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The beginnings of Nancy Skerrett were, for the most part, kept in the shadows. It was known that she was willing to lie to get ahead in the world, due to coming from a common background and likely needing money.
Nancy took up a flirtation with Mr. Francatelli, the head chef and baker in the palace kitchens, during the first season. He was quite taken with her, but Nancy was shown to have a shy disposition and seems, at first, to be uninterested in him romantically. However, she came to the conclusion by the end of the season that she loves him, however, he has gone to work elsewhere to spread his culinary wings. Devastated, Miss Skerrett tried to get over her heartbreak.
Miss Skerrett received the honorary title of Mrs. Skerrett when she becomes the Queen's Head Dresser, despite her youth and Baroness Lehzen's reservations on the matter.
She was put into an awkward position when she was requested to find Mr. Francatelli and to bring him back to the palace, for the Queen dislikes her new chef's cooking. Awkwardly, she confesses that she knows of his whereabouts and goes to find him.
It was revealed that he was working at an upscale gentleman's club in London and seems to be enjoying his new form of employment. Nancy asks him to come back, as that was her reason behind tracking him down, but he claims to like his new position and coolly rebuffs her, and begins to leave. Nancy calls him back, saying that the day he left she was going to find him, to tell him something, but only gets midway through her sentence when she quickly tells him she realises she was too late. Cool again, Mr. Francatelli tells her that she was indeed too late before he returns back to work.
After the Queen intervenes with the brother of a trusted servant who attends the club on a regular basis, Mr. Francatelli was returned to the palace. Joyful, Nancy ran up to him in the kitchens, a scene much like the ending of Season 1, and seemed elated at his return. However, he was cold towards her again, and was angered at losing his position at the gentleman's club, prompting Nancy to be heartbroken once again. In later episodes, Francatelli was not cold towards Nancy and took her out on a date and the two rekindle their relationship.
When beginning her job as the Queen's dresser, Nancy took up another name, Eliza. She reveals only to Charles Francatelli that her real name was Nancy. We later learn that her cousin was actually called Eliza and that she was meant to do Nancy's job. Eliza fell pregnant before arriving at the Palace, so their family agreed to pretend that Nancy was called Eliza. Nancy also agreed to support Eliza by giving her some of her earnings.
Almost getting fired
Things went well until Nancy told Eliza about a thief who broke into the Palace and then Eliza told a newspaper who published the article and paid her for it. An investigation took place to find out who was to blame for betraying the Queen. Mr. Francatelli had been questioned about his expensive pocket watch, to which he replied, "Maybe I have a fairy Godmother." Nancy eventually confessed that it was her and was fired by Queen Victoria, much to her dismay. When Victoria told Albert about the whole ordeal, he went to find Miss Skerrett to give her her job back. Victoria was surprised, because she had made the decision thinking the Prince would agree with it.
Nancy married Charles Francatelli in London Bridge is Falling Down with Brodie as there witness before leaving with the household for Osborne. She quits her job for her new husband in the next episode, and the two of them begin their new life together in Foreign Bodies. As they prepare to open their hotel Nancy discovers she is pregnant.
As a precaution, Nancy drinks a tonic which is supposed to help with pregnancy, but it is revealed that it was infected with the cholera virus. This quickly led onto her death, and her husband decided to make the hotel after her.
Behind The Scenes
- Nancy Skerrett was played by British actress Nell Hudson.
- The character was based on Marianne Skerrett who was the Queen's Dresser from 1837 to 1862. Marianne was much older than the shows version, as she would have been 44 years old in 1837.