Sixty Glorious Years (Queen of Destiny) (1938)

 

 

 

Director:     Herbert Wilcox.

Starring:     Anna Neagle (Queen Victoria),  Anton Walbrook (Prince Albert),  C. Aubrey Smith (Duke of Wellington), Walter Rilla (Prince Ernst),  Charles Carson (Sir Robert Peel),  Felix Aylmer (Lord Palmerston), Lewis Casson (Lord John Russell), Pamela Standish (Princess Royal), Gordon McLeod (John Brown), Henry Hallett (Joseph Chamberlain), Wyndham Goldie (Arthur J. Balfour), Malcolm Keen (William E. Gladstone), Frederick Leister (Herbert H. Asquith), Derrick De Marney (Benjamin Disraeli), Joyce Bland (Florence Nightingale).

Country:     British film.

This is the sequel to the then popular  Victoria the Great (1937).

 

 

Spoiler Warning:

"At the turn of the 19th century the tide of the British monarchy was at it’s lowest ebb. The countryside was seething with discontent and England was never closer to revolution. This was the heritage of the young girl queen – Victoria – when she ascended to the throne in 1837.

"Three years later, the monarchy was firmly set in the affection of its people, and it was the queen, ‘so young, so small, so dignified’ that wrought the change."

Windsor Castle. The Queen speaks to Parliament. She announces that she is going to marry Albert, a German citizen.

The members of Parliament discuss the issue in private. Robert Peel tells Duke Wellington that the people barely know their queen, and now she is asking for a lot of money for a large income. And they don’t like the idea of making the German an English peer.

Meanwhile, Albert and his brother are on their way, and Albert says goodbye to all the wonderful places he has been to in Germany. He reads in the papers that the Duke of Wellington has come out in opposition to Albert’s rank. Albert comments that he doesn’t think he will be very welcome.

Buckingham Palace. Albert says to his brother that the English are doing everything they can to make him feel unwelcome.

Victoria breaks away from her work to tell Albert that everything is all set up for the wedding and that she is very happy. Albert asks her maybe they should call off the wedding because the marriage is bound to be a failure.

Victoria reassures Albert that nothing can prevent her from marrying the man she loves. The critics will just have to accept Albert. Her demeanour indicates to Albert that Victoria will certainly marry him regardless of what some others might say. They kiss.

St. James’s Palace. February 10, 1840. Victoria and Albert wed. The wedding reception is a grand one with live music by Strauss. Victoria gives the evil eye to Wellington and Peel.

Peel comes to speak with Victoria while she and Albert are practising archery. Victoria says to Peel the he and Wellington are two of the most unwelcome of guests to speak to. The two men ran a campaign of disapproval against Albert. Peel sees it’s not use, and excuses himself and Wellington to await Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Victoria is still angry at the two men, but Albert asks her to be magnanimous because Wellington and Peel are both two of the world’s most important people. Victoria objects to being pleasant to the men, in spite of Albert’s wishes. Albert’s feelings get hurt and he marches away from the archery practise.

Albert goes into the palace where he runs into his new male secretary, Anson, chosen not by him, but by Victoria. Albert had not know this, and he had already promised the job to a good friend of his in whom he has great faith. The Prince gets so mad that he goes over to play the organ to try and calm down. Anson leaves the room.

Victoria returns to the palace. Albert tells Victoria’s attendant to tell the Queen that he would like to talk with her. The message delivered, the Queen says she will not see the Prince at all today. The attendant tells Albert and he just barges into Victoria’s room.

The Prince is mad and wants to ball-out his wife, but he finds her crying over the disputes. Albert tells her she can be mad at him and appoint a secretary for him, but she acted toward Wellington and Peel as a naughty little girl, and that’s something he will speak up against. To Albert’s surprise, a crying Victoria agrees that she behaved badly to her two critics. He says: "There’s humility in all real greatness."

Victoria says she will be very charming to the two men when she sees them again, but when she does see them again, she forgets about the charming part.

"Streets of dirty straggling houses, as deformed as the half-naked children that wallow in the kennels. A weak tremulous voice tells a fearful tale of want and famishing." Charles Dickens.

The Prince reads one of Dickens’s book. He asks Anson if what the author writes is true? Anson answers yes, because Dickens lives among the people he writes about.

Queen Victoria has given birth to a baby girl. Albert's brother Ernst pays a visit to Albert and his family. Anson speaks with Ernst and tells him that Albert has a difficult task taking his "rightful place" with the Queen.

