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Victoria's Prince Shows How Not To Flirt

The road from cousin to consort is full of potholes.

Last week, Victoria put a few nails in the coffin of the Victoria/Lord Melbourne 'ship and concluded with the Queen's first glimpse of the allegedly full-grown Cousin Albert, just arrived from Germany. Cousin Albert is soon to be Albert, Prince Consort, but things get off to a rocky start for him and Victoria -- and, for now, he's just a moody kid at a really high-stakes family get-together. Which of Albert's awkward flirting techniques work out for him, and which are like, well, hitting on your cousin? Here they are, from most disastrous to most likely to make the Queen of England propose.

  1. The recent art-school grad routine
    Cousin Albert is into art. We know this because he won't stop talking about how into art he is. Victoria is not that into art, possibly because Sir John Conroy and the Duchess of Kent intentionally raised her not to know anything when she became queen, and possibly because, since becoming queen, she's been busy...being queen.

    Victoria is gracious about this, offering her one opinion about the one painter she can think of -- she's not a fan of Rubens and all that wobbly flesh -- and rustling up some Danish masters for Albert when they take a trip to Windsor. But mostly she rolls her eyes and recognizes him for the pretentious twerp he is in those moments. Not cute. Try something else, Cousin Al!

  2. Complaining about the Windsor uniform

    Here's a hint: when the woman you're maybe trying to marry upends the palace schedule and takes you to the family getaway spot, you should wear the uniform and KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.

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    Did you not hear the part, two seconds ago, where she said you look hot in the uniform? It's like wearing a Speedo to a swim meet -- everyone else is also wrapped in gold braid, so suck it up and keep your modern design opinions to yourself until you're in the carriage home.

  3. "I'm a very sexy baby!"
    Kiddo, if you are going to show up in England and distract your first cousin from the handsome, articulate grown man she really wants to marry, you cannot do it with that Teenage Emo Marlon Brando Godfather voice. You just can't. Clear your throat, embrace your vowels, and try again.

    Victoria actually doesn't bring it up -- this is an editorial note -- but we'll see whether his voice changes over time. Just like Terry Gross's did!

  4. Negging Victoria's piano playing

    Do you need proof that negging works, like, outside of Reddit fantasyland? Well, here's your proof: in TV Victorian England, negging works. At the small party that is not, apparently, a ball, Victoria plays the piano for her guests. At Ernst's request, Cousin Albert joins her for a Schubert duet, which she plays beautifully and at a blistering pace he can barely match.

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    After, he suggests that she should practice more instead of playing cards all the time, like a lady might not need a break after running a giant empire all day.

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    Ironically and somewhat annoyingly, this is the point where -- in this telling at least -- Victoria and Albert's relationship begins to shift from "hot, but nope" to "hot, so maaaaybe." Despite what he says, her skill at the piano is the first thing about her that wins his respect, and his goading apparently inspires her to play some extra scales instead of ordering some faithful bodyguard to run him through for insubordination. I love it when couples can meet in the middle on important issues.

  5. Cutting a hole in his shirt with a knife while dancing

    Now we're getting somewhere. During Victoria and Albert's first (but definitely not last) sexy waltz together, Albert notes that the gardenia Victoria has shoved into her cleavage reminds him of his late mother, and how she used to kiss him goodbye before she left for parties. It's morbid, but hang in there. Victoria gives him the gardenia, but he doesn't have a buttonhole where he can keep it -- so he grabs the knife from his boot, cuts a slit (big enough to fit a tree branch, but whatever) into his shirt, and tucks the gardenia in.

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    There's no getting around it: it's hot. Victoria thinks so, too. Incidentally, the gardenia was a gift from Lord Melbourne, and the symbolism of Albert ending up with it is lost on precisely nobody in the room, including Melbourne himself.

  6. "...Psych!"

    This is a risky one, but it pays off big. When Victoria nervously asks Albert to marry her, he says it depends -- and lets her dangle for a horrifying few seconds before clarifying that he WILL marry her...if he can kiss her first. Is it a douchey move, or does it ramp up the sexual tension between them? Yes!

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    But it works. Victoria's been waiting since their Windsor visit to make out with him, and she thinks his "joke" is funny, so welcome to the family that is already your own family, Cousin Albert!

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