What is Queen Victoria syndrome in The Crown?

The Crown Season 5
The Crown Season 5 /

In season 5 of The Crown on Netflix, Queen Elizabeth II is thought to have Queen Victoria Syndrome, but she views the comparison to the monarch as a compliment. What is this syndrome? Where does the name come from?

The Crown begins in the early 1990s amid Charles-Diana tensions at an all-time high and public discontent with the aging Queen. Early on, we see the staff try to hide the results of a Sunday Times survey that deemed the monarch as “out of touch” and expressed a desire for abdication in favor of a younger generation of leaders.

We even see Prince Charles push this narrative before Prime Minister John Major. Complaints about the condition of the royal yacht and using public funds to repair it during a recession certainly didn’t portray Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip as relatable to the public.

The Crown: What is Queen Victoria Syndrome?

Queen Victoria was the longest-serving British monarch, that is until Elizabeth II of course. Her reign lasted 63 years, starting in 1837 and concluding with her death in 1901. She ruled throughout the empire-building years and saw the Commonwealth expand greatly during her reign.

In The Crown, the phrase “Queen Victoria Syndrome” is used to categorize this fear or concern that the monarch is clinging to power for too long or is out of touch with modern society. It marks a belief that the queen should step aside to let a younger generation take the reins of power.

During her reign, Queen Victoria was approached with the idea of abdication but opted to remain in power. In the show, Queen Elizabeth II ultimately ignores the calls for her to step aside, believing that the system requires stability. Any monarch who’d bow to the whims of one political opinion poll is probably unfit for duty.

While Elizabeth may have had Queen Victoria Syndrome in a sense, she didn’t view the “malady” in a negative light. And because of her steadfast belief in the institution, she welcomed the comparison to the nineteenth-century ruler.

The Crown season 5 is now streaming on Netflix.

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