- "It is not magic—and, for Heaven's sake, don't call it that in front of Albia. Everything she does is subject to the laws of nature. Hers is a science so advanced it merely seems like—"
Appearance and Abilities Edit
Despite numerous mentions of Albia in the strip, for many years, the only visual depiction released into the wild was a rough portrait which Phil Foglio sketched for a fan. When she finally in person, she is a giantess with long, pale green hair and dressed in practical gardening attire who bears almost zero resemblance to the scowling, flame-haired, scantily-clad figure in the sketch. Aside from her enormous size, the only odd thing about her is a floating halo of stars surrounding her head.
She then immediately shows, however, that she can "compress" herself and her garments down to human size. The compression process, if done too quickly, produces a great deal of heat as a byproduct. She can also casually morph her garments, jewelry, and hair and so they reflect the current topic of discussion. (Her tiara with an emblem of the British flag over her forehead, her mismatched earrings, and her halo of stars are the only constants.) She adopts "widow's weeds" when learning a former compatriot, Queen Luheia of Skifander, is now deceased, and then the bright green hair and (scanty) costume of a queen of Skifander as a tribute to her sister Queen. When talking to Agatha about her Albia's general appearance changes to resembles Agatha's after she drank the Dyne water, back in Castle Heterodyne, and When she further becomes Sparkily excited, up as in the sketch. Her throne in her garden at least is giant-sized, and she adjusts her dimensions accordingly to use it.
As indicated by one of her titles, she is evidently also immortal and unaging; a Master of Paris (who is least two hundred years old himself at the time) reveals that she is the only (relatively human) person in Europa he is aware of who is older than he, and even he does not know the source of her longevity; it certainly isn't via a wearying mass of cybernetics like himself. Albia has at least implied to her courtier Lord Womble that she is in fact thousands of years old.by the
Diplomatic Matters Edit
It is possible that 300 years ago she successfully weathered anby a cabal of rebellious nobles aimed at unseating her; the description of this event refers to "the throne" of England being targeted rather than Albia specifically.
However that coup attempt played out, according to eyewitness Gil, Albia currently has strong control over her slowly sinking kingdom. Even now it is not clear how far that control actually extends.
She is not beholden to Baron Wulfenbach, and is powerful enough to resist him. While the issue is yet to be discussed in the comic, according to the Girl Genius print novels, when the newly-reappeared Baron was securing Europa against the Revenants and various battling Sparks, he was often assisted by Britain and Queen Albia, but as his empire grew, his and Albia's commercial and imperial interests began to butt heads (not to mention the strong Sparkish tendency to seek hierarchical control), leading eventually to an estrangement. Knowing how devastating a war between the two empires would be, the diplomatic corps of both countries are reported to have strained mightily to keep this from deteriorating into open conflict. When Gil assumes control of the Wulfenbach empire, she is among many who notice he behaving erratically due to the mental implant Klaus stuck in his head.
When Agatha and her retinue arrive in England (and Londinium specifically), Albia is quick to meet with Agatha and Zeetha and to evidently share all information she has on subjects of interest. She also offers Agatha the chance to stay in England as long as she wants and work on her research in regards to freeing Mechanicsburg from Klaus's time-bubble, assigning her laboratory space with the Queen's Society of Sparks. Although as soon as Agatha is out of earshot, Albia that she intends to lure Agatha and her companions into becoming technically-willing and permanent residents in her "garden"; this is implied to mean something of vaster scale than the literal greenspace where Albia is first introduced, but nevertheless a defined area where Her Majesty collects and cultivates interesting specimens. Gil and Tarvek (also current visitors to her kingdom) are specifically not included in this plan.
Friends and Relations Edit
As noted, Albia is aware of the existence of Skifander, but because she only communicated with Luheia via a long-dormant "Mirror", she does not know its location. (Or so she claims to would-be garden-inhabitant Zeetha..)
Violetta says at one point that Albia gave "The Platonic Solid" to the Storm King, but the eyewitness Master of Paris later states that the master Spark Van Rijn constructed it. It is unknown if the mace was somehow passed around in this fashion, or this is a mistake on the Foglios' part.
Possibly relevant outside informationEdit
- Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom celebrated the 60th anniversary of her accession to the British throne in 2012, while the ocean liner that shares her name was retired in 2008 after forty years of service. Elizabeth II is now the longest-reigning British monarch in history. In January of 2020 hers would surpass the reign of Franz Joseph I of Austria, and in May 2024 that of Louis XIV of France —also known as the Sun King— the longest of any monarch of a major country in European history.
- Victoria of the United Kingdom, from whom term "Victorian" is derived, was famously the longest reiging monarch in English history (until recently when the length of her reign was surpassed by that of Elizabeth II), from 1837 to her death in 1901. Twenty-six of Queen Victoria's grandchildren became rulers in Europe, therefore she became known as The Grandmother of Europe.
- May also be a Steampunk version of 'Gloriana' (Edmund Spenser's 'Faerie Queen' and a tribute to Elizabeth I) updated for Victoria.
- "Albion" (Greek: Ἀλβιών) is the oldest known name of the island of Great Britain. Today, it is still sometimes used poetically to refer to the island. It is the basis of the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland, Alba.
Gallo-Latin Albiōn (cf. Middle Irish Albbu) derives from the Proto-Celtic * Alb-i̯en-, sharing the same stem as Welsh elfydd "earth, world". Together with other toponyms such as Alpes it derives from a Proto-Indo-European root *albh- "white".
It is often hypothesised that the Romans took it as connected with albus (white), in reference to the white cliffs of Dover and Alfred Holder's Alt-Keltischer Sprachschatz (1896) unhesitatingly translates it Weissland ("white-land") .