Lewis star Laurence Fox is joining Victoria as the "charismatic and wayward" Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston – as filming for series three of the ITV historical drama officially begins.
The year is 1848, and it's a "turbulent and uncertain time" for Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) and her husband Prince Albert (Tom Hughes).
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Tony and Olivier Award nominated actress Kate Fleetwood is also among the new cast as Victoria's "mysterious sister" Feodora, who makes an "unexpected return" into the Queen's life. (And yes, she did exist: the real Princess Feodora of Leiningen was Victoria's beloved elder half-sister who had married a German prince and escaped the confines of Kensington Palace while Victoria was still young.)
Series three will see Victoria under pressure from the government to leave London for her own safety, amid fears of revolution and unrest in London. But the Queen is also facing pressure within the royal marriage.
Creator Daisy Goodwin said: “Victoria and Albert are the most famous couple of the nineteenth century, but underneath the united facade, their relationship is at breaking point and it is a struggle for mastery that neither side can win.”
Speaking after the show was recommissioned, she said: “Series three will start in 1848 which was a hugely dramatic and eventful time for both the royal family and Europe, with revolutions on the continent and uncertainty around the monarchy. Viewers can expect more drama than ever before in the third series.”
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Also joining the cast are Lily Travers as the Duchess of Monmouth, as well as the actor and comedian John Sessions as Prime Minister John Russell, who was in power for much of this period.
Nicholas Audsley, David Burnett and Emily Forbes have also been announced for series three – though the details of their characters are still under wraps.