Monday, November 11, 2013

Historical Romance in #Reign - Kathryn Knight

After Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance is my favorite genre--to read and to watch (I've yet to try writing it--hopefully someday!).  So for me, Thursday night television has become even better this fall, with an old favorite The Vampire Diaries followed by the new show Reign on the CW. 

I love to find out some of the actual background of these characters based on historical figures, so I did a little research.  I'll share only the facts I learned that don't possibly spoil the plot of the show!  I've also included a few fun facts about the three main characters: Mary, Francis, and Sebastian (Bash), as well as the actors who portray them.

Francis, Mary, and Bash on the new hit show Reign on CW

Mary Stuart was born December 8, 1542, at Linlithgow Palace in Scotland to James V, King of Scots, and Mary of Guise, his French second wife.  She was the only legitimate child of James to survive him.  Six days after her birth, James died, and Mary acceded to the throne as the Queen of Scots.  As Mary was an infant, Scotland was ruled by regents until she became an adult. 

King Henry VIII of England attempted to take advantage of this situation by arranging a marriage between Mary and his son Edward when Mary was six months old.  The marriage treaty was later rejected, and the French King, Henry II, proposed to unite Scotland and France with a marriage between Mary and the Dauphin Francis. 

With this marriage contract in place, five-year-old Mary spent the next 13 years at French Court.  She was beautiful and charming, and became a favorite of many at court, with the exception of Catherine de' Medici, King Henry's wife.

A Portrait of Francis and Mary

Reign is set in the French Court in 1557.  In the show, 15-year-old Mary of Scots is played by Adelaide Kane, who is a 23-year-old actress originally from Australia.

Toby Regbo plays the Dauphin (Heir Apparent) of France, Francis II.  In 1557, Francis would have been 13 years old.  Toby is a 22-year-old actor born in London, England.    History states that the actual Francis II was abnormally short and suffered from a stutter--the show's Francis, portrayed by Toby, is a very different character.  Fun facts about actor Toby Regbo:  the surname Regbo was made up by an ancestor to replace the more common last name Hanson; Toby is related to all of the twenty or so Regbos in the world.  Toby also starred as a young Albus Dumbledore in one of the Harry Potter films.

Torrance Coombs, age 30, plays the other heartthrob on the show--the illegitimate son of King Henry, Sebastian (or "Bash").  As far as I can tell, Bash is a purely fictional character, although the relationship between Henry and his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who is Bash's mother in the show, was very real.  It is believed that Diane became Henry's mistress when she was 35 and he was 16, and despite Henry's marriage, Diane would remain his lifelong companion and as such, the most powerful woman in France.

In the show, there is also a ghostly woman named Clarissa who haunts the passageways (I can't wait to find out more about her--as you can tell from my books, I do love ghosts!) and helps Mary.  Nostradamus also has a prominent role, and this French apothecary and seer was in fact greatly admired by Catherine.  She read his almanacs in 1555, and summoned him to Paris to explain what sounded like dire predictions for the royal family.  She had him draw up horoscopes for her children and appointed him to prominent positions.

So...any other facts about life at French court might give away the future plot of Reign, and I can't wait to see where they go with the story.  I already love the characters.  I have a strong "love triangle" feeling for the future--so here's your chance for predictions!  Who would you chose for Mary?  Who will she end up with?  Chime in! 

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