NEW YORK, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- British actress Emily Blunt admits she knew little about the early years of the titular character in "The Young Victoria" before she set out to play her.
In the historical drama, Blunt portrays the monarch as she comes into power in 1837 at the age of 18. The movie follows her early years as queen and her affectionate relationship with Prince Albert, whom she was married to from 1840 until his death in 1861.
"I had a non-existent knowledge of her early years; I really had no idea. I knew about her as an old lady dressed in black," Blunt, who earned a Golden Globe nomination last week for the performance, told United Press International in New York recently. "My mom, I remember, told me when I was younger about the fact that she had a very loving relationship with Albert, that he died young and they had lots of kids. That's what I knew."
To prepare to play the character, who ruled England until her death in 1901 and gave birth to nine children, the 26-year-old actress said she studied objects the queen owned and diaries she penned during her long and illustrious reign.
"It was really exciting. I got to go to Windsor Castle and see everything from her paintings to the letters that she and Albert wrote to each other and the music he wrote for her and the diaries were wonderful to see," Blunt recalled. "So, I saw them -- couldn't touch them. But I did see them through a glass case. And then they have extracts from her diaries because her youngest daughter Beatrice released them to the public, but they were edited, as well, because (Victoria) did go into extraordinary detail and length about what she thought of people and her life with Albert and she was so open about it all. So, it was really exciting to delve into that because then I could start to get a take on who she really was, straight from the horse's mouth."
Blunt said her research gave her the impression the younger Victoria was much different than the more familiar image of the elder queen, clad in black mourning clothes and rarely seen in public in the decades after her husband died.
"She was so passionate, even in how she wrote and loved or hated people so intensely," Blunt noted. "She certainly didn't hold back from saying who she hated and why she did. There were pages of why she hated this person. It was great."
The actress added that Victoria seemed to really enjoy life before Albert's death.
"Everything that you read about her at that age (indicated) she would dance all night until about 4 in the morning and she'd ride all day," Blunt said. "She loved the theater, the opera. People would talk about her laughing at dinner so hard that food would fall out of her mouth. She was really joyous; she was a really joyous figure."
"The Young Victoria" is in theaters now.
Blunt is best known for her roles in the films "The Devil Wears Prada," "The Jane Austen Book Club" and