For location manager Martin Joy, there really was only one place to recreate the grandeur of Buckingham Palace in the forthcoming movie The Young Victoria.

“Once we had looked into the reality of what Buckingham Palace was like when Victoria came to the throne it was almost inevitable that we would come to Blenheim,” the strikingly tall Martin tells me. “We needed a huge impressive court yard and the scale and splendour of the Great Court and the North Front was perfect. This is one of the few buildings that can hold its own against Buckingham Palace.”

On further inspection this spectacular Oxfordshire palace, which was built under the orders of Queen Anne for John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough, in 1704 and was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, became an even more attractive location.

“On looking further at what the site had to offer we were able to use the Long Library and the Water Terrace to represent King Leopold’s Laeken Palace in Belgium,” Martin, who previously chose this location for Heath Ledger’s movie Four Feathers, explains. “Finally we chose the Duke of Marlborough’s Italian Garden to play out scenes set in the Gardens at Buckingham Palace.”

However, once the locations were settled and the cast, including Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, and Paul Bettany, and crew had arrived for filming in the summer of 2007, there was still the issue of the public.

“We were allowed to shoot in the Long Library until about one o’clock and then we had a cut off point and we had to get out the door to let the public in.” Martin recalls. “It meant early starts but that’s all part and parcel of what we do, and it does mean early finishes.”

A detailed chronicle of Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne and early turbulent years of reign, The Young Victoria focuses on the legendary passion, romance and subsequent marriage of Victoria and Prince Albert. Rather fittingly then, it seems only right that a special exhibition to mark the release of this much-anticipated costume drama on March 6 should open in Blenheim Palace’s sumptuous Long Library on Valentine’s Day.

The focus of the display are three beautiful costumes worn by the eponymous star Emily Blunt, including her eye-wateringly grand coronation robe. Also on show are a number of props used in the film, many of which belong to Blenheim, film imagery and a movie trailer, which provides the stirring background music, while at the north end of the library one notable scene in which King Leopold passes Albert a letter from Victoria is replicated.

Widely considered architect Nicholas Hawksmoor’s finest room at Blenheim, it is clear to see what drew director Jean-Marc Vallée to use the Long Library for King Leopold’s proud apartments, as picturesque snow-capped hills are visible through the ornate windows and roaring fires dance beneath the vast shelves of books dramatically stretching to the high decorative ceilings. The perfect romantic setting for the Belgium monarch’s match-making ambitions.

Speaking about the extraordinary love match between Victoria and Albert, Oscar-winning script-writer Julian Fellowes tells me: “Victoria’s sorrow was that because she had an unhappy childhood, when she met somebody who was completely sympathetic and absolutely understood, he wasn’t just her husband, he was her father, brother, mother, sister, friend, he was everything to her. And when he died at 42 she mourned him very deeply. But what I felt before we made the film was the public knew about the mourning, but not about the love, so hopefully after this they will be a little more alert to that.”

Not many British films could boast as many “gorgeous locations” as The Young Victoria, with the crew shooting at Hampton Court Palace, Ham House, Belvoir Castle and Ditchley Park to name a few. But Julian admits coming to Blenheim, whose Great Court provided the setting for some of the movie’s most pivotal scenes, was a highlight.

“Blenheim is the greatest country house of them all, so it was fun that we got to film here,” he gushes. ”I love it, it’s an extraordinary house, and although enormous, sort of liveable in an odd way.”

In fact, Julian’s admiration for the house and its history has even led to him to consider penning a script on the palace’s colourful past residents, including the first duchess, the fiesty Sarah Jennings and the American railroad heiress and renowned beauty Consuelo Vanderbilt. “It has always had this sort of rock ‘n’ roll existence,” he muses. “Which I find rather entertaining.”

The Young Victoria - Special Exhibition opens on Saturday, February 14, and runs until Tuesday, March 31. Details: 08700 60 20 80 or visit