Listen up, Hollywood. You need more films that focus on awesome female protagonists, and I have a list of worthy real women of historical import right here! We love Wolf Hall, but Anne Boleyn is overdone on screen, and so is her glorious daughter Elizabeth I — it’s time for movies about some different, equally amazing 16th-century women.
1. Mary Tudor – The English Queen of France
If you’ve watched The Tudors, you know that Henry VIII had a bitchy sister named Margaret (played by the angular Gabrielle Anwar), whom he married off to the King of France Portugal, and she ended up banging a hot commoner named Charles Brandon, who she eventually marries after she murders the French Portuguese king in his sleep, the end. OK, first of all, Henry had TWO sisters, Margaret (who the character is named after, apparently) and Mary. Margaret was married off to the Scottish king, and Mary was the one sent to France to marry the French king, and it was she who marries Brandon. Also, there was no murder. This is why you should never get your history from a TV show. That said, a movie about the actual history of the real 16th-century woman would kick much ass. Let’s review…
Mary was one of the three surviving children of Henry VII, and arguably one of the most beautiful women of her age. Hell, she was allegedly so hot in bed that the aging Louis XII basically killed himself within three months of their marriage trying to produce an heir with the 18 year old. Left a dowager queen without children, Mary pretty much had it made at the age of 18. Her status as a queen of France, her youth, and the fact that she was the favorite sister of the English king, meant that she was still politically important enough to spur the next French king, Francis I, to attempt to marry her shortly after his predecessor died.
However, Mary was a Tudor, and Tudors were shrewd, intelligent masters of working the system in their favor. Banking on the fact that her brother was going to waste little time in arranging another marriage for her, Mary decided to take matters into her own hands and play the wealthy widow’s “get out of a second arranged marriage free” card and swiftly married her brother’s favorite, Charles Brandon, who had recently been created Duke of Suffolk on the condition that he pursue marriage with Margaret of Parma. Obviously, this did not go over well with Henry VIII, and the couple was punished for their insubordination with a cripplingly huge fine and a temporary exile from court. Wrapped up in all of this drama was Mary’s increasing distaste for Anne Boleyn, who had been sent to France as part of her wedding entourage and who was now moving in on her brother. Mary openly opposed Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon, which caused a major rift between the siblings that never really healed.
Mary died in 1533 (shortly after Henry married Anne) at the ripe old age of 37, having born Brandon four children, including Frances Brandon, future Marquess of Dorset and mother of Lady Jane Grey. Brandon grieved by immediately marrying his 14-year-old ward, Catherine Willoughby.
2. Tullia d’Aragona – The Sun in Her Glory
Beauty and brains, what’s not to love? Tullia was alleged to have been the illegitimate daughter of Cardinal Luigi d’Aragona and his courtesan mistress, Giulia Ferrarese. Whatever her true parentage, she was raised in 16th-century Rome and given quite the Renaissance education at the expense of the cardinal who saw to it that Tullia was rigorously schooled in the arts of philosophy and letters. As the illegitimate daughter of a courtesan with a sharply honed intellect, Tullia herself became a courtesan and quickly rose to fame for both her looks and her skill with words (among other things). She lead a highly mobile lifestyle, traveling between the courts of Siena, Rome, Florence, Venice, and Ferrara, all hotbeds of intellectual activity, attracting admirers and enemies the whole way. Her fame paved the way for a later courtesan, Veronica Franco, on whose memoirs the film Dangerous Beauty is loosely based.
Tullia was known to have had a particularly fierce competition with the noblewoman Vittoria Colonna for Italian hearts and minds, and a poem by Benedetto Arrighi commemorates their opposition to one another in both rivalry and style, declaring “Vittoria is the moon, and Tullia is the sun.” Though it’s not certain that either woman met in real life, they certainly sparred with one another through poetry with Vittoria taking a more conventional approach and Tullia a more sensual attack. Obviously, Tullia wins because who doesn’t love a sexy, smart girl willing to throw down with one of the most respected noblewomen of her day? It’s intellectual cat-fight city, ideal for movies about 16th-century women, with plenty of sex thrown in to keep everyone interested between sonnets.
