The biopic on TV tonight: “Mary Queen of Scots” Sunday 5 March 2023 at 21 on Iris (Channel 22) – Mary Queen of Scots (Mary Queen of Scots) is a 2018 film directed by Josie Rourke. The biopic, starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, is the film adaptation of the biography My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots written by John Guy.
The film tells the story of Maria Stuarda, Queen of Scots at birth, Queen of France by marriage at just sixteen and widowed at eighteen. Back in her native Scotland, which has meanwhile become a Protestant country, she clashes with her rebel lords and comes into conflict with her cousin Elizabeth I of England, whose throne she also claims.(1)
In 1561, on the death of her husband Francis II of France, Maria Stuarda returned to Scotland and settled with her half-brother James Stewart, in order to claim the crown of Scotland and be recognized as successor by her cousin Elizabeth I of England. This one of hers, unmarried and unable to bear an heir to her kingdom, she begins to warn her as a danger, for being one of her Stuarts she might claim greater rights to the throne than hers. Maria, a Catholic, also attracted the antipathies of John Knox, a member of her Protestant faith council; the man, whose office is removed, begins a hate campaign against the queen.
Elizabeth believes that the best way to keep Mary’s designs in check is to make her his subject by marrying an English nobleman, so she sends her lover Robert Dudley to marry her; Maria initially refuses, since he is not noble and it is also very clear how much he is in love with the queen. Elizabeth thus seeks a meeting with her cousin, but she is struck by her smallpox; thinking that the queen is close to her death, Mary accepts marriage to Dudley to increase the chances of ascending the throne, but Elizabeth, overwhelmed by her love and illness, prevents her lover from marrying her. So she sends to her Lord Henry Darnley, who says he wants to settle in Scotland for the religious freedom that she Maria grants to her subjects; the woman knows that she is lying to her, but the charm of the man is such as to strike her, and accept her courtship of her.
Elizabeth’s Council, aware that the title of Lord Darnley in effect increases Mary’s right to the throne, requires the sovereign to send Dudley back to Mary; even the advisers of the latter believe that the man actually wants to obtain the position of king of her by marrying her. The British thus send ambassadors to prevent Maria from marrying Darnley, but she refuses her because she is well aware of the importance of this marriage; also her brother, however, turns his back on her as he does not want to go to war against England because of this union. Giacomo will join the English in a revolt against Maria, but this will soon be put down by Maria herself, who will spare her life anyway.
Maria marries Darnley, but on their wedding night she discovers him in bed with his friend and musician Davide Rizzio; the latter is pardoned, with the promise that in the future he will be very careful not to cause scandal in the court. Once her husband’s homosexuality was discovered, Maria forced him to have sexual intercourse with her in order to get pregnant, which she actually did. The child she is carrying will be heir to the thrones of Scotland and England, which of course upsets the English Council. Meanwhile Giacomo allies himself with Darnley’s father, who wants to take away the throne from Maria to give it to her son, and the two hatch a conspiracy: they make Rizzio pass himself off as Maria’s lover and possible father of the child she is expecting. Darnley himself, while in love with Rizzio, is one of the signatories of the pact. Maria tries to save her friend from the assailants, but he is stabbed to death. The last to throw the fatal blow is Darnley himself: this will mark the definitive break between him and Maria.
Following these events, Maria undertakes to forgive her brother if he will bring him proof that her husband was among the conspiracy theorists, which in fact happens. Maria makes peace with Giacomo, and she asks him to be a good uncle to the unborn child; she also wrote to Elisabetta asking her to be his godmother. The two make an agreement: if Elizabeth has a son, this will be heir to the throne of England; if she dies childless, it will be Mary’s son who ascends both the thrones of Scotland and England, which shocks the English Council. Furthermore Maria dismisses Darnley, but she refuses to divorce him as the Scottish Council would like. The Scots thus propose to James Hepburn, Duke of Bothwell and Maria’s personal guard, to become her husband following the death of Darnley, who is killed during an explosive attack.
Maria is forced to flee and marry Bothwell, as the Council requires her to marry a Scotsman immediately. This gives Knox an opportunity to lash out at her, portraying her as a prostitute and instigating her murder of Darnley in order to fulfill her sexual desires. The Council, seeing her image now compromised, suggests to Mary to abdicate and leave the throne of Scotland to James. Bothwell is furious, but Maria reveals to him that this is all a plan by her brother and her council to take away her kingdom. James, who has taken Mary’s infant son hostage, asks her to abdicate, but she refuses and flees to England to seek protection from Elizabeth, leaving the child in Scotland.
Elizabeth and Maria meet in secret. Mary asks her cousin for protection and an army to take back the Scottish throne; Elizabeth grants her protection, but she declares she cannot help a Catholic. The two then have a dramatic confrontation during which Mary reproaches Elizabeth for not wanting to help her just to keep her throne; Elisabetta replies that she has always envied her beauty and the fact that she had a son, things which she has renounced in favor of reason of state; yet she acknowledges that these same things are now bringing Mary to ruin. She subsequently orders Maria to be imprisoned in England.
Many years later, Mary is accused of conspiring against Elizabeth; she knows this is a lie, but she is forced to sign her execution. While Elizabeth weeps over the fate of her cousin, Mary goes to her gallows revealing a red dress under her clothes that indicates her martyrdom. In her last moments before her beheading, Maria thinks of her son and hopes that her sacrifice will help him bring peace to the kingdom.
Subsequently, on Elizabeth’s death in 1603, Mary’s son – James – will be the first king to reign over Scotland and England.
Directed by Josie Rourke
With Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie
Internal and external photo: https://www.msn.com/it-it/notizie/other/maria-regina-di-scozia/vp-AA188tsn