Albert carries Victoria down the steps and surprises her with Ernst. The Queen is indeed surprised. She has her little Vicky brought to her. Albert plays the piano. He tells his wife that the writings of Dickens makes him want to do something helpful for the poor people of England.

The Corn Laws made things worse for the poor. According to the laws, no foreign corn could be imported into Britain until domestic corn cost 80/- per quarter. The high price caused the cost of food to increase and made it even more difficult for the poor to survive.

The Prince was assigned some of the blame, justified or not. When he came to watch Parliament in action, one of the speakers says that his presence is neither appreciated or wanted. Albert walked out when he heard this.

Osborne. The Queen has called in Peel. She tells him that these unjust accusations against her husband are making him feel so bad and down. The Queen wants Peel to get a kind of job that Albert could work on to make him feel wanted and useful. Peel says he is no longer prime minister, and doesn’t have the power he once had. But he does suggest that Wellington may be able to do something for Albert. That makes Victoria very happy.

Wellington comes with an idea, but Albert rejects it because it would just bring Albert more criticism. Albert, however, does have an idea of his own. He wants to have an international fair of sorts where nations can exhibit their various recent inventions. Wellington likes the idea.

The design for the Great Exhibition Building of 1851 is worked on. At first, the building came to be called the "Monstrous Green House" or the "Overgrown Conservatory". This upsets Albert, but he promises that he will continue on regardless of what the newspapers say.

The Great Exhibition, May 1st 1851. Now that the exhibition is opened for all to see, the main building becomes called the Crystal Palace because it was made mostly of glass. And this time the Prince is praised for his work and his ideas.

Balmoral Castle, Scotland. The royal family with four children set off to attend the Balmoral Gathering. While the family enjoy the festivities, Wellington dies at his home. Victoria cries over his death.

1853. "The clouds of war gathered over Europe when the designs of the Czar upon Turkey – ‘the sick man of Europe’ – threatened to involve England, where the Queen’s and Prince Albert’s policy of conciliation ‘exasperated’ the Foreign Minister, Lord Palmerston."

No. 10 Downing Street. Palmerston speaks of the necessity for war with Russia. Later he speaks out for war in Parliament. Albert urges peace, and for that he gets in hot water again with his critics.

Buckingham Palace. A mob calls Albert a traitor. They believe that Albert is trying to get rid of the one man who speaks the loudest for war: Palmerston. They believe that Albert is a foreign agent working for the Czar. And even worse., in the past couple of hours, war has become all but unavoidable. A sad Albert comments: "All our work in vain."

The Crimean War begins in 1854. And scandals break out. The conditions for the British troops in the Crimea are just appalling.

Victoria writes: "All is chaos! Russell has resigned! Accounts of the privations and suffering of our brave soldiers in the Crimea reach us continually and today, Albert and I visit the wounded in hospital . . ."

Victoria is so upset at what she finds at the hospital that she leaves the place crying.

The headline in the paper is: "The Queen sends for Lord Palmerston." Victoria and Albert pledge their support for whatever Palmerston will do about the war.

Sebastopol.

"Storm’d at with shot and shell

Boldly they rode and well.

Into the jaws of Death

Into the mouth of Hell

Rode the Six Hundred."

Tennyson

The Victoria Cross is created and given out "For Valor".  Florence Nightingale receives such a medal for her nursing."

Balmoral.

"Grow old along with me,

The best is yet to be."

Browning

Vicky is now 16 years of age and already being wooed by a young gentleman.

Later Victoria speaks to the young suitor, who seems somewhat afraid of speaking with the Queen. She gives Fritz her permission to marry her daughter.

St. James’s Palace, January 25th, 1858. Fritz marries Vicky. Victoria and Albert join in on the dancing.

Lincoln sends a note to Victoria and Albert thanking them for being so understanding about the Trent Affair., involving the American removal of two Southern diplomats from a British ship known as the Trent. Albert is sick and in bed when he receives the news.

Windsor Castle. December 14th, 1861. Albert is sick. Mr. Brown, a Scotsman, tell the doctor that it’s the English that made Albert sick. They can be a very cold people and the English never took Albert to their hearts.

Albert dies.

1863. Dressed all in black, Victoria is still in mourning for her deceased husband.

1870. Victoria is still dressed in black.

1875. "Casting aside her great grief at last, the Queen emerged from her impenetrable seclusion and the greater glory of her reign began. No statesman played a more important part in the affairs of her country than the Prime Minister – ‘that political gladiator’ – Benjamin Disraeli."

