Spending time with their daughter, Albert (Tom Hughes) reveals how excited he is about planning for the education of their children but Victoria (Jenna Coleman) asserts one child is enough for now. Placing his daughter back in her cradle, Albert rushes away to meet a mathematician while Victoria looks on in amusement. As Albert climbs into his waiting carriage, his father (Andrew Bicknell) decides to accompany him and begins a frank discussion about how he needs more money to refurbish Rosenau. Albert is not pleased with the discussion and berates his father for wasting money on his wanton lifestyle. Meanwhile, Uncle Leopold (Alex Jennings) corners Victoria in her study and reminds her of the importance of providing a male heir much to her annoyance.
Albert visits the Royal Society where he meets Ada Lovelace (Emerald Fennell) and he is greatly impressed with her new computing machine when she demonstrates how it works. Back at the palace, Victoria is struggling to understand some of the scientific jargon in her dispatch boxes but informs Dash she has no intension of asking Albert what it all means. Sir Robert Peel (Nigel Lindsay) and his secretary, Drummond (Leo Suter), soon arrive to discuss matters in the Holy Land when an excited Albert arrives full of news about the new invention which peaks the interest of Peel. Peel and Albert both extol the virtues of Ada Lovelace while imagining how important her invention is going to be for the future so Victoria decides to throw a soiree to meet some of these scientific minds. Victoria writes to Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell) inviting him to attend the Cultural Evening they are planning.
As Victoria is being laced into her corsets, she finds them unusually tight and is horrified when Lehzen (Daniela Holtz) suggests she may be pregnant again. Later, after the guests have arrived, Victoria is introduced to Ada Lovelace and is immediately struck by her beauty but her attention is soon drawn to the arrival of Melbourne. At Victoria’s insistence, the Cultural Evening consists of more than scientists and the guests are treated to a performance by the famous ballerina Marie Taglioni (Stephanie Elstob), although Lord Alfred (Jordan Waller) seems to be more interested in Drummond who is seated in front of him. After the ballet performance, Victoria spends time with Melbourne who reveals Ada Lovelace is the daughter of Lord Byron.
The performances continue with a rendition of Othello by the famous American Shakespearean actor Ira Aldridge (Ashley Zhangazha) which sparks a conversation between Melbourne and Victoria about jealousy. Victoria, looking a little green around the gills, excuses herself but assures Melbourne she is feeling well. Victoria goes in search of Albert who is deep in conversation with Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage (Jo Stone-Fewings) but the topic of conversation makes her feel inadequate. Meanwhile, Melbourne is cornered by Uncle Leopold who is miffed Victoria continues to correspond with her former prime minister and tells him it is inappropriate. Melbourne says it would be rude to ignore a sovereign and excuses himself to return to Brocket Hall. Victoria races after him, asking if he will stay in London for awhile, but he says he needs to get back to his orchids.
After a bout of morning sickness, Victoria realises she cannot deny she is pregnant any longer but she gets into another argument with Albert about Lord Melbourne which prevents her from telling him the news. Albert tells her he is leaving to attend a dinner at the Statistical Society where he is due to make a speech but a vulnerable Victoria asks him not to attend. Albert goes anyway. At dinner, Ernst enquires as to Albert’s whereabouts and the Coburg relatives begin to discuss how Albert has always been fascinated by mathematics. Victoria leaves the table and later breaks down when Lehzen comes to comfort her.
At the Statistical Society, a messenger brings Albert a note from Victoria asking him to come home but he refuses much to her dismay. Victoria sends another message saying she insists but again Albert declines. When Albert finally returns to the palace, he discovers Victoria has locked the doors to her room and she fails to respond to his knock.
The following day, Victoria decides to visit Melbourne at Brocket Hall with Emma Portman (Anna Wilson-Jones) and makes sure Albert is left with a message indicating her exact whereabouts. At Brocket Hall, Melbourne is attending to his orchids and is oblivious of Victoria’s arrival but she is immediately enchanted by his collection. Victoria asks Melbourne for advice about her marriage since she feels conflicted by her role as queen and her role as a wife. Victoria confesses she feels Albert wants a large family so he can rule in her place but Melbourne reminds her she is the sovereign not Albert. Victoria confides Albert is very taken with Ada Lovelace but Melbourne tells her those type of feelings are beneath her and he doesn’t believe Albert’s interests lie elsewhere. Reassured, Victoria confides she is pregnant and Melbourne tells her nothing will interfere in her being queen.
When Albert returns to the palace after visiting the Royal Society, Uncle Leopold reveals he has been listening to the servants gossip and it appears Victoria is pregnant. Albert is delighted with the news and rushes to find her but Leopold tells him the queen has gone to Brocket Hall. When Victoria arrives home, Albert immediately confronts her about the pregnancy and she informs him she tried to tell him but he would not respond to her messages. Albert berates her for going to Brocket Hall but she accuses him of being attracted to more than mathematics at the Society.
At Brocket Hall, Melbourne is being attended to by his doctor, who has recommended leeches for his headaches, when a servant brings a letter from the queen. Melbourne tells the servant to place it on the table and he will read it when he is ready. Melbourne later writes to Victoria telling her he cannot come to London and urging her to find a way to work with Albert who has her best interests at heart. He also advises her Ada Lovelace is more scientist than siren and she need have no worries on that score as Albert is completely devoted to Victoria.
Victoria decides to pay a visit to the Royal Society where she hopes Ada will show her the computing machine, however Ada is rushing home to be with her son who has broken his arm. Victoria is astonished to realise Ada is married and finds they have much in common as Ada seems just as conflicted about her career and her role as a mother.
Later, Victoria apologises to Albert for imagining things that were not there and he tells her how happy he is about the baby. She tells him she is happy too, however she did not want another child so soon and makes it clear she will not be constrained by motherhood. Albert says he has no desire to confine her and happiness is restored once more.
- Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852) was the daughter of Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Milbanke who separated weeks after her birth. Ada was the only legitimate child of Lord Byron but she never had a relationship with him and he died when she was eight years old. A keen mathematician, Ada was chiefly known for creating an algorithm for Charles Babbage’s mechanical computer which made her one of the first known computer programmers. Ada married William, 8th Baron King, in July 1835 and they had three children. Ada suffered from poor health throughout her life and she died on 27 November 1852, aged 36 years, from uterine cancer.
- Charles Babbage (1791-1871) was an English mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer. Babbage is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer which was the precursor to the modern day computer. The Analytical Engine was never completed due to inadequate funding.
- Marie Taglioni (1804-1884), a Swedish ballet dancer, was one of the most celebrated ballerinas of the romantic ballet cultivated primarily at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, and at the Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique of the Paris Opera Ballet. She is thought to have been the first ballerina to go en pointe although this is unconfirmed.
- Ira Frederick Aldridge (1807-1867) was an American Shakespearean actor and playwright who made his career largely on the London stage and in Europe. Aldridge is the only actor of African-American descent honoured with a bronze plaque at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon.