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We've been watching the TV series "The Tudors". We've just finished episode 4 in which Henry VIII's older sister gets married to the elderly King of Portugal and, a short time later, smothers him with a pillow. Now, while stranger things may have happened in dynastic politics, in this case it was not even vaguely related to the truth.

Well, ok - Henry did have an older sister, Margaret. However, she was married to the King of Scotland when she was 12! Before Henry even became King. She's the reason that the Stuarts had a legitimate claim to the throne of England after Elizabeth dies.

I wondered whether she was, perhaps, widowed and remarried. Indeed, she did - twice. But never to the King of Portugal.

Now, from some reviews I've read recently, the producers felt that they could play around with the historical accuracy a bit to achieve a better story, but this is apparently a complete fabrication bearing no relationship to history at all! And she gets turned into a murderess into the bargain.

Playing around a little with timelines for the sake of a good story I can understand. But there is no nice set of footnotes or afterword in a tv series to let people know what is accurate and what has been massaged.

On a good note, the costumes are speccy and seem to be reasonably accurate - as far as I can tell. And really, there's no excuse for them not to be. The armour, on the other hand. Well, what there is of it is ok, but I seriously doubt that anyone would have entered the tourney lists without neck protection - but not a gorget to be seen in this series despite at least one tourney per episode. Even I was cringing. Oh, and often no leg protection either.

I know I should just think about it as a piece of entertainment completely unrelated to fact, but the reality is that I'm not going to be able to do that. On the plus side, I'll probably learn a lot about Tudor history as I look up things to see just what the real history is.

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elissande

February 2011

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