Queen Victoria's Secrets; EXCLUSIVE: Monarch of the Glen Star on How He Rewrote History Oscar-Winning Screenwriter Julian Fellowes Reveals the Passion Behind the Throne in an Amazing New Movie
Byline: By JOHN MILLAR
PRINCE Albert grimaced in agony after diving into the path of an assassin's bullet meant for his young bride Queen Victoria.
In an instant she realised her husband had married her not out of duty, but out of a love so strong he was prepared to die for her.
The dramatic scene is played out in a stunning portrayal of the monarch's life, The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend.
But Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes - known to millions as Monarch Of The Glen's Kilwillie - openly admits he invented Albert's heroic injury to spice up the plot.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mail, Julian reveals how he dusted down the dowdy old image of Queen Victoria and turned her into a passionate young woman.
He said: "The incident was on Constitution Hill when this guy called Edward Oxford - a bit of a nutter - was there and Albert saw him raise the gun. He pushed the Queen into the well of the carriage and stood over her with his back to the gunman.
"Of course, in real life the gun was not loaded, but whether the gun went off or not did not alter Albert's bravery in fending off the bullet.
"In a film if the gun had not gone off it would have diminished his bravery. It might have even risked being comic."
Love did not blossom instantly between Victoria and Albert. He was her cousin, the nephew of King Leopold of Belgium and their pairing began as an arranged marriage.
Fellowes said: "All sorts of people - such as King Leopold and her mother - wanted her to marry him and she resisted it for a bit because of that. But as a couple they were a great mixture."
Fellowes, who won a screenplay Oscar for Gosford Park, had been asked to write the script for The Young Victoria by Martin Scorsese while the American film-maker was shooting The Departed.
He was immediately fascinated. He said: "Victoria was an extraordinary character who remained intrinsically interesting till the end of her life."
Fellowes was well aware that the period from 1836, the year before Victoria ascended the throne, to 1840, when she married Prince Albert, was a chunk of Victoria's life that was largely unknown.
He said: "Ninety nine per cent of the public don't know anything about the story of her early life.
"The Queen Victoria everyone knows is the older Widow of Windsor with the handkerchief on her head, a rather fat woman in black, looking depressed.
"Very few people know about her early life, that she loved dancing and music and that she was very romantic.
Some girls like to have fun and she was certainly one of them."
Fellowes delved into the difficult circumstances of Victoria's childhood before her 63-year reign began.
Her father died before her first birthday, leaving her mother, the Duchess of Kent, to raise Victoria as a Queen-in-waiting. This created a huge dilemma for the Duchess who became paranoid and over-protective about her daughter's health and wellbeing.
Fellowes said: "She had this one frail little squib who would be Queen if only she didn't die. This created in her a kind of neurotic protectionism, a smothering childhood where Victoria had to sleep on a little cot next to her mother's bed until she was 18. …