Thursday, April 19, 2007

To pre-empt any further questions about Margaret Tudor...


As I'm sure some of you have figured out by now, the portrayal of Margaret Tudor's story in the Showtime series is NOT the same as the life of the real Margaret Tudor. In the series, the story is basically that of Mary Tudor (Henry VIII's sister), but my guess is that they decided to use Margaret's name to avoid any confusion with the other Mary Tudor (Henry VIII's daughter).

Since the series started out in 1520 when Francis I was already King of France, they couldn't fit the real marriage saga of Mary Tudor into the series timeline as it actually happened in history. In reality Mary married Louix XII of France in 1514 and he died a few months later in 1515 and was succeeded by Francis I. Since this all took place before the time that the series started (1520), they moved it to a later year and used the King of Portugal instead of the King of France. Mary (or Margaret, in the series) does later marry Charles Brandon and they are the grandparents of the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey.

The real Margaret Tudor was married to James IV of Scotland (and had two marriages after that) and was the mother of James V of Scotland, who in turn was the father of Mary Queen of Scots. Margaret's great-grandson was James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England after the death of Elizabeth I. So, as you can see, Margaret's real story is very different from that of the character with that name in the Showtime series.

Now, to complicate things even further, the character biographies on the Showtime series website give the history of the REAL characters, which will be quite confusing to anyone who reads them and is watching the series (and seeing a different story!).



11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for pointing this out! I appreciate it very much. I have quite an affinity for Margaret in actuality, and was very disturbed by her portrayal in the series as being totally inaccurate. I had wondered if they were trying to fit in the story of one of the other sisters, and as you point out - they are! At this point Margaret would have been on her second or third marriage and would have already been queen of scotland. Thank you for your insights!! :-)

April 26, 2007 12:53 PM  
Anonymous beedee said...

What I believe the writers are attempting to demonstrate with story of Margaret and Charles is the price of absolute loyalty in an authoritarian system. There are two lines of dialogue between them that make their entire fabricated love story necessary and appreciable. When Charles is walking Margaret towards the altar where she must marry the repulsive old Portugese King she asks him "What are you doing?", and he responds "What the King ordered."

This show's aim seems to be much bigger than merely reciting history with accuracy. It's reminding us all of what it is to live in a world that demands loyalty above all else, specifically loyalty to a brutal, reckless tyrant in pursuit of immortal glory. These relevancies to our modern predicament are what are drawing me into the show, leading me to sites like these and others to learn more about this period of history.

Is that really such a bad thing, even if they fudged up the characters a bit? Is anyone watching the show somehow not aware that it's not 100% accurate?

April 27, 2007 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they could have remained historically correct and still produced good drama. There is much that is not hisorically accurate

May 25, 2007 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep trying to like this series but I'm having a really hard time recognizing anyone I've read about. I know it's not historically accurate & I'm trying desperately to keep that in the forefront of my mind. I will continue to watch, hoping it will get better. Nice eye candy anyway...

June 11, 2007 7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: Beedee's comment has given me food for thought. Thinking about the series in light of B's comments just might win me over!

June 11, 2007 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

The switching of Henry's sisters makes for an uncomfortable time for students of that period and serves no purpose. For those who would like the real backgrounf of Margaret and Mary Tudor I recommend an excellent book by Maria Perry, "The Sisters of Henry VIII. It reads like an adventure novel but it is well researched historical fact.
Despite this, I loved the series... well written, beautifully dressed and well directed. Now I want more.

August 02, 2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Colin said...

The series is fascinating just to see what historically inaccurate outrage it's going to come up with next. I'm fully expecting Wolsey's divorce attempts to fail because the Emperor Charles V and the Pope were gay lovers! There is more truth in the Daily Mail than in this nonsense!

October 26, 2007 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tabloid journalism is guilty of slandering the living. Historical dramatists can do the same to the dead. What would we think of future writers in 100 years time who portray the Queen as a warmonger?
Good writers weave fact and fiction skilfully and manage to excite. An example of a master is Patrick O'Brian.
Mary Tudor deserves better treatment, as we would expect for ourselves, saints or sinners.

November 03, 2007 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I getting even more confused, I thought this series was an original and started within the last few weeks Oct/Nov 2007, but here we see comments dated as far back as April 2007. Did someone have a sneak preview or is the current series just a repeat,
After seeking knowledge on the net and literature (historical) I wondered for a while if I was researching a different dynasty.
All is clear now, but shame on the BBC.

Student of History

November 04, 2007 9:24 AM  
Blogger Sean Alexander said...

Thank you for the update...i didnĀ“t actually realise that the story of the king of portugal and margaret was not true untill i cheaked the royal family tree and noticed she was actually married to the king of scotland...i thought she may have married the king of scotland later but in the series she dies very soon after she arrives back to engalnd...

Enjoy the other series all

November 06, 2009 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a fan of the Tudor's story I am astonished that they didn't use the real history as opposed to making it up. What actually happened during that period is astonishing..it would make today's tabloids seem tame by comparison and it's better than any fiction -- yet someone still felt the need to rewrite it! As a comparison - let's take a fictional-historical re-rendering of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, in which they decide that the amazing follow up where Jack Ruby murders Lee Harvey Oswald on live television is just NOT interesting enough -- so they decide to make it instead a plot by Richard Nixon --and use as his motive the fact that he lost the election to Kennedy. This is comparable to what they've done to the real Margaret or Mary Tudor story -- and just as unappealing.

The real stories -- either Mary's or Margaret's -- full of court intrigues and eventual murders and executions -- would have been much more satisfactory in my estimation -- even if it did mean having Mary married when the story started.

February 04, 2010 10:58 PM  

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