No. 10 Downing Street. Disraeli says that while Gladstone is a great politician, he treats the Queen like a public department., whereas Disraeli treats her like a woman.

The Suez Canal is an issue now. Disraeli is encouraged by some politicians to buy up shares in the Suez Canal project. The Prime Minister says he has the courage to do this, but not the money.

Nevertheless, at dinner Disraeli tells the Queen that he has bought up Egypt’s shares in the Suez Canal project. Victoria assumes that Disraeli went through Parliament, but he informs her that he has already purchased the shares on his own initiative. The Queen thinks that’s a wonderful idea. Disraeli goes on to say that the money was guaranteed by the Rothschilds.

1885. "The Sudan – where General Gordon was besieged in his heroic stand against the fanatical native leader – the Mahdi., whose conquering hordes – in revolt against Egyptian rule – brought terror and bloodshed to countless millions."

Khartoum, Sudan. General Gordon and his troops are in danger of being overrun, but he won’t abandon his post. He says that the Queen will send troops to save the day.

In England Queen Victoria expresses her disappointment in Prime Minister Gladstone for the long delay in going to the rescue of Gordon. Gladstone says that everything possible to be done is being done. Victoria disagrees with the man. Gordon was besieged in March and a rescue force was not formed until August. And now it’s November and just now the relief force has started out for Egypt.

A large force under the Mahdi enters the British fort and starts killing the British soldiers. Gordon hears the commotion, decides not to go armed with his pistol, and faces the enemy. A spear is thrown into Gordon’s chest.

The Queen sends a telegram to Gladstone. "It is too fearful to consider that the fall of Khartoum might have been prevented and many precious lives saved by earlier action." Gladstone comes to see the Queen. He explains that their relief force was only two days late into Khartoum. The Queen says about Gordon: "He is dead and we let him die."

"It was not until thirteen years later that the Mahdi was defeated at the Battle of Omdurman, and his conqueror, General Kitchener – triumphantly entered Khartoum."

1897. The Diamond Jubilee.

"From Pole to Pole a mighty shout,

Echoes from sea to sky.

‘For Sixty Glorious Years she reigned.’"

Victoria gets into her carriage and is paraded through the streets of London to St. Paul’s Cathedral. She is greeted with great applause wherever she goes.

When Victoria returns to the palace, she goes to tell a sick servant named Maggie all about the festivities. Maggie is thrilled at the description of the great reception of Victoria by the crowds. Victoria says she never knew that the people loved her so much.

1901. "On the twenty second of January, the dread news spread throughout the land: ‘The Queen is dying.’"

Osborne. Queen Victoria on her deathbed signs some bills from Parliament.

The doctor goes to get the Crown Prince for Victoria is fading fast. The Crown Prince kisses his mother’s hand. She dies.

"The tumult and the shouting dies –

The Captains and the Kings depart,

Still stands thine ancient sacrifice,

An humble and a contrite heart.

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget. Lest we forget."

Rudyard Kipling

 

 

 

Another good movie on Queen Victoria packed with important political events.  Anne Neagle again stars as Victoria.  She was good in both movies.  Also doing a great job in both movies is Anton Walbrook (as Prince Albert).

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


Historical Background:

 

 The eldest son of King George II, the Prince of Wales (the future King George IV) had only a daughter, Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales.

1817  --  Princess Charlotte died. 

1819  --   Victoria was born in Kensington Palace, London.  Her father was the Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. He married at age 50. 

At 8 months of age, her father died of pneumonia.  Her grandfather, George III, died blind and insane less than a week later.

The Prince of Wales became King George IV.

1830  --  at 11 years old, her uncle, King George IV, died childless.  His brother, the Duke of Clarence and St. Andrews, became King William IV.

Since King William IV was also without children, Princess Victoria became heiress-presumptive to the throne. 

1835  --  at age 16, Princess Victoria met her future husband, her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The King disapproved, but the couple persisted. 

1837 (June 20)   --  King William IV died.  At age 18, Victoria became the Queen. 

1838  (June 28)  --  coronation of Victoria.

The Whig Party was in control and the Queen relied on Prime Minister Lord Melbourne for advice.

1837  --  in Canada, the United Kingdom faced an insurrection in the Rebellions of 1837.   In Jamaica, the colonial legislature had protested British policies by refusing to pass any laws.

