33 thoughts on “Forgotten Tudors

  1. I think a big part of the problem is that they haven’t been novelised. At least Margaret Douglas gets featured as a villain in the Lymond Chronicles, but that has yet to reach the screen. Too bad for so many reasons, but mostly because it’s good history combined with some brilliant fictional action. I don’t think anyone has come up with better than the scavenger hunt across the rooftops of Blois.

    1. OMG! The scavenger hunt in Blois! WHY has no one filmed this series???? Good history, great stories. The Lymond Chronicles is the best historical fiction ever.

    2. Margaret Tudor was the narrator in the Philippa Gregory novel, Three Sisters, Three Queens. She was a whiny brat through much of it, so I don’t know that I’d want to watch a movie version of the novel.

  2. Margaret Douglas showed up in REIGN of all places, and she was… weird. She deserves redemption for that at least.

        1. Well, if we’re unlucky, Margaret might be showing up in season 2 of The Spanish Princess. Depending on how many of the 24 years of Catherine and Henry’s marriage they try to cram into said season.

  3. Well Margaret Douglas was Darnley’s scheming mom. 😀 But she was much more than that. Thomas Howard apparently literally died of love of her and Lennox seems to have been happy with her so she must have had some positive personal qualities. She was devoted to the worthless Darnley and literally collapsed from grief when she heard of his death. Her reaction was so extreme that even Elizabeth, who despised her cousin Margaret, was alarmed and released her from the Tower.

    Margaret Douglas’ mother and namesake had the same rotten taste in men as her granddaughter Mary, but was a much better plotter and ruler. Not that that isn’t a low bar.

    Poor, POOR, Arbella Stuart! She was conceived to be a pawn and that’s all she was her entire life but she didn’t tamely submit. Her efforts at escape all fails but she made them regularly. Her choice of William Seymour, who had his own claim to the throne through the Greys, suggests she wasn’t lacking in ambition either.

  4. I hated that The Tudors combined Mary and Margaret Tudor because they thought viewers would get confused with two Mary Tudors running around. Jean Plaidy wrote about both Mary (Mary, Queen of France) and Margaret Tudor (The Thistle and the Rose). And I know our favorite author Philippa Gregory wrote a book recently about them which I’m sure will somehow get shoved into series two of the Spanish Princess. I definitely think that all of these women deserve a really good movie or miniseries. I remember that there was a movie in the 50’s about Mary Tudor and her marriage to Brandon (The Sword and the Rose).

    1. I went to school with approximately one million Katelyns/Caitlyns/Catelyns… and it was fine. I don’t know why people think it will be that big a problem on tv.

    2. Yep, I thought about including Mary Tudor here, but at least she got that film, plus another in the 20s (When Knighthood Was in Flower), and the storyline on The Tudors…

  5. Ah, but there is a fatal flaw in your proposal: All of these were strong women who didn’t even have the excuse of a crown on their silly heads. Hollywood not interested, it might give their own wiminzs ideas.
    So, yes, we’re going to see Henri time and time again, because I’m pretty certain, some Hollywood directors & execs just dream of beheading their ex wives when they want to get a newer model. Also, old fat man indulging in every possible way and getting all the pretty girls nonetheless.
    Only queens are allowed to indulge in some of that behavior, and think of how many films about Elizabeth (both of them), are in the end about a man?
    Closer to us, your review of the Catherine series, very recent. The real Catherine was an autocrat, but my, what a sex drive! And you got to have some respect for a woman that had a table made with dicks (amongst other stuff, but that table stayed with me). She consumed men like kleenex and all of Europe knew it. Yet, that last effort with Helen Mirren shows a lovesick woman who couldn’t survive without her man.
    The real Catherine would have laughed in that director’s face, and then had him beheaded or stuff, I’m sure.

  6. Maybe given the issues in representing historical women accurately it’s better that they don’t? I mean, it’s a shame, but I feel like until your article on how to make feminist historical films becomes required reading at production companies, we’re doomed to crappy portrayals.

  7. A big part of me is like FROCK YES because these women are awesome and under-represented and flat out ignored (especially Margaret Tudor for reasons I shall never understand; she had her moments of boss bitch that deserve to be remembered).

