Following another attempt on her life Victoria and Albert travel incognito to the Scottish Highlands to get away from it all, but the trip does not prove to be the romantic retreat she imagined.

Directed by Daniel O’Hara. Written by Ottilie Wilford.

The King Over the Water

As Albert (Tom Hughes) and Victoria (Jenna Coleman) are riding in their carriage, Albert spots a man with a gun but he disappears before he can be apprehended. When Sir Robert Peel (Nigel Lindsay) joins them at the palace, Victoria suggests they go out again to smoke the perpetrator out but Albert is appalled at the suggestion. Peel thinks the Queen’s suggestion is a good one, however Albert makes her take an armoured parasol he has invented which amuses Victoria greatly. The ruse works and the assassin is quickly arrested but Peel insists guards follow Victoria everywhere and security is raised at the palace.

In her bedroom, Victoria, engrossed in Sir Walter Scott’s novel Waverley, reminisces with Lehzen (Daniela Holtz) about how she always wanted to go to Scotland. Victoria suddenly realises as queen she can now do as she pleases. Summoning Peel and her household, Victoria tells them she cannot bear to live in a fortress and informs them they are going to Scotland. Peel reminds her she has to be back in time to open Parliament, but a smiling Victoria will not be denied and says she is well aware of her duties. Lehzen says she is excited to finally be able to hear the legendary bagpipes but she is disappointed when Albert reminds her she cannot leave her post as governess.

The court makes its way to the Highlands where they will be staying at Blair Castle with George Murray, 6th Duke of Atholl (Denis Lawson), and Victoria is immediately impressed by the Atholl Highlanders who greet her upon arrival. That evening, Victoria and Albert are piped into dinner where they are treated to a long and tedious recitation by the renowned poet, William Beattie (Lewis Mackinnon), who performs The Heliotrope for them. Meanwhile, the royal servants are invited to a lively ceilidh.

The following morning, Victoria and Albert are rudely awakened by the sound of bagpipes and Albert is not impressed. The royal party heads out for a spot of fly fishing where Victoria observes some local lassies enjoying themselves and she yearns to be free of her royal trappings. Victoria persuades Albert to ride back to the castle but they soon become separated from the rest of the party. When he realises the Queen is no longer with them, the duke becomes alarmed and sends out a search party but Victoria and Albert are nowhere to be found. As night begins to fall and the weather gets nasty, Albert and Victoria seek shelter in a cottage with an elderly couple who have no idea who they are. Victoria has fun pretending to be an ordinary person but can’t quite hide her imperiousness.

Back at the castle, tensions are running high as the whereabouts of Victoria and Albert remain unknown. Harriet Sutherland (Margaret Clunie) blames Ernst (David Oakes) for ruining her marriage, Skerrett (Nell Hudson) gets friendly with a strapping Highlander (Murray Fraser), and Drummond (Leo Suter) thinks they should contact Peel.

The following morning, the Atholl Highlanders track the royal couple down to the cottage and the time for pretending is over. The elderly couple are astonished when they realise they have been sheltering the Queen, or are they? Morag (Anne Kidd) tells Victoria she’s sorry she was found and if she had known she was coming, she’d have baked her oat cakes. News soon spreads Albert and Victoria have been found and Harriet apologises for accusing Ernst of breaking her marriage. At dinner that night, Drummond and Lord Alfred (Jordan Waller) sneak away to join the servants at their ceilidh and are caught kissing by a shocked Wilhelmina (Bebe Cave).

The following day, Victoria tells the duke she doesn’t want to leave and he reminds her she is Queen of the Scots. Victoria reveals she always fancied herself as a Jacobite and laughs when the duke tells her he is happy the Jacobites failed as he finds her a delightful queen.

As the carriages leave Blair Castle, Albert watches wistfully as they pass a young couple with their child on the glen, knowing their freedom will be over as soon as they arrive in London. After greeting the children, Victoria is dressed in her formal attire to open Parliament but she leaves Skerrett with strict instructions for dinner that night which amuse Mr. Francatelli (Ferdinand Kingsley).

When Victoria arrives back at the palace, she removes her formal clothes, takes her hair down, and settles by the fire while Albert cooks their dinner.


  • Victoria and Albert’s first visit to Scotland happened in 1842, spending a few days in Edinburgh before making their way to Perthshire for a fortnight of walking, deerstalking and balls. In 1844, Victoria and Albert returned to Scotland with the Princess Royal and stayed at Blair Castle for three weeks where they went walking, riding, fishing, hunting, shooting and planted trees.
  • The cast got to walk in the shoes of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as this episode was actually filmed in Blair Castle and on the Atholl Estates for two weeks in June 2017.
  • Victoria and Albert were so in love with the Highlands, they took possession of Balmoral Castle in 1848, however Albert purchased it outright in 1852 so they would have their own residence. The original castle was too small for the royal family so construction began on a new one with Victoria laying the foundation stone on 28 September 1853.
  • The royal couple’s love for Scotland stemmed from a desire to escape the stresses of life in London and the wildness of the Highlands reminded Albert of his childhood home in Coburg. Victoria had a passion for the novels of Sir Walter Scott and her enthusiasm for all things Scottish heightened the popularity of tartan.
  • George Murray, 6th Duke of Atholl, still Lord Glenlyon when Victoria and Albert visited, formed the Atholl Highlanders in 1839 as his personal bodyguard.