Victoria – meet the cast members of ITV’s lavish historical drama

Victoria, the ITV drama chronicling the early life of the long-reigning queen, returns to our screens later this year for a third series. Jenna Coleman stars as Victoria alongside a host of faces old and new.

Great news for fans of historical drama - Victoria has just begun filming on series three.

A new run of the programme has attracted some new faces to star alongside the old regulars, so read on to get to know the characters and cast you can expect to see later this year.

[Read more: How much do you know about Queen Victoria? Take our quiz]

Lord Palmerston - Laurence Fox

Laurence Fox has been announced as one of the new cast members who will be joining the historical drama for series three.

He will play Lord Palmerston, the charismatic and wayward Foreign Secretary, who is sure to bring some juicy moments to the government in the new episodes. He'll have his work cut out as revolutions take hold in Europe, threatening the Queen's safety at home.

Viewers will know Fox from his roles in Inspector Lewis, The Frankenstein Chronicles, and horror film The Hole.

[Read more: Victoria's reign to continue for third series]

Feodora - Kate Fleetwood

Also joining the cast in series three is Kate Fleetwood, who will play Victoria's mysterious half-sister Feodora. She makes an unexpected return to the Queen's life, but what are her motives in arriving back at court?

Fleetwood recently appeared in the TV series Harlots, and was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of Lady Macbeth in a 2008 Broadway production of Macbeth.

Queen Victoria - Jenna Coleman

At the heart of the drama is of course Queen Victoria – the programme documents her earlier life where she cut a very different figure from the image of the elderly monarch that we are used to seeing.

Series one concentrated on Victoria’s ascension to the throne and being matched with Prince Albert, who she was initially unsure about but who she eventually fell in love with.

[Read more: 6 things you never knew about Jenna Coleman]

Viewers saw the royal couple welcome their first child and in series two the couple struggled to adapt to life as parents. By the third series, we've been warned that there'll be trouble in paradise as the pair battle to be the most powerful.

Coleman has had a complete change of course from her best-known role to date in sci-fi favourite Doctor Who.

She played the Doctor’s companion Clara opposite Matt Smith’s incarnation of the Time Lord, and then Peter Capaldi’s when he took over the part.

Coleman vacated her role before Capaldi’s run came to an end, going on to star in Victoria which debuted in 2016.

Her other previous roles have included four years in Emmerdale as Jasmine Thomas, a stint in Waterloo Road, a role in award-winning TV drama Dancing on the Edge, and an appearance in chick-lit film adaptation Me Before You.

Prince Albert - Tom Hughes

The young Prince Albert is portrayed as suffering something of an identity crisis in the ITV series.

Although he and Victoria did fall in love in the first series after a tricky start to their relationship, it remained a stormy affair.

He was unsure how to carve out his own role that would match up to that of his powerful wife, and this is a theme that will continue to be explored in the forthcoming episodes.

Hughes and Coleman have worked together before, as they both featured in 2013’s Dancing on the Edge.

The actor’s other TV roles have included legal drama Silk, hospital series spin-off Casualty 1909, and Cold War spy thriller The Game.

[Read more: 5 things you never knew about Tom Hughes]

Duke of Wellington - Peter Bowles

Victoria's first choice for Prime Minister was the Duke of Wellington, but when he turned down the offer saying that he was too old, she was left with Sir Robert Peel (Nigel Lindsay) in series two.

[Read more: Coleman and Hughes are 'astonishing' in Victoria, says creator of ITV drama]

Bowles starred in classic sitcom To The Manor Born in the 70s and 80s, returning to the role for a catch-up in 2007.

He also featured in Rumpole of the Bailey and sitcom Only When I Laugh, as well as film parts in The Bank Job and Blow-Up.

Duchess of Buccleuch - Dame Diana Rigg

The Duchess was new to the palace for series two, but her arrival saw Dame Diana join as a regular cast member.

Her appointment was an attempt by Victoria to regain some control, where she brought in the Duchess as her new mistress of the robes along with reinstating chef Francatelli (Ferdinand Kingsley).

Dame Diana’s long career has included a starring role in Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, an iconic part as Emma Peel in adventure series The Avengers, and roles in successful TV adaptations Bleak House and Rebecca.

She can currently be seen playing Olenna Tyrell in bloodthirsty fantasy series Game of Thrones.

Dame Diana has previously appeared in another chronicle of the Queen’s life, 2001 TV movie Victoria & Albert, in which she was Baroness Lehzen – played by Daniella Holtz in the ITV series.

