British actress Jenna Coleman stuns as the young ruling monarch, Queen Victoria, in the new period drama Victoria (Sundays, PBS). The actress quickly learned that dressing for historical accuracy doesn't come without its inconveniences!
Not that the 30-year-old actress had any complaints: whether it was prosthetic baby bumps or Victorian corsets, costume designer Rosalind Ebbutt says Jenna took it all in her stride.
Talking to HELLO! Online, Rosalind says working with Jenna was a delight – and the highlight of series one was setting to work to create the all-important wedding dress.
The former Doctor Who star looked radiant in her wedding scene with Prince Albert, who is played by her boyfriend in real life, Tom Hughes. Rosalind says it was a real "treat" spending weeks creating and perfecting the all important wedding gown.
"I loved doing her wedding dress," Rosalind said. "To make that all work, and for Jenna to look amazing, it was a moving day for us funnily enough."
The designer, who has worked on Downton Abbey and Anna Karenina, drew inspiration from Victoria's diary entries and sketches, as well as her actual wedding dress which still hangs in Kensington Palace.
"Victoria wrote a lot about it in her diary, about how she wanted to dress in white and look more like a real woman and less like a queen. She wrote about the orange blossom and the fact that Prince Albert gave her a beautiful brooch. She wanted to really be an English bride," said Rosalind.
"We were able to source a lot of things, silk that was very similar to the one Victoria wore, lace made by English lacemakers in Honiton. Victoria was very keen that everything would be from her country and made by an English dressmaker, so it would look like she was head of her people.
"The wedding dress was the one thing we knew how it would look so it was a longer drawn out process. Sometimes we had to get things done in a week or so but we had more than several weeks which was great."
She added: "We actually made the bridesmaids dresses based on her own drawings in her diary. We had eight bridesmaids and we fitted all of them, we did a long beautiful train and choreographed how they would carry it."
Working with Jenna was a dream – no complaints, no last-minute changes, no fuss over the corsets.
"She got used to wearing a corset instantly," said Rosalind. "She just looked amazing in it. She was always perfectly dressed and just really keen to look right as Victoria. All the females wore a corset, even the servants, because it makes them stand and walk like a Victorian – not that Jenna wouldn't have been able to do that – but it just helps."
The series also explores Victoria becoming a mother. Even then wearing a prosthetic bump, Jenna had no qualms.
"She was great about all of it! No complaints," said Rosalind. "We had a lightweight bump and then a proper prosthetic bump, which was heavier to wear but helped having to act being heavily pregnant.
"Sometimes that can be quite wearisome, so we had another bump that looked right but wasn't as heavy, if Jenna was having to stand for a long time."
"I never wanted Jenna to wear anything she didn't feel right in," she added. "I've been working with her since November so you get to know someone because we're there all day, every day and you develop a relationship and have trust from both sides. The whole thing about designing costumes for someone is they need to feel they are the character."