From Heresy to Royalty Elizabeth: An Unlikely Heiress Becomes an Heirloom of Honor
“Elizabeth” (1998) focuses on the life of Queen Elizabeth I of England and her 45-year rule. The Queen ascended the throne at the tender age of 25 after her sister, Queen Mary died of cancer. Elizabeth and Mary, though sisters, were bitter rivals divided by their religious beliefs.
Production Year: 1998
August 15, 2013 19:00 (KSA) ~ August 15, 2013 18:00 (CLT)
“Elizabeth” (1998) focuses on the life of Queen Elizabeth I of England and her 45-year rule. The Queen ascended the throne at the tender age of 25 after her sister, Queen Mary died of cancer. Elizabeth and Mary, though sisters, were bitter rivals divided by their religious beliefs. Mary, a stanch Catholic considered Elizabeth, and indeed all other Protestant Christians to be heretics; many of them were executed due to their beliefs. Queen Mary was incredibly paranoid of Elizabeth; one of her advisors, Simon Renard declared that Mary’s throne would never be safe while Elizabeth is alive. This placed incredible pressure on Elizabeth, whose every move was put under a microscope, eventually leading to her imprisonment and feared execution.
The soon-to-be queen had another problem. Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII, born from his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Henry was extremely dismayed that Anne was unable to produce a male heir to his throne and ordered his wife’s execution on the basis of treason. Though historians generally agree that the allegations against Boleyn were false, she was still viewed as an illegitimate queen; consequently, this meant that Elizabeth was no longer a princess and therefore had no immediate claim to the throne.
King Henry VIII married a third wife, Jane Seymour who gave birth to Henry’s one and only son: Edward. After Henry’s death Henry ascended the throne and ruled until he died of tuberculosis in 1553. With no other male heir available, Mary – daughter of Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon succeeded him. Although Mary’s father and brother were both Protestants who transformed the monarchy away from Catholicism, her allegiance was to Rome and her first priority was to destroy what she perceived as Protestant heresy in the Kingdom by reclaiming Catholicism as the official religion of England. Queen Mary was adamant regarding her country’s submission to Catholicism and regularly executed individuals she deemed dangerous to her cause; Elizabeth, a Protestant was no exception. Partly for religious reasons, and partially out of jealously, Elizabeth was sent to prison to await execution for allegedly conspiring to overthrow Catholic rule in the kingdom. She was eventually released and, since Mary failed to become pregnant, she was still a heiress to the throne.
In 1559 Queen Elizabeth I of England ascended the throne. One of her first steps was to break ties with Rome and declare her own independence. More interesting for many, and largely the subject matter of the film is Elizabeth’s life of romance, or lack thereof. She was resistant to the idea of marriage and believed that inviting any man to accompany her on the throne would inevitably lead to a coup. Her anti-marriage stance earned her the now famous title of “Virgin Queen.” While she did not marry she did enjoy the company of childhood friend, Robert Dudley – though nothing more than a friendly relationship ever developed.
“Elizabeth” was Indian director Shekhar Kapur’s first English picture and was followed by 2002’s “The Four Feathers” as well as “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” in 2007. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, winning one; it also earned a Golden Globe Award. Worldwide sells of “Elizabeth” totaled over $82 million.
The film is rated R for violence and sexuality. Its runtime is 124 minutes.