1839  --  unable to cope with the overseas problems, the ministry of Lord Melbourne resigned.

The Tory Sir Robert Peel became the new Prime Minister, but he did not last long and Lord Melbourne returned to office.

1840  --  Albert and Victoria married at the Chapel Royal in St. James's Palace. 

Edward Oxford tried but failed to assassinate Queen Victoria during her first pregnancy.  He was judged insane. 

1840 (November)  --  Victoria, the first child, born.  Eight more children would follow. 

Around this time Prince Albert became the dominant figure in the life of the Queen. 

1841  --  the Whigs under Melbourne lost the elections.  They were replaced by the Tories under Peel. 

1842 (June 13)  --  Victoria made her first train journey.

1842  --  there were three attempts to assassinate the Queen.

1845  --  Ireland hit by the potato famine.  The Queen liked Ireland and would holiday in Killarney.  She even donated 5,000 pounds to famine relief.  As things got worse, however, the Queen's reputation was harmed. 

1846  --  Peel resigned after the repeal of the Corn Laws.  He was replaced by Whig Lord John Russell.  Queen Victoria did  not care for him, nor for the Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston who had a penchant for acting alone. 

1849  -- Victoria complained to Lord John Russell, saying that Palmerston had sent official dispatches to foreign leaders without her knowledge.

1850  --  Victoria again complained about Palmerston.

1850  --  the Queen was injured when ex-Army officer, Robert Pate, struck her with his cane when she was riding in a carriage.

1851   --   Lord Palmerston was finally removed from office.

1852  --  collapse of Lord John Russell's ministry.  Conservative Lord Derby came to power but stayed there for less than a year.  Peelite Tory Lord Aberdeen came to power as head of a coalition between the Whigs and the Peelite Tories.

1854  --  Britain enters the Crimean War on the side of the Ottoman Empire against the Russians. 

1855  --  Lord Aberdeen resigned from power because of the mismanagement in the Crimean War.  Lord Palmerston replaced him. 

1857  --  the Second Opium War.  Palmerston was forced out because of mismanagement of the conflict and replaced by Lord Derby.

Lord Derby put down the Sepoy Mutiny against the rule of the British East India Company.  India was put under the direct rule of the Crown.

1859  --  Derby failed and Palmerston returned to power. 

1861  --  Prince Albert died.  Victoria was devastated and became a semi-permanent widow.  She blamed the frivolous ways of the Prince of Wales for the death of her husband.   She began to increasingly rely on Scottish manservant, John Brown.  Some thought the two even had a romantic connection (while others say a secret marriage took place).  She secluded herself in her royal residences, Balmoral in Scotland or Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. 

1865  -- death of Lord Palmerston.  He was followed by Lord Russell and then Lord Derby. 

1867  --  Reform Act of 1867 passed.   

1868  --  the Conservative Benjamin Disraeli became the Prime Minister.  He eventually became Victoria's favorite Prime Minister.

He was soon replaced by Liberal Party William Ewart Gladstone. The Queen disliked the man and his policies.

early 1870s  --  during Gladstone's ministry, the Queen began to emerge from her state of isolation.

1874  --  Disraeli returned to power. 

1876  --  the Queen was given the additional title "Empress of India".

1880  --  Gladstone back in power.

1883  --  death of John Brown.

1885  --  Gladstone's government fell and was replaced by the ministry of  Conservative Lord Salisbury.

1886  --  Gladstone returned to power; he introduced the Irish Home Rule Bill but it was rejected; Gladstone resigned and was replaced by Lord Salisbury.

1887  --  the United Kingdom celebrated Victoria's Golden Jubilee. 

1892  --  Gladstone back in power. 

1894  --  after the defeat of his last Irish Home Rule Bill, Gladstone retired.  He was replaced by Imperialist Liberal Lord Rosebery.

1895  --  Lord Rosebery replaced by Lord Salisbury, who served for the remainder of Victoria's reign.

1897  --  celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  By this time she was confined to a wheelchair. 

1899  --  she laid the foundation stone for the new buildings at the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum).

1900  --  the Queen Victoria paid her last visit to Ireland when she came to appealed to the Irish to fight in the Second Boer War in South Africa.

1901 (January)  --  death of Queen Victoria.  The Prince of Wales now reigned as King Edward VII.  He in turn was succeeded by his son as King George V. 

 

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