandson’s wife Mary of Teck, whose show counterpart, remember, appears in The Crown.

The full chart below then extends down from E2 to William and Catherine’s kids because, well…kids are cute and George (the VII, someday far in the future) and his sister Charlotte are cute kids, and of course, Harry and his soon-to-be-wife, in whom the Royals come full circle since 1776 and now marrying American royalty from tinseltown itself. Nice one, Harry!


Tomorrow I’ll post the doppelganger of this full chart that has everyone’s counterparts from the two shows. Enjoy! And remember to click the charts so you can see them big and up close.