King Leopold - Alex Jennings

The Queen’s uncle was a regular fixture in series two as her Belgian relative who first suggested Albert as a suitable choice of husband for her.

[Read more: 'Dad would never criticise my work', says Sir Ben Kingsley's actor son]

Jennings must have got a taste for the royal life as he also stars in Netflix series The Crown as the Duke of Windsor and played Prince Charles in the 2006 film The Queen opposite Helen Mirren.

His choice of roles has been spot on so far, having featured in TV hits Silk, Whitechapel and Cranford.

Prince Ernest - David Oakes

Returning to the role of Prince Albert’s roguish older brother, Ernest, David Oakes reveals why the German playboy is his favourite character thus far in his career.

“Ernest is by far the most exciting character I have played because he is a chameleon. He is in equal parts charming (devilishly so at times), indulgent and almost Faustian in his disregard for morality. Yet at the same time he is caring and compassionate to his brother, and very proud of the country he is running. He is everything to everyone at different times.

[Read more: How well do you know Victorian food? Take our quiz]

“Ernest gives up so much of himself in order to make everybody else happy and when he finally gets the chance to live the life he wants, it is not necessarily allowed.

"In a world of melodrama you often end up with caricatures, which can be fun, but if you can inject them with a sense of humanity and try to give them the sorrow that real existence has along side it, you end up with something great.

"One moment he will be pulling a stupid face and stretching the artistic abilities of his moustache and then the next he will hopefully be making you remember some tragic or heartfelt moments in your own life.”

Francatelli - Ferdinand Kingsley

Charles Francatelli is a high-flying, continental chef who was born in Italy, studied cookery in France and then lived in London. Whilst working for Buckingham Palace is the ultimate honour for most people, for Francatelli things are not up to scratch and standards in the kitchen are not what he would like them to be. The people there view cooking more as functional rather than an art form, and he’s interested in developing the art of cookery.

Whilst Francatelli is a focused chef with an incredible task on his hands, he can’t help but fall for another member of the palace staff.

[Read more: First look at Jenna Coleman in The Cry]

Kingsley said: “In the first series, Francatelli sets his sights on Miss Skerrett and takes a fancy to her straight away. At first it is quite unwelcome - he is well intentioned, but he has very little experience with the emotional side of relationships with women. They soon developed a friendship and a bond though, earning each other’s trust.

"Francatelli knows the truth about where Skerrett has come from and learns her name, which is a big secret as she is not who she claims she is.

“There was a sliding doors moment towards the end of series one when Francatelli wants to take Skerrett away and set up an establishment of their own, but she isn’t sure if she should leave her position. At the end of series one, they are both very much alone and Francatelli has left the palace and gone to work in a club in the centre of London.”

Miss Skerrett - Nell Hudson

Series two of Victoria had plenty of drama in store for Nell Hudson's character, Nancy Skerrett

Hudson said: “Skerrett is promoted at the beginning of the series. She is now Mrs Skerrett, the Head Dresser at Buckingham Palace. She is more serious this series, diving head first into her work, as she is in a more senior position with additional responsibility.”

[Read more: Nell Hudson talks series 2 and corsets]

“I think there are a lot of parallels between Skerrett and Queen Victoria. What I initially liked about Skerrett was her resilience. Like Victoria, she stays strong throughout the opportunities and near fortunes life has thrown at her. She is also very perceptive and astute, which guides her through everything she does.”

Skerrett’s romantic relationship with the palace chef, Francatelli also saw some highs and lows.

“Skerrett made the brave decision to turn Francatelli down. She says no to his proposal because she has her job and therefore security. She also has a cousin with a child to take care of. When series two begins, Francatelli is no longer working at the palace, but the new chef is dreadful and Queen Victoria wants Francatelli back.

"Baroness Lehzen orders Skerrett to go and ask him to return but it doesn’t exactly go to plan… Things are a bit tense between Skerrett and Francatelli at the beginning, but there are things they both want to say to each other. We get that lovely will-they, won't-they throughout the series.”

New cast for series 3

Along with Laurence Fox and Kate Fleetwood, the ITV drama has also signed up a number of other actors to bolster the cast.

There's a new Prime Minister for the country with The Loch star John Sessions as John Russell, who'll face the challenges of dealing with issues both at home (the Chartist movement) and abroad (the European revolutons).

Kingsman's Lily Travers will be seen as the Duchess of Monmouth, and other new faces include characters played by Nicholas Audsley (The White Princess), David Burnett (The Mummy), and Emily Forbes (Endeavour).

Victoria will return to ITV for a third series later this year.

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