A real live royal was behind the idea for “The Young Victoria,” which portrays Queen Victoria’s coming-of-age and marriage to Prince Albert: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.
“She showed me a whole bunch of projects and in it was a two page synopsis on Queen Victoria at a very young age,” said producer Graham King at a Cinema Society and The New Yorker screening at the Regal Union Square on Thursday night (Also there was co-producer Martin Scorsese). “You usually think of Queen Victoria all dressed in black and spinster-type, so I found it intriguing.”
Ferguson was also helpful in a host of other ways, including getting access to historic locations like Blenheim Palace. “I said, ‘We’re going to shoot in Budapest if you don’t,” said King, only half-kidding. (Princess Beatrice, Ferguson’s oldest daughter, also makes a cameo as a lady-in-waiting.)
Meanwhile, star Emily Blunt boned up on her history to get ready to play England’s longest reigning monarch. “I read everything I could on her,” said Blunt. “What really helped me was reading her diaries.”
She also had to don an array of complex period costumes. “It was quite an endurance test to put on those clothes,” she said. “I think it’s it’s no wonder that women fainted and were considered weak, because they couldn’t breathe.”
Luckily she faced no such problems at the film’s afterparty at Norwood House, where Lionel Richie, Michael Stipe, Rachel Hunter and Kelly Killoren Bensimon showed to congratulate the cast and crew.