Filed under: The Show
IF only cheap women’s magazines and trashy TV were around in Tudor England. They’d have done a roaring trade.
Sure, the Windsor clan and Hollywood’s elite have their share of problems with the paparazzi in the present, but just imagine what Woman’s Day or Today Tonight could have done with some of the kings and queens of the past.
Henry Tudor’s mother Margaret was married at 12 and a widow by 14, making Britney look like the Virgin Queen. King Edward IV had his brother the Duke of Clarence executed, which even in royal circles is considered a rather nasty thing to do. At least, according to rumour, he made sure his brother went out in style, having him drowned in a butt of wine.
Richard III had his nephews declared illegitimate and then killed so he could assert his claim to the throne, which must have made for awkward moments when the family got together for Christmas.
Then there was that lovable rogue Henry VIII. Forget about The Farmer Takes a Wife; what about The King Takes A Wife, Series One to Six. It makes the shenanigans of Prince Harry seem rather tame.
David Starkey has learnt the trick of bringing the complex web of English history down to a digestible soundbite.
In his new series on the Monarchy that starts tonight (ABC, 9.20pm), Starkey looks at the reign of the Tudors which is represented by the Imperial Crown, a huge beast of a thing covered in bling and designed to represent their claim to the throne and to the head of the church.
Unfortunately for the Tudors, things didn’t work out as well as they intended.
“Their very scale of the crowns claims triggered an equal and opposite reaction and within 100 years a king was beheaded, the monarchy abolished and the imperial crown itself was smashed and melted down,” Starkey says.
Serving up a history of the English monarchy is something of a plat du jour at present. Cate Blanchett is at it again as Elizabeth I in her Golden Age. Then it’s the turn of Eric Bana, who will soon be slipping into the tights to portray King Henry VIII in The Other Boleyn Girl in which he has to choose between having sex with Natalie Portman or Scarlett Johansson – a dilemma which to borrow a phrase from another current film “is the quintessential question of our time”.
Life, even for a king, is never easy.
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