Oracle of History

Guiding you through the ages

And we’ll never be royals (rooooyals!)

I have a thing for historical dramas – it’s an open guilty pleasure. I’m talking more than just Downton Abbey though.

I’ve watched some bad ones in my time…really bad ones…

I actually had a professor at University who was famous for his rant against the movie Troy with Brad Pitt and its historical inaccuracies. I always thought it was funny, as a history student, that anybody would take that movie as fact, but there are some gullible people in this world…

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to have a “Let’s be honest talk” about one such drama.

I’m looking at you, Reign 

reign27

The premise (shamelessly taken from Wikipedia):

Set in 1557 France, the highly fictionalized series follows the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, at French court while she awaits her marriage to the future Francis II of France, to whom she has been engaged since they were six. At court, Mary has to contend with the changing politics and power plays, as well as her burgeoning feelings for Francis and the romantic attentions from Francis’ bastard half-brother, Bash. Francis’ mother, Catherine de’ Medici, is secretly trying to prevent the marriage due to Nostradamus’s prediction that the marriage will lead to Francis’ death. The series also follows the affairs of Mary’s Scottish handmaidens Kenna, Aylee, Lola and Greer, who are searching for husbands of their own at court.

The problem: 

It’s a product of the CW, which means attractive 20-something-year-old actors playing horny teenagers. It’s great if you’re a 14-year-old girl, but not so much if you’re a historian.

The solution:

I will selflessly sacrifice my afternoon to bring you the real story of Mary Queen of Scots and her motley crew.

So let’s begin…

Mary Queen of Scots

REIGN

mqs_1558_age_16_orange_elvis470_365x470

  • She was original promised to the English King (Henry VIII)’s son, the future Edward VI
  • Catholics opposed the plan, taking her back to Scotland where they arranged an alliance with France instead (France was a Catholic country)
  • She moved to the courts of France in 1548 (at the age of 5) when she was engaged to the French Dauphin, Francis. She never lived in a convent!
  • She didn’t marry him until 1558, but was only Queen of France for a year. Francis died of an ear infection in 1560
  • Returned to Scotland, married twice and was finally executed in 1587  for suspicion of involvement in an assassination plot against Queen Elizabeth I
  • She was a red head

Sidenote: All the suspicion against Mary was based on the fact that she was Catholic. Ah, religious upheaval…

Francis II 

FrancoisII Francis9

  • Son of King Henry II of France and Catherine de Medici
  • He was sickly and weak
  • Took over the throne, at the age of 15, after the accidental death of his father
  • He was only King for 18 months – died at the age of 16 from an infection

Nostradamus 

Nostradamus_by_Cesar reign31

  • He wasn’t a young hunk in the court of France
  • He would have been middle aged by the time Mary was in France
  • He was, however, a French apothecary and a seer
  • Famous for his book of prophecies
  • Real name is Michel de Nostredame
  • He did not predict the early death of Francis

Catherine de’ Medici

REIGN463155_imagno

  • Her father was the famous Lorenzo de Medici of Florence
  • Nostradamus was not her confidant
  • The King did have an affair, leaving her sidelined until she started producing children
  • Acted as regent for her second son, Charles, who took the throne after Francis died

Ladies in waiting

Ladies-in-waiting_and_mary1

  • Yes they most likely existed…
  • ….but their names were most certainly not Lola or Kenna

This is only a fraction of what is wrong, historically, with this show. I just don’t want to bore you will all the details. However, if you’re looking for Pretty Little Liars set in a historical time period then this is the show for you!

Happy viewing 🙂

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5 thoughts on “And we’ll never be royals (rooooyals!)

  1. Mr.Ree on said:

    Thank you. Well done.
    I have a deep appreciation of Rennissance history and am familliar with Mary Queen of Scots. The true story means the current Queen of England is a false queen.
    But then its debatable as the throne has long been fought over , many died over who was believed the “rightful heir”.
    Anyway, it can.be frustrating watching these teenagers and 20 somthings with such DEEP
    feelings and issues tear apart historical accuracy that unfortunately, most will believe as historically accurate….so we suspend our
    beliefs briefly…mainly because theres nithing better on the tube.
    Avast.

  2. …But they have REALLY pretty dresses ~.^ Francis does seem kind of weakly any-ways, hehe…I completely understand what you’re saying though =)

  3. And I don’t understand why fake information and characters are introduced to people who probably will never read history. Such a waste of opportunities to educate

  4. The 4 girls were all named Mary, so they were called the 4 Marys..I guess calling them all mary on the show would have been confusing, but since these simi true shows about history got popular I always look up the facts to see wuts truth and wuts fiction

    • Amber on said:

      Thank you. Started binge watching and figured much was wrong. Double checked my historical knowledge about Queen Mary of Scotland and discovered that pretty much the entire show is false in every aspect. Why not just make a period piece that lays no claim to reality? Why use real historical figures and not real facts? God knows that the true story is just as interesting anyway. Why not make it accurate? Frustrating. Either make a purely fictional show with fictional characters or make a historical fictional show with true historical facts.

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