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The not-so-Virgin Queen


Fiennes as Dudley

Joseph Fiennes plays alleged paramour Lord Robert Dudley

Weir's The Life of Elizabeth I

Now about that young swain: Let's just say the film leaves little doubt that Elizabeth was the Virgin Queen in name only. Indeed, the film's soft-focus sex scenes have Weir incensed.

"While I have nothing against sex, there is absolutely no evidence of a physical relationship between Robert Dudley and Elizabeth!" she reports. "The queen would have been outraged to see herself in bed with Dudley. She would have been scandalized by it."

In fact, Weir's book —as do others— even goes so far as to say that, despite being a incorrigible flirt, the queen maintained a status of sexual purity.

The historian, whose previous works include The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The Children of Henry VIII, also points out that the sexual orientations of two characters are portrayed inaccurately. The film hints that Sir Francis Walsingham, the queen's Machiavellian master of spies and loyal counselman, had affairs with young boys. "He was a strict Puritan who doted on his family," she says.

Likewise, the film also portrays the Duc d'Anjou, a French suitor who arrives in England to court the queen, as a man who prefers, er, petticoats to pantaloons. Weir says the filmmakers have the wrong duke. "There were two Dukes of Anjou and the one who Elizabeth met was robustly heterosexual. She never met the other [who was bisexual], though he did propose to her."




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