It took me back to when I first became interested in the history of these times when I was in Year 8 at high school and history turned to Tudor England. I don’t think history ever captured me like that period did. I was ravenous for information. I read everything I could about Henry VIII and then branched out further and further.
I think Jean Plaidy made me love Mary Queen of Scots. This movie made me love her even more.
This movie (and this period in history) fills me with hope and hopelessness. It tugs me from one extreme to the other, and I don’t know how to reconcile that.
On the hope side: Mary and her cousin, Elizabeth I, were incredible women. Strong, fierce, intelligent, born to rule (even if they were women) and they must have commanded such a presence. Elizabeth did so much to change society, and yet, there was so much more these two women could have achieved.
And here’s where the hopelessness comes in. Men did everything they could to bring these women to a halt. The savage politics of the time, the greed and lust for power, the lies and fabrications that were woven to halt changes in society were incredible. If two Queens cannot fight that, what hope do we have?
Mary and Elizabeth, were incredibly tolerant and open-minded in a society where civil wars had been fought over religion for years. They both seemed to want to rule with compassion. Neither wanted war. Both wanted cohesion, less division, more merging and blending. They were after a world where people mattered.
And they couldn’t achieve it.
Elizabeth could not allow herself to believe that Mary wasn’t trying to take her throne. They hardly knew each other, so it was a fair assumption, but was it fuelled by the men surrounding Elizabeth who wanted power and to rule beneath the skirts of a lowly woman?
Mary wanted to love and be loved. She was fooled by men who used that need to further their own political agenda.
Elizabeth resisted marriage, fearing for her rule. Mary married hoping for love, only to find herself manipulated just as Elizabeth had always feared.
Women, once again, came so close to changing the power, politics, patriarchal structures of the world. Yet men fought against any change. They banded together and used every tactic they could to stop any change. To stop peace. To stop compassion. To stop open-mindedness. To stop people being allowed to be themselves. They fought to keep their closed-minded world.