3. Christina of Denmark – I Regret I Have but One Head to Serve My Country
It might be hard to see it in this portrait by Holbein, but the 16-year-old widow of the Duke of Milan here, Christina, was considered one of the most beautiful — and eligible — women in Europe. After the death of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII sent his artist to Brussels to paint Christina’s portrait as part of a diplomatic mission to feel out the young duchess on the topic of becoming his next wife. Christina famously laughed at the idea with the following words, “If I had two heads, one should be at the King of England’s disposal!”
In all likelihood, she was well aware of what had become of her great-aunt Catherine of Aragon, Henry’s first wife (honestly, you had to be living under a rock in Europe at that time to not know) and astutely judged that if Henry had no problem with divorcing the aunt of the Holy Roman Emperor, declaring himself Head of the Church of England, and then executing his second wife on obviously thin legal grounds, he probably wouldn’t hesitate to get rid of her in a similar fashion if it became politically — or dynastically — expedient. Yet, Henry pursued her for two more years until Christina’s aunt, the Dowager Queen Mary of Hungary, made it patently clear that her niece was absolutely not going to accept Henry’s offer. The King of England backed off and, two years later, Christina married the soon-to-be Duke of Lorraine, who ironically had been forced back onto the marriage market when his betrothal to Anne of Cleves was broken by her acceptance of Henry VIII’s marriage offer. He, too, dies within a few years of their marriage leaving Christina once more a widow, but this time she’s regent of the Duchy of Lorraine in her young son’s name.
After France invades Lorraine in 1545, Christine is pressured to abdicate and give up her son to France as a hostage. Fleeing to the Netherlands, Christina lays low for another 10 years until she and fellow badass 16th-century lady Margaret of Parma appear in the English court, on a rumored mission to take Princess Elizabeth with them back to the mainland to be married to the Duke of Savoy. Was this going to be a willing abduction or a hostage situation? The world will never know because Christina returned to Lorraine sans one English princess and focused her energy on campaigning for the Governorship and Regent of the Netherlands, a position that her dear auntie Mary of Hungary held and which ultimately went to her ally Margaret of Parma.
Loads of political intrigue! Women in positions of power and authority! A potential kidnap plot to marry the future Elizabeth I to the warrior Duke of Savoy! Where do I sign up for this kind of movie about 16th-century women?
4. Bess of Hardwick – No Lady Better in This Land
Whoa, where do I start? Elizabeth Talbot (more famously known by her nickname Bess of Hardwick) is one of those larger-than-life characters in history, whose life and legacy was so monumental that it’s tough to really encapsulate it in one take. A striking redhead (so you know Kendra will be all over this), Bess was born around 1527 into a large well-to-do, but relatively minor gentry family in rural 16th-century Derbyshire, England. Almost anyone born into her circumstances at that time would have had it pretty good, all things considered, just living out their lives comfortably on the family lands. Maybe someone in the family would get a knighthood, or be appointed to the household of the local nobleman, but nothing on the order of magnitude of what Bess managed in her lifetime.
Through a succession of four increasingly advantageous marriages, Bess rose from daughter of a gentleman farmer to Queen Elizabeth I’s lady in waiting to the Countess of Shrewsbury, managing to establish the future Cavendish line of Devonshire dukes which is still going strong today, as well as being entrusted by Elizabeth I to oversee Mary, Queen of Scots, during her 15 year English imprisonment. Bess and Mary formed something of a friendship while the Scottish queen was under Bess and her husband George Talbots’ watch, and the textile collection of Hardwick Hall contains many embroideries and tapestries that the women worked on together.
However, being that Bess was ambitious, she increasingly ran afoul of Elizabeth as her dynastic pretensions escalated. Among other things, she found herself grandmother to a legal claimant to the Scottish and English thrones, one Arbella Stuart, and that realization lead Bess down a path that estranged her and Elizabeth I when Arbella was covertly married to another claimant, the future Duke of Somerset. Additionally, she became embroiled in a feud with her husband whom she suspected of having an affair with Mary, Queen of Scots, even going so far as to allege that Mary had born two illegitimate children fathered by the Earl of Shrewsbury during her imprisonment.
5. Marguerite de Navarre – The First Modern Woman
Nope, not the Marguerite you’re thinking of (that’s Marguerite de Valois aka Queen Margot, daughter of Henri II and Catherine de Medici). This Marguerite was the sister of François I (Marguerite de Navarre’s parents were Charles, the Count of Angoulême, and Louise of Savoy. When Charles VIII died without an heir, the throne went to his cousin, Louis XII, who also died without an heir, which is how Marguerite’s brother came to the throne). She was the grandmother of Henri IV, who would marry Marguerite de Valois/Queen Margot and become king of France.
