Jenna Coleman reveals she loved playing pregnant queen in ITV's Victoria

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Jenna Coleman said she "loved" pretending to be pregnant while playing the young queen in ITV's lavish new drama Victoria.

The 30-year-old actress, who has batted away rumours of her own royal romance with Prince Harry, plays the monarch from her ascension to the throne at just 18 through her courtship and marriage to husband Prince Albert, with whom she had nine children.

Tom Hughes and Jenna Coleman play Prince Albert and Queen Victoria (Ian West/PA)

During filming for the feature-length first episode, airing tonight, Coleman revealed that there were plenty of perks to "basically just walking around with a cushion strapped to me".

She said of her fake bump: "I love it actually, I love it, because I get to play (Victoria) a little grouchier. She kind of doesn't enjoy pregnancy and I have a less tight corset, which is always nice."

Jenna's transformation also included wearing blue contact lens, which she said "weirded out" her mother when she saw them on set and left her perplexed friends saying: "I know something is different but I don't quite know what."

30-year-old Jenna plays the 18-year-old queen as she takes the throne of England (ITV)

Despite some teething problems with lenses that were too thick for Jenna to wear, she said that during filming she grew to "hate being on set without them because it changes your face so much".

Jenna follows in a long line of actress to play the world-famous monarch, and Dame Judi Dench in particular provided inspiration for her.

Jenna's queen has a close relationship with Lord Melbourne, played by Rufus Sewell (ITV)

She said: "Judi's Dench's Mrs Brown was great and The Young Victoria (starring Emily Blunt) as well. It's great to watch Victoria from where she begins at 18 to Judi Dench's Mrs Brown."

Costing a reported £1 million per episode, the opulent sets for the eight-part series - from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey where she was crowned - were in fact recreated in an old RAF hangar on the outskirts of Leeds.

Victoria begins on ITV at 9pm.