    And then I remember WTF they did to Mary Stuart and Elizabeth I in the recent Mary Queen of Scots movie and assume the asshats will treat these frocking fabulous ladies with the same disdain so… no thanks. :P

  8. Catherine of Valois would also make good biopic! She married Henry V, the victor of the Battle of Agincourt in 1420, and gave birth to Henry VI in 1421, But Henry V died in 1422, leaving behind an infant as King. Catherine secretly married Owen Tudor, and had 2 children, so she was the progenitor of the whole Tudor line!

    1. She was in a black and white BBC drama: The Queen and the Welshman, 1966 (I think!), with Dorothy Tutin as Catherine. I remember watching it on Public TV in around 1969.

      1. It’s a good, cinematic story. Young princess, neglected by her mad father and ambitious mother, married off to a national enemy and left a widow in an alien country with an infant son. Eventually finds personal happiness with a commoner.

    2. She had two surviving children, Edmund and Jasper Tudor but there is record of another son who may have become a monk and at least one, maybe two daughters.

  9. Hollywood: Dear Frock Flicks,

    Please, these women aren’t sexy enough for us! Also they ain’t empowering if they aren’t strong FEMINIST characters, who have sex a lot, and aren’t shamed for it! Also these characters wear corsets(EWWW!!!) and enter arranged marriages and do what MEN with Penises tell them what to do! That’s not FEMINIST! Also we have to have our Strong women complaining about how evil corsets are!!! That’s the FEMINIST way of doing it! Have we mentioned FEMINIST at least twice? Good! Remember: Sexy and Marketable=Feminist!
    Good Day!:
    Hollywood :P!

  10. I’d love to see Margaret Pole get a little screen love.
    She was George Duke of Clarence’s daughter, which makes her a Plantagent, but she married a cousin of Henry VII, so she’s a Tudor by marriage? Sort of?
    But OMG that girl lived a life. She was born in 1475, and was in the line of succession, but somehow survived the reign of Richard III, the battle of Bosworth, and the reign of Henry VII, She was born a princess and became a Countess in her own right (since her brother was executed for making Henry VII nervous), clawed back her fortune after Henry VII stole it, and served as lady in waiting to Catherine of Aragon, and governess to Princess Mary.

    1. And after all of that, she’s executed by Henry VIII when she’s nearly 70.
      Because, what, she was gonna take over the crown?

  11. Mary Tudor, the French Queen’s daughters are also neglected or worse.
    Frances Brandon, Marchioness of Dorset and eventual Duchess of Suffolk figures in movies about her eldest daughter as an evil, abusive harridan. A misidentified portrait has given her a reputation for being fat and mannish and resembling her uncle Henry at his worst. In fact she was a small, pretty woman like her mother and her daughters. She was no believer in sparing the rod but her reputation as an abusive parent is based on dubious grounds. She may have been ambitious but she seems to have opposed her husband selling their daughter’s wardship to Thomas Seymour making a determined effort to get Jane back after Queen Catherine Parr died. Jane herself clung to her parents for protection against her father in law Northumberland, who terrified her. Frances’ second husband was no boy toy but a gentleman a mere two years her junior who she may have chosen at least in part because his low rank pretty much took her out of power politics. If she had been ambitious the deaths of her first husband and eldest daughter cured her. She lived in happy obscurity until 1559 and was rewarded for her self effacement by Elizabeth’s favor.

    Her younger sister, Eleanor Brandon was married, apparently happily, to the Earl of Cumberland which took her well away from court and it’s intrigues. She died the same year as her Uncle Henry. Her daughter, another Margaret, was not so wise. She was apparently not happy with her husband the Earl of Derby and obsessed over her right to the succession which was a grand way to set Elizabeth against her. Nobody but Margaret seems to have taken her claim seriously.

  12. All of the Tudor women inherited at least some of the intelligence and strong will of the dynasty’s matriarch, Margaret Beaufort. Unfortunately for them most did not get her good judgement.
    Margaret is, as we know, the most maligned of women in historical films.

  13. Can anyone recommend movies or tv shows that accurately depict Tudor costumes, specifically from Henry VIII’s reign? Thanks!

    1. Hmm, that’s a tough one! Wolf Hall is probably your best bet, although search our site for reviews to see the few things they got wrong.

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