Marguerite was given a strong classical education. After her brother became king, she married Charles IV of Alençon, remaining at court and serving as its shadow queen and intellectual leader in place of her sister-in-law, Queen Claude. She was known throughout Europe for her salon (through which she encouraged many writers and artists, including Rabelais) and her own writings. Under her leadership, the French court became a center for intellectualism and art, and debate was encouraged. She advocated reform of the Catholic church (although she was not a Calvinist). It’s quite possible that she shaped Anne Boleyn‘s education when Anne was at the French court. She wrote a collection of short stories, the Heptameron, which is considered a classic, as well as numerous works of poetry. And she participated in the intellectual debate-by-correspondence that was engaged in by all the leading thinkers of the era, exchanging letters with Erasmus, John Calvin, Vittoria Colonna, and more.
In addition to being an intellectual giant of the era, Marguerite was involved in high-level diplomacy. She negotiated the release of her brother, King François I, when he was held captive by the Hapsburg emperor. She later harbored evangelicals (including Calvin) in her chateau in the southwest of France. She also represented France in negotiations with Henry VIII’s ambassadors.
Marguerite became queen of Navarre by marrying Henri II. At that time, Navarre was an important independent kingdom in between France and Spain (it’s now located in northern Spain, right along the border and near Basque country). However, the country had been occupied by Spain, and Henri tried to retake the country. Thus, Marguerite continued to frequent the French court and participate in its intellectual life.
So, you’ve got a brilliant woman, highly placed in the French court, who hangs with (and shapes) Anne Boleyn, marries twice, becomes a queen of an occupied country, and who harbors intellectual renegades. What’s not to love?
OK, Hollywood, no more excuses, it’s time to show one of these fascinating women some screen love!
I nominate Lucrezia Borgia!
Hear here! Absolutely!
Yes! and Isabella d’Este. Quite intriguing.
Ooooo, Isabelle d’Este would be great! There’s a bunch of strong, powerful Italian women in the 16th century who’d make for good movies.
Lucrezia was at least a main character in Showtime’s The Borgias.
Late reply is late, but don’t look at the Borgias. Look at Canal +’s masterpiece of Borgia. Isolda Dychauck does a brilliant Lucrezia, as a woman in a sexist society that uses everything she has at her disposal to make her voice known in a way that’s very believable for the world of corrupt Renaissance Rome.
I remember reading about Christina in a book called Norwegian Queens and Princesses, and I absolutely loved her story, so seeing her on your list makes me really happy :D <3
I know there have been a couple movies about Mary Tudor, although I believe they may have focused on her life as Queen of France and her elopement with Charles Brandon: When Knighthood was in Flower and The Sword & the Rose. I’ve only seen the latter, and that was years and years ago, but I’m guessing neither movie has much respect for historical accuracy.
Yeah, I revisited The Sword & the Rose for an upcoming post about Henry VIII, & whoa, it’s pretty bad from a historical accuracy point of view. Right up there with The Tudors, alas.
I want to see Isabella d’Este!
Any list that doesn’t include Duchess Margaret of Parma is sadly lacking!
Eleanor of Aquitaine was a wealthy and powerful duchess married to the priest-like King of France she bedded Henry II of England. She ran off to England w Henry. France agreed to an annulment. Years later her husband Harry had her imprisoned. She survived Henry by decades and used her own wealth to ransom her son Richard the LionHearted when he was kidnapped on the way home from the crusades. King John was also her son. She ruled Aquitaine independent of her husbands.
She’s pre 16th century & she’s been on film a lot — Katherine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter was the best IMO :)
Bess of Hardwick had a whole television series devoted to her, in the Seventies.
A series about Bess of hardwick would be interesting
I donno, I don’t think Christina of Denmark would be a good movie. I think she’s a little too complicated and strategic for something that short. I think her own series is definitely in order.
I did not know of Bess of Hardwick’s series. I’m totally going to watch that now! Thanks Linziclair!
What about Eleanora of Toledo? She was important to Florentine history.
