Mary Queen of Scots: The Influence of Tudor Women
[DATE POSTED: 12/07/2018]--This December, another British period film will dramatize the lives of powerful Tudor women and their turbulent political history. Mary Queen of Scots, directed by Josie Rourke and staring two award-nominated actresses, retells the feud between Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) and her cousin Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) over Mary's claim to the English throne. Early reviews have criticized the film for its deviations from history, including the depiction of the in-person meeting between the two queens, which never happened; Ronan's Scottish accent when Mary was raised in France; and the close relationship between the queens early in the film, which in reality was never so warm. Despite these critiques, reviewers have also lauded the film for Ronan and Robbie's performances and for its incredible attention to detail in costume and set design—all of which, they say, make this drama an Oscar contender.
Mary Queen of Scots joins the ranks of many screen portrayals of Tudor England. What is it about the lives of these monarchs—their alliances and rivalries, their glories and tragedies—that draws such an enduring following? From Elizabeth (1998) to the Showtime drama The Tudors (2007), many have shed light on the roles that aristocratic women played at court, particularly the effects they had on state affairs through their relationships at the highest levels of society. These depictions provide insight into women's methods of asserting social and political influence in a period when such power was generally unavailable to them.
Use the Analyze Perspectives on Women in Tudor Politics in the Background Resources menu to guide library research and classroom discussion into the political and social influence of Tudor women. The Background Essay outlines the roles of noble women in Tudor England and highlights the history of key historical women of the period. The accompanying Defining Moment essays explore Henry VIII's relationships with his first three wives and provide case studies of Tudor women and how they influenced the politics of the time. Use the Instruction to deepen student understanding of these resources and guide research and discussion. (Note that the instruction can be used independently of the movie, which has an R rating.)
"Mary Queen of Scots: the Influence of Tudor Women." History Hub,
Entry ID: 2184250