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ITV Plc for MASTERPIECE
Tom Hughes as Prince Albert and Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria in the PBS Masterpiece show "Victoria."

SALT LAKE CITY — The folks at PBS mined the Bard to kick off the third season of their royal drama "Victoria," stealing a line from "Henry IV, Part II" for the title of their first episode. Debuting on Sunday, Jan. 13, the episode "Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown" could well describe the whole show. Queen Victoria, played by Jenna Coleman, hasn't really had an easy time since she took over the throne back in season 1, and as she heads into season 3, it appears she has a whole lot more unease to deal with.

If you can't wait until Jan. 13 and want to see the first episode on the big screen, KUED is hosting two Utah screenings ahead of the Masterpiece program's season premiere.

To help us get a handle on the history that surrounds this new season, we've dug into our history books and fleshed out some of the details. Here's what we've found:

Revolutions of 1848

The PBS website states that this new season starts in 1848, as "revolution breaks out across Europe." But what revolution is that? Come to find out, more than one.

According to Britannica.com, revolution fever was in the air around Western Europe in 1848. In January of that year, a group of Sicilians revolted against Austrian Empire rule, seeking an independent Italy, and their democratic fire spread, first to France and then onward, impacting most Western European countries. In France, where revolution was nothing new (this revolution took place 16 years after the events depicted in the ever-popular musical "Les Miserables"), the revolutionaries actually did overthrow the monarchy, establishing the Second French Republic.

So what did this mean for Britain and her diminutive queen? Not quite as much as it meant across the Channel, but it did have an impact.

ITV Plc for MASTERPIECE
Tom Hughes as Prince Albert and Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria in the PBS Masterpiece show "Victoria."

Britain's Chartists Movement, which started 10 years previously in 1838 and was named for the People's Charter, echoed some of the revolutionary ideas of mainland Europe. Aiming to give all men the vote (the women's vote was still some ways off), the Charter had five other demands — including three that dealt directly with Parliament — and amassed some 1.25 million signatures, according to Parliament.uk. In 1848, the leaders of the movement tried for the last and third time to get their charter passed in Parliament. While unsuccessful at the time, in the coming years, many of their stipulations finally passed, and by the time that Queen Victoria's grandson, George V, was king, all but one of the Chartists' demands had been met.

The United Kingdom in 1848

1848 was an important year in many respects, and while we don't know for sure what historical events will find their way into "Victoria's" season 3 screenplay, here are a few that would make for compelling on-screen drama:

  • The potato blight returns to Ireland, adding more deaths to the Great Famine, which ran from 1845–49. According to Britannia.com, roughly 1 million people died during the Great Famine from either starvation or disease, while Ireland lost another 2 million to emigration.
  • The Workers' Educational Association publish "The Communist Manifest" in London in February of 1848. Written by German philosopher Karl Marx with the aid of philosopher Friedrich Engels, the initial pamphlet made few waves when it first came out, according to History.com; however, its principles very much reflected the revolutionary spirit across the Channel as well as ideas brewing in the U.K. Still, we probably shouldn't expect to hear Queen Victoria mention Marxism quite yet.
  • The Public Health Act passes. Public health debates are nothing new, and the 1848 Parliament passed the not-so-popular Public Health Act, which, according to bbc.uk.co, people didn't like because it was seen as an "unwelcome intrusion by central government." We've heard that one before.
  • Queen Victoria gives her name (sort of) to Queen's College, London, the first school to give degrees to girls, according to the Queen's College website. We're hopeful this one makes it into the show, as it's a lesser-known event that deserves a special mention.
  • Polish pianist and composer Frederic Chopin, who had been living in Paris but lost most of his well-heeled students following the revolution of 1848, pays a visit to London and Scotland, according to Chopin-society.org. Highlighting his visit in the show would definitely give an episode of "Victoria" a lovely soundtrack.
  • London's Waterloo Railway Terminus opens in the summer of 1848. While Queen Victoria likely won't mention the new train station in the show, it's good to know that 119 years later, the Kinks will immortalize it in their 1967 hit song "Waterloo Sunset." We'd love to see Victoria get groovy to this tune.
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  • And finally, just before Christmas in 1848, Victoria, Albert and their brood (six children by the end of the year) pose for a drawing around their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle. The picture appeared on the cover of "The Illustrated London News" and gave rise to the popularity of Christmas trees throughout the country, according to WhyChristmas.com.

"Victoria Season 3" airs on KUED on Sunday, Jan. 13, 8 p.m.

If you go …

What: KUED hosts a "Victoria" season 3 advance screening

When: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 7 p.m.

Where: Broadway Centre Cinemas, 111 E. Broadway

How much: Free

Web: www.kued.org

Also …

What: KUED hosts a "Victoria" season 3 advance screening

When: Thursday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m.

Where: The Utah Theatre, 18 W. Center Street, Logan