I’ve seen “The Sword and the Rose” based on the novel When Knighthood was in Flower. It’s an exceedingly romanticized telling of the courtship of Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon. But the costumes are interesting, and both Tudor siblings are properly depicted as redheaded. But what I’d really like to see is a film about the REAL Margaret Tudor: three husbands, she managed a divorce/anullment long before her brother did (the self-righteous Henry actually took her to task for it); she was regent of Scotland for her infant son after the forces of her sister-in-law defeated and killed her first husband at the battle of Flodden… And she died just short of seeing the birth and ascention to the throne of her infamous granddaughter, Mary Stuart.
I vote for Ana de Mendoza, Princess of Eboli. A famous beauty despite the fact that she lost an eye in a mock duel when she was younger, she was a big political player until she apparently was caught plotting against the king.
Per the IMDB there was a short lived Spanish TV series about La Eboli. Also she features in the Spanish movie “The Conspiracy” about Philip II’s court at the Escorial. I haven’t been able to find either of these to watch them, but I keep looking. Odd thing about “The Conspiracy” … there is no listing per the IMDB in the cast for Ana de Mendoza’s husband, the king’s favorite Ruy Gomez the first Prince of Eboli. His was quite the rag to riches tale.
I’ll have to look up the Bess Hardwick series! I’d be interested in seeing something on Dilshad Agha- she was queen of Bijapur in the 16th century, and shot Safdar Khan through the eye with an arrow when he tried to attack her citadel.
A film about Catherine Willoughby, Baroness d’Eresby suo jure (in her own right) would be fabulous too.
Her mother was Maria De Salinas and came over in Catherine of Aragon’s train when she was first married to Prince Arthur. She was one of the few Spanish ladies who were permitted to remain in Catherine (of A’s) household. Maria married William Willoughby, 11th Baron Willoughby de Eresby on 5th June 1516. She was his second wife and bore him their only child Catherine on 22 March 1519. He did not have any children from his first wife before her death sometime before 1512. Therefore, on his death in 1526, Catherine, being his sole heir, was able to inherit the Barony of Willoughby d’Eresby in her own right and become the 12th in the line. There is a female Baroness even to this day.
As a great heiress, her wardship was controlled by the Crown (Henry VIII) who sold it to his friend Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Catherine was just 7 years old when she became Baroness and the initial thought was that she would be married to any son that Charles had.
However, in 1533 when Catherine was 14, Charles, as was his right as her guardian, decided to marry her himself after the death of his previous wife Princess Mary Tudor, Dowager Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk.
Catherine was now the new Duchess of Suffolk and mother-in-law to Frances Brandon who later becomes mother of Lady Jane Grey.
Of course, it sounds terribly creepy to modern minds that a 14 year old was married to a 49 year old man, however in Tudor period she was 2 years older than the minimum age of 12. It seems the marriage was a successful one and Catherine seems to have had a very good intellect and pragmatic approach to life. She clearly had a mind of her own as we see a few years later when she become one of the leading supporters of the new “reformed” faith – going further than Henry VIII intended with his break with Rome. Its an interesting insight to Catherine – her mother being Spanish and very close to Catherine of Aragon was obviously a very devout Catholic and her daughter, named for Catherine, was now the complete opposite in religious outlook.
She had two boys – Henry Brandon, 18th September 1534 and Charles Brandon, 15th March 1535.The Duke and Duchess officially greeted Anne of Cleves when she arrived in England in 1539 and then helped to arrange a progress for the next queen Catherine Howard and Henry VIII in 1541. When Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, dies in 1545 rumours quickly arise marking Catherine as the next wife of King Henry VIII. As it happens, he marries Katherine Parr. She and Catherine Willoughby become close friends with the Duchess becoming a member of the the Queen’s household. It is about this time that the Duchess becomes very outspoken in favour of the “new learning” and is quite rude to and about people such as Bishop Stephen Gardiner. It is said she named her little spaniel “Gardiner” – the idea that she could call “Gardiner” to heel in public. Talk about feisty and tempting fate.
In 1548, Katherine Parr, now Dowager Queen and married to Thomas Seymour, Baron Sudeley (brother to Jane Seymour, 3rd Queen of Henry VIII), gave birth to a little girl and died a few days later. The little girl was Lady Mary Seymour and was entrusted to the care of Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk. She had to request financial help to ensure the child was cared for due to her status as daughter of a Queen of England. History does not say what happened to Lady Mary as she passes out of the records not long afterwards.
