Game of Thrones star and acting royalty Dame Diana Rigg will join the cast of Victoria series two, ITV have confirmed, as filming begins on the new eight-part series and Christmas special.
Rigg will play the Duchess of Buccleuch, Queen Victoria's 'outspoken' advisor and Mistress of the Robes. She joins stars Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes in the royal drama, airing on ITV later this year.
“In series one Victoria married the handsome prince, but in this series she and Albert get down to the serious business of living happily, sometimes stormily, ever after," creator Daisy Goodwin said.
"Victoria is the only Queen Regnant to marry and give birth while on the throne and the challenges of being head of state as well as a wife and mother are legion. In many ways Victoria’s dilemma is a modern one - how do you have a successful marriage and a happy family when you are holding down an important job. Can you really have it all?”
The Christmas special, first revealed by RadioTimes.com, will run for two hours according to ITV.
Rigg's character (full name Charlotte Anne Montagu Douglas Scott, Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry) served as Mistress of the Robes from 1841 to 1846. The Queen is said to have described her as "an agreeable, sensible, clever little person", and later became a godmother to the Duchess's daughter.
The series begins six weeks after the events of the first series, with Victoria (Coleman) and Prince Albert (Hughes) trying to adjust to life with a young child.
The creators confirm that much of the cast from series one will return, including Nigel Lindsay (Unforgotten) as Sir Robert Peel, Alex Jennings (The Lady In The Van) as King Leopold, Peter Bowles (To The Manor Born) as Duke of Wellington, David Oakes (The White Queen) as Ernest, Daniela Holtz (Circle Of Life) as Baroness Lehzen and Catherine Flemming (Tatort) as the Duchess of Kent.
Below stairs Nell Hudson (Outlander) returns as Skerrett, Ferdinand Kingsley (Borgia) as chef Francatelli and Adrian Schiller (The Secret Agent) as Penge.
Executive producer Damien Timmer said, “Series one of Victoria was a big success both at home and abroad, and it is a privilege to continue to tell the story of this fascinating woman at a particularly interesting point in her reign.
"Audiences will be intrigued by the meticulously researched stories Daisy has planned, brimming with scandal, romance and tragedy. At the centre of it is a beautifully nuanced study of a young marriage, and it’s a joy to watch Jenna and Tom find new layers to this iconic couple.”
The series is produced by Mammoth Screen for ITV, and is exec produced by Damien Timmer and Kate McKerrell.