Both Victoria and Elizabeth became Queens when young: 18 and 25 respectively. Neither of them expected to be Monarch either: William IV’s wife was still young when he came to the throne and it was expected they would have children, while Edward VIII’s abdication set events into motion that threatened the institute of Monarchy in the UK.
Victoria reigned for 63 years, seven months and two days, and Her Majesty will surpass this on 9th September. However, it is not clear when this record will be beaten, as George VI died during his sleep, so we do not know exactly when Elizabeth became Queen.
Just these two women have been able to celebrate their Diamond Jubilee in the 1,000 year-history of the throne in England and the United Kingdom.
It will look at the similarities – and differences – of the two reigns, and how neither expected to ascend to the throne, yet, as the result of deaths and abdication, both found themselves crowned at remarkably young ages, Queen Elizabeth at 25, and Queen Victoria at just 18.
Sophie Raworth will present the show, which features a number of historical experts and Royal commentators, including Kate Williams, Julian Fellowes and William Shawcross. Sally Norris directs and produces the film, who also made the acclaimed ‘The Diamond Queen’ series.
How was it that two women have managed to provide enduring stability in two periods of history that have changed the world? Key questions come to light during the film, including that of longevity (is it in the genes?), as well as the nature of sovereignty, and why a Monarch is the unifying figure.
Phil Dolling, Head of BBC Events, says: “For all of us alive, today, September 9th, is something we will not know again in our lifetimes – a British monarch reigning for more than 63 years and seven months. It’s a remarkable achievement and we’re delighted to be able to pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen with this documentary.”
With a time yet to be confirmed, the film will air on Sunday 6th September on BBC One.