'Masterpiece: Victoria's Jenna Coleman Teases the Queen & Albert's Tense Season 3 Relationship

John Russell
Q&A PBS

Theirs is one of the great love stories, but Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes) are hardly a picture of domestic bliss in the drama's third season.

Stress over two 1848 events — King Louis Philippe's forced abdication in France and, in London, an uprising by the working class — has exposed serious fault lines in the marriage. "Albert is so scientific, and she's so emotional," says Coleman. "They operate on different wavelengths." The actress tells us more.

Jenna Coleman on Playing Royally Flawed Young 'Victoria'

Jenna Coleman on Playing Royally Flawed Young 'Victoria'

Coleman talks about the surprisingly feisty side of the iconic queen.

What's the state of the royal union right now?

Jenna Coleman: They're more distant than ever. Since the [French] Revolution, the fundamental differences between them have really come to the fore in terms of how Victoria wants to rule, how Albert wants to rule and Victoria's need for adoration from her people.

How much of the couple's chemistry onscreen has to do with the fact that you two are a couple in real life as well?

Oh, I can only talk about Tom as an actor in the same way I would Rufus Sewell or any of the others! The amazing thing about this series is [Victoria and Albert's] relationship is real. There are so many letters between them, so you're surrounded by this wealth of material to bring to life their story.

In the February 3rd episode, Albert is in Cambridge when a cholera epidemic strikes London — and ultimately takes the life of someone close to Victoria. How does she handle this?

She's hunting for answers. You see how the world outside the palace touches her. Her eyes are also open to how powerless she is. She can control most things, but when something like cholera comes along, her presence really means nothing.

If the show covers Victoria's entire life, would you rather end up in old-age makeup or cede the role to another actress?

There's going to come a point when no matter how much prosthetic you use, it's not going to be realistic for me. I will definitely have to pass that baton off to somebody else soon.

Masterpiece: Victoria, Sunday, February 3, 9/8c, PBS (check local listings at pbs.org)