It is Christmas 1846 and Victoria is uncharacteristically sad as she prepares to face her first Christmas without her beloved Baroness Lehzen, while Albert transforms the palace into a magical festive wonderland as he is gripped by an obsession with staging the perfect family Christmas. But tensions between the couple mount when the prince invites house guests to join the celebrations. Meanwhile, Skerrett inherits a large estate from an estranged uncle.
Picking up a month after the birth of her first child, the new series sees Queen Victoria surprise the court when she insists on returning to her duties as soon as possible.Having taken charge in her absence, adoring new father Albert decides not to trouble his wife with worrying news regarding the British soldiers in Afghanistan. However, as the reports worsen, Victoria grows increasingly suspicious that he and Prime Minister Robert Peel are hiding something from her.Determined to reclaim her place with characteristic impulsiveness, Victoria brings in the formidable Duchess of Buccleuch as her new Mistress of the Robes and demands that former chef, Francatelli, return to the palace kitchens.Meanwhile, Albert's family descend on the palace for the Christening of baby Vicky and their dynastic plotting only intensifies Victoria's sense of frustration. Convinced that the truth is being kept from her, Victoria seeks answers from the Duke of Wellington.
The queen suspects that her husband is attracted to another woman, and discovers that she is pregnant with a second child - leaving her concerned that motherhood will dominate her life and reign, at the expense of any other possibilities. Below stairs, new dresser Cleary thinks that the palace is haunted, but Brodie believes there is a natural explanation for the events that have frightened her.
Discontent is growing in the country, and upon hearing the pleas of a silk weaver of Spitalfields, Victoria decides she must help. Against Peel and Albert's advice, she hatches a plan: a fantastic medieval ball at the Palace, where the attendees have to wear costumes made from Spitalfields silk.
The royal court celebrates the birth of the Queen's second child, but Victoria alone is unhappy as she struggles to bond with her newborn son. A crisis compels Albert to return to Coburg, separating the couple for the first time since their wedding. Skerrett makes a disastrous mistake, while Drummond's relationship with Lord Alfred comes under threat.
Concerned that the pending marriage of King Louis Philippe of France's son to the Spanish Queen will form a dangerous alliance, Victoria sets sail on her first voyage to the continent in an attempt to deter the wily French King.
As news of the horrific famine in Ireland reaches the Queen, Victoria is adamant that her government should be doing more to help. However, Prime Minister Peel is trapped, knowing that to send food to the Irish would destabilise his party and jeopardise his career. With Albert blinded by his trust in Peel, Victoria begins to question her own convictions.
After a series of assassination attempts, the queen is forced to seek sanctuary far from the palace. She and Albert travel to the Scottish Highlands, an area that has always fascinated her, but proves to be far from the romantic retreat she had fantasised about. However, travelling incognito gives both the royal couple and their servants a freedom they do not often experience.
Albert resents Lehzen's influence over the queen, and fears she is putting the health of their child at risk. The prince also unwittingly creates problems for Peel, who is facing the most important battle of his political career as he takes a stand against the corn laws, only to find that Albert has played into their enemies' hands. When tragedy strikes, personal and political sacrifices must be made.