In 1551, Henry Brandon, 2nd Duke of Suffolk dies at University from a bout of the sweating sickness. His brother Charles, becomes the 3rd Duke but within an hour he too dies of the same sickness at the university. Within the year, trying to rebuild her life after losing her husband, close friend and Queen and now her two sons, she remarries a member of her household – for love and shared religious convictions. She is still addressed as Duchess of Suffolk. She tries to have her husband Richard Bertie (a gentleman) given the courtesy title of Lord d’Eresby but is not successful. In 1553 with the death of King Edward VI and the very Catholic Mary Tudor now reigning, life starts to take an even more uncomfortable turn…Bishop Stephen Gardiner clearly does not forget Catherine’s mocking of him and makes moves to persecute “heretics” such as Catherine and Richard Bertie. in 1555 Catherine and Richard decide it is prudent to leave England for the continent and join a number of other “Marian Exiles”.
They wander the continent for a while before being invited by the King of Poland and Duke of Lithuania to be Administrators for Lithuania. This they accept and remain there till Elizabeth Tudor takes the Throne of England.
Catherine and Richard return though Catherine finds that Elizabeth’s views on religion aren’t quite as allied to her own more extreme views and does not find herself a close confidante of the Queen. However, Catherine has two children by Richard: Peregrine Bertie (named as he was born during their peregrinations on the continent). He becomes Baron Willoughby d’Eresby on his mother’s death being the eldest child. He also marries Lady Mary De Vere, sister to Edward De Vere 17th Earl of Oxford. There is also Susan Bertie who becomes Countess of Kent.
Catherines dies om 19th September 1580 at Grimsthorpe Castle, one of her properties.
All excellent choices, but would like to add a few more:
Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond. Granddaughter of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford, mother of Henry VII. Margaret was married to Edmund Tudor at 12, mother of Henry VII at 13. Married to two other men. Pious, politically savvy, she steered her son to the throne and was his foremost counsellor. She’s my choice for the imminent gris behind the death of the Princes in the Tower.
Artemesia Gentileschi artist and only women in Vatican Museum. She might be considered more Baroque, but worthy of picture or series.
Isabella d’Este is also an interesting choice. Patron of the arts, politician – often negotiating for Gonzaga husband, Ferdinand Gonzaga Marquis of Mantua.
Yes to Eleanor of Toledo wife of Cosmo I Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Finally, Mary Queen of Scots needs a pro-Mary series or miniseries.
To be fair, there’s only one modern-ish movie I know of that focus on Anne Boleyn, and that’s Anne of the Thousand days. The other is a german(?) silent movie, Anna Boleyn.
The tudors is about Henry VIII, Wolf Hall is about Thomas Cromwell, The Other Boleyn Girl is about Mary Boleyn etc… And the characterization of Anne suffers from that, she generally ends up a cold hearted women who has her eyes on the throne from the beginning, because they want the to protagonist appear in a better light.
So I would want a miniseries that’s about Anne Boleyn, I would like to see her childhood in the netherlands and France, her teen fling with Henry Percy, her passion for the reformed faith, her close relationship with her mother, her friendship with Jane Parker, and the fact that she cried when she heard about CoA’s death.
I would love to see the miniseries focus on the women in Anne’s life, her mother, sister, sister-in-law, grandmother, her good friend Margaret Wyatt, her childhood nurse Mrs. Mary Orchard, and her daughter and step daughter.
I would love a series about Marguerite de Navarre!
I would also like to see a show/movie about:
Margaret Douglas, the niece of Henry VIII and daughter of Margaret Tudor, she kept getting into trouble because of her romantic relationships. Her son was also Lord Darnley, so she’s the grandmother of James I/VI
Margaret of Austria, she was the first female governor of the Habsburg Netherlands.
Lady Arabella Stuart, she was in the line of succession to the english throne, and therefor could not marry without the current Monarch’s consent. But she did, and both Arabella and her husband were arrested. She was able to escape her imprisonment by dressing as a man, but was recaptured, and died in the tower of London.
Mihrimah Sultan, daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent and Hürrem Sultan. She was a political advisor to both her father and brother, and served her brother in a role similar to that of Valide Sultan, since their mother was dead.
Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn both deserve movies Before Henry–the story ALWAYS starts with Henry, or at best Arthur. What is that?
Catherine de Medici
Esther Handali or Esperanza Malchi, financial agents for Hurrem Sultan and Safiya Sultan
Speaking of Safiya, she and Elizabeth had an ongoing correspondence, and how cool would THAT movie be?
