'Mary Queen of Scots': Women in Tudor Britain

As I am currently on the Constructing Empires Constellation Course, I was particularly excited to see two historical movies, Mary Queen of Scots and The Favourite, to see how historical female monarchs asserted their power.


The former film depicts the complex history of Mary's life, from her return to Scotland in 1561 to her beheading in 1587. From beginning to end, the two leading women are shown in similar scenarios to show their similar position as monarchs.

Mary Queen of Scots, Film Poster, 2019 (Image: IMDb)

Elizabeth is presented as being obsessed with image. More than once she is shown looking through glass windows, and when glancing at the portrait of her cousin, it is held up against mirrors in which she compares herself to hers. Whilst Elizabeth remarks on her beauty and feels insecure, Mary is presented as an individual who only wants to unite and share rule with her family member. One scene that will not leave me is whilst Elizabeth has the pox, she covers herself in a veil. When running to Lord Dudley, who is amongst other men, her maids are found screaming at the other men to turn away so they may not look at the Queen. Whilst she shows her face free of makeup to her councillors, when she meets Mary for the first time she is heavily made up, showing her insecurity.