Victoria and Albert were a "genuine love match," historical Daisy Goodwin tells PEOPLE

By Simon Perry
January 13, 2017 11:05 AM
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Victoria was the teen queen who went on to have the longest reign until Queen Elizabeth passed that milestone in September 2015. And just like Elizabeth, Victoria’s youth and determination aided her well early in her reign. “Victoria was tiny and very, very strong willed,” says historian Daisy Goodwin, the creator of the PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, which premieres January 15.

And those characteristics are attracting a new wave of fans of the show, which stars Dr. Who’s Jenna Coleman. “Most period dramas are watched by the over-50s, but in the U.K., this has the youngest demographic of any period drama ever,” adds Goodwin, who also wrote the novel, Victoria, based on the royal’s diaries.

Here are five things to know about the real Queen Victoria:

1. She was the “Taylor Swift” of the royals. Just 18 when she inherited the throne in 1837, “overnight she was the most famous and most powerful woman in the world,” says Goodwin. “That is a huge deal. After a succession of old men, they had teenage woman running the country.”

Queen Victoria, 1842
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2. Victoria and Albert were a “genuine” love match. “They had this real bond because they had both lost a parent — she was fatherless and Albert was motherless,” says Goodwin. “He is an interesting character as, unlike most men of his generation, he was not fooling around. He fell for Victoria but never looked at another woman.”

Prince Albert
Popperfoto/Getty Images

3. Theirs was a “passionate” relationship. Having “nine children is a testament to that,” adds Goodwin. “We think of Victoria as a boot-faced old bag, but she was a young woman who loved dancing, sex and all those things.”

4. The royal couple valued their privacy. When Albert designed Osbourne House (a retreat on the Isle of Wight), he wanted “to make sure when they got into bed he could lock the bedroom door from the bed, in true James Bond style,” she says. “If they wanted to get it on, they could make sure they weren’t disturbed.”

Jenna Coleman as Victoria
PBS

5. Victoria was a trailblazer for Queen Elizabeth. “Victoria and Albert made [the monarchy] respectable and popular – it had been neither of those things before they came to the throne. They had children, they were public servants – they were a model of bourgeois virtue, role models,” the historian adds. “In 1848, three or four monarchies were deposed, but not in Britain, and that’s because the British monarchy didn’t seem remote.”