Malintzin/Dona Marina, Cortes’ interpreter
Safiya Sultan? Was she the Valide Sultana?
She was! But she was from the late 16th/early 17th Century.
Oh man, so many choices. Let’s see.
-Well, for Lucrezia, Isolda Dychauk creates a brilliant version of Lucrezia, and easily my favorite portrayal. I wouldn’t mind seeing another actress portray Lucrezia in a similar spirit with her own twist that strays far from the sterotypcial and inaccurate “seductress that probably slept with her brother” (which isn’t true).
-Lucrezia’s sister-in-law, Isabella d’Este.
– Gulia Farnese, mockingly called “The Bride of Christ” in her time. Sister of a Pope and mistress of Lucrezia’s father, Rodrigo Borgia aka Pope Alexander VI.
-Caterina Sforza, the Tigress of Forli. If it wasn’t for Assassin’s Creed 2, I’d have never known about her.
-Both of Henry VIII’s sisters, Margaret and Mary
-A historically accurate portrayal of Elizabeth of York.
-Catherine of Aragon getting her own movie, historically accurate, showing her as so much more than Henry VIII’s jilted Queen (few people knew she was actually ambassador to the Tudor Court for Spain in the short years between Isabella of Spain’s death and Henry VII’s death, all the while she was coping with her father-in-law’s miserly ways, as Henry VII had refused to send Catherine back to Spain to her father King Ferdinand because he didn’t want to give up the Dowry. Henry actually contemplated marrying Catherine himself, and Catherine proceeded to bait him with marriage to her sister Joana (there’s a letter Catherine wrote to her father Ferdinand confessing that she baited Henry with this idea, I kid you not).
-More on Catherine’s older sister, Joanna of Castile (aka “Juana la Loca”). Spain has her portrayed in a really interesting light in both their tv series about her mother Isabella, and in the movie La Corona Partida. The latter covers the time between her mother’s death and her husband’s death.
-Joana’s sister-in-law Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy
-All of Joanna of Castile’s daughters.
-More about Veronica Franco.
-An honest and historically accurate portrayal about Catherine de Medici. She definitely did some awful things in her time, but I want to see her as more than just a “scheming snake” for the sake of her children.
-And Hurrem Sultan, aka Roxelana. The first slave woman in the Ottoman Empire to have a position equal to that of Queen Consort in Europe. (Haseki Sultan) She was also the first concubine to be married to an Ottoman Sultan in centuries, and sparked a string of fiercely powerful women in the Harem and the Ottoman Court that made accomplishments in their own right. The Turkish show Magnificent Century reduces Hurrem’s accomplishments to scheming and backstabbing, and it’s really sad. Seriously, Gregory would probably love the show with all of the catty behavior knocked up to 100.
-Hurrem’s successor, Nurbanu Sultan. The first Valide with a great deal of power, she was so pro-Venetian (her homeland), that the Republic of Genoa angrily declared war on the Ottoman Empire. She also corresponded regularly with Catherine de Medici when the latter was Queen Regnant. Catherine wrote to Nurbanu inquiring about a renewal of the trade alliance that Francis I and Suleiman had initiated decades prior.
-Nurbanu’s successor Safiye. I’d especially love to see more about her relationship with Queen Elizabeth I.
I would like to see a biopic about Margaret Douglas the niece of Henry VIII, who’s mother divorced Margaret’s father Archibald Douglas, and went toe to toe with Mary I and Elizabeth, and orchestrated the marriage between her son Henry Lord Darnley, and Mary Queen of Scots, now that is one badass Babe! My other 4 picks are Lady Mary Howard who married Henry’s bastard son Henry Fitzroy, Anne Askewe who was burned at the stake for being a heretic, Marie De Guise mother of Mary Queen of Scots who ruled as regent of Scotland while her daughter was in France, Grace, O’Malley, the Pirate Queen, and finally Catherine Brandon the second wife of Charles Brandon who was a protestant supporter during the tenure of Catherine Parr Henry’s last Queen!
I know this is old but can we PLEASE get a movie or series based on Giulia de Medici (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giulia_de'_Medici) or maybe Joanna of Flanders (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanna_of_Flanders)? Giulia didn’t do anything “cool”, but I still feel like the illegitimate bi-racial daughter of a bi-racial Medici duke in Medieval Italy would make for a cool series/movie, and Joanna is just…wow!