Victoria 4 Albert

14 February 2012

I’m a bit of a sucker for clever animated films with a slightly whimsical air and this enchanting animation chronicling the first meeting of the perfect ‘Kissing Cousins’ Queen Victoria and Prince Albert suits me perfectly as it has whimsy aplenty as well as being ravishingly beautiful.

It’s the first of a series of five short episodes, chronicling the iconic romance of Victoria and Albert. The film will portray the royal lovers’ story – ‘from their births three months apart (to the same midwife!) to their wedding ceremony – using excerpts from Queen Victoria’s personal diaries and Albert’s letters.

Commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces, the films have been created and directed by acclaimed filmmaker and animator Chiara Ambrosio with voiceover by Julia Rayner (The Pianist, Extras) in collaboration with animators Veselina Dashinova, Fiammetta Horvat, composer James Hesford and sound artist Mark Peter Wright.

The bold, unexpected and experimental film combines stop-motion puppetry, drawn animation, shadow puppetry, cut-out/collage animation, specially composed music and sound effects and features a voice over narration based on Queen Victoria’s own words.

In using Queen Victoria’s remarkably candid personal journals to tell the story, the animation reflects the approach taken in the exhibition Victoria Revealed: new permanent displays opening at Kensington Palace on 26 March 2012. It also features several of the pivotal moments in her life that took place at Kensington Palace, including her birth, her unhappy childhood under the so-called ‘Kensington System’, and her first meeting with Albert on the palace’s Stone Stairs.’

I’ve just watched the first three episodes and I really cannot wait to see the rest. The artwork is not just gorgeously rendered but there’s also a rather wicked sense of humour underlying the whole, which adds a jaunty air to the familiar tale. I especially love Prince Albert’s Grand Tour around the sights of Europe and the super romantic meeting of the two when he returns to England afterwards, which happened on my birthday, fact fiends!

You can watch Victoria 4 Albert here. It’s perfect Valentine’s Day viewing.

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