- The Irregulars -Prince Leo From 'The Irregulars' Is Based On A Real Person & The Historically Accuracy Is Spot On
The world of The Irregulars is populated by the likes of Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, psychics, and a host of monsters. But not everyone in this supernatural-tinged version of Victorian England is fictional. It turns out, the bright, but sheltered Prince Leo is a real member of the British royal family (as is his rebellious sister, Princess Louise).
Spoilers for Season 1 of The Irregulars follow.
On the show, Leo is introduced as a sickly young prince who has spent his entire life hidden away in Buckingham Palace. Due to his hemophilia, any injury could potentially be fatal, leading his mother to go to extremes to protect him from the outside world. But a chance encounter with Bea (Thaddea Graham), Jessie (Darci Shaw), and the rest of the gang on a rare outing outside of the palace results in Leo being drawn into their quest to close The Rip (as well as a relationship with Bea).
While the real Prince Leo didn't play an active role in saving the world (at least not one that was chronicled in the history books), the show's characterization of him as a smart young man stifled by his overprotective mother is spot on. Prince Leopold, the Duke of Albany was the eighth of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's nine children, and the youngest boy.
At an early age, it was discovered that he had inherited hemophilia from his mother, and even the smallest of bumps could cause him great pain. As a result, he was kept away from other children, including his own siblings, for much of his childhood. But despite his solitary upbringing, the prince was a sensitive and intelligent child.
By 1872, he had convinced Queen Victoria to allow him to enroll in Oxford University, where he became the president of the chess club and hung out with the likes of Lewis Carroll and Oscar Wilde. After college, he went on to be an advocate of the arts, his mother's personal secretary, and a Freemason (which is just begging to be turned into a plotline on The Irregulars given the many conspiracy theories that have long swirled around the organization).
In a March interview with SYFY Wire, Harrison Osterfield revealed it was "gratifying" for him to have so much historical information about Leo to draw on while crafting the character. "Having to play a character that was actually a factual person is a very new thing for me," he said. "But it's also a very gratifying thing that I can look into the history and read up about what Queen Victoria used to say about her son and all of their scholars that noticed how incredibly smart he was from a young age."
Osterfield's Leo isn't the only real-life figure in The Irregulars, though. Prince Leo's doting sister Princess Louise (Nell Hudson) and his prospective wife, Helena (Sophie Robertson), are also based on real royals. For her part, Louise was an early royal badass, who annoyed her mother by smoking, cooking, advocating for women's rights, and having affairs with artists and her brother's tutor. Meanwhile, Helena went on to have a happy, but short-lived marriage with the prince.
Since Helena was introduced late in Season 1, it seems likely she'll appear in a potential Season 2 — and her relationship with Leo could mean his romance with Bea is really over. The real Leo had a number of potential wives, including a few his mother decided were unsuitable, before he and his distant cousin Helena wed. And while their marriage was more or less arranged by their parents, by all accounts they were quite smitten with each other, and they even had two children — Alice and Charles Edward.
Ultimately, Leo did die young, just as Queen Victoria feared he would. On March 28, 1884, he died at the age of 30 after slipping and hitting his head during a stay in Cannes. But from attending college to traveling to America and finding love with Helena, Queen Victoria's youngest son defied expectations at every turn. Much like his fictional counterpart, Prince Leo found a way to live life on his own terms — and even though his real adventures didn't involve chasing down monsters with Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, there's no denying his life was a fascinating one.
Check out all of our coverage for The Irregulars here.
Images: Matt Squire/Netflix