become Elizabeth is the new historical drama about Starz that fans of The crown, the Spanish princess and Versailles won’t want to miss it.
Airing every Sunday on Starz, the eight-part series explores the formative years of Queen Elizabeth I (played by Alicia von Rittberg) and her two half-siblings, the future King and Queen of England and Ireland, Edward VI (Oliver Zetterström) and Mary I (Romola Garai) respectively.
After their father, Henry VIII, died and nine-year-old King Edward VI took the throne, they were effectively orphaned and became embroiled not only in court politics, but also religion and romance.
So, is become Elizabeth based on historical facts?
news week spoke to the cast and creator Anya Reiss to find out more.
Is become Elizabeth Based on historical fact?
become Elizabeth is based on historical fact, but there are inevitably elements of fiction for dramatic purposes.
Of course, much of the dialogue is imagined and some events are exaggerated or omitted from the story, but overall it’s fair to say become Elizabeth is based on historical facts.
Speak with Newsweek, be Elizabeth creator Anya Reiss, shared that she poured countless letters, speeches, and historical documents to create the show and worked with a historical consultant in the writer’s room to become Elizabeth.
Reiss said she was inspired to tell the story of a young Elizabeth I after first hearing it, and realized she knew nothing about Elizabeth’s younger years.
She said news week: “I was so surprised that I didn’t know. I found it really exciting to tell the story a little bit backwards where you know what’s happening down the line and you can explore the motivations and bits of it and what makes the person .”
Most importantly, the people at the center of the story are real historical figures.
Elizabeth I, King Edward VI and Queen Mary I were all children of King Henry VIII and they would all eventually ascend the English throne.
King Edward VI, the son of Henry VIII and his third wife Jayne Seymour succeeded his father at the age of 9 on January 28, 1547. His reign was short-lived, however, as he died at the age of 15 on July 6, 1553.
Mary I, Henry VIII’s only child by his first wife Catherine of Aragon, then reigned from July 1553 to her death in 1558.
Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn succeeded Mary I and ruled England and Ireland from November 1558 until her death in March 1603.
Alice von Rittberg, who plays Queen Elizabeth I, talked about what Elizabeth’s relationship with her two half-siblings might be like, as the history books will tell they didn’t always agree.
King Edward VI was a devout Protestant and the first British monarch to be born under Protestant rule. His father, Henry VIII, was responsible for the Protestant Reformation, which saw the Church of England break away from the Roman Catholic Church.
On the other hand, Mary I was a devout Catholic, and her half-brother, King Edward VI, had her removed from the line of succession. When he died in 1553, Lady Jane Gray (Bella Ramsey) reigned as Queen of England for nine days, before Mary successfully removed her.
Queen Elizabeth I was also a Protestant and the last member of the Tudors to rule England and Ireland. She saw to it that the Protestant Reformation was restored.
In become Elizabeth on Starz, viewers get an insight into what their relationship may have been like behind closed doors.
She said: “We really enjoyed how you never forget that they actually kind of grew up together, and that as hard as it is, and later on, they have so much in common because they grew up together, they were still family, so there is always love and you take that as a basis, no matter how hard it gets, how much love-hate there is later, how much betrayal and deceit.
“There’s always this phase of the family, and I think to allow that, instead of going with ‘she’s the hero and she’s the villain, and he was tough’, go with all the beauty of the family something I think is very, very special about this project.”
To prepare for the role of Elizabeth I, Rittberg worked on her accent with a dialect coach, dyed her real hair, learned calligraphy, and danced the Voltaire, Elizabeth I’s favorite dance.
Romola Garai, who played Queen Mary I, read biographies and “devoured” the scripts to learn all about Mary I.
She added: “I mean I think I was like a lot of people like me [the show is about] “The Tudors?” We know a lot about the Tudors, but I was amazed. I mean, I would read anything Anya [Reiss, creator] wrote, she is such a unique talent and such an incredibly interesting writer.
“To have a historical piece like this written by such an incredible young woman who is so much closer in age to Elizabeth herself and therefore so much closer to her predicament, it is not hard to imagine what it was like for a 15 year old woman to go through these things It immediately changed all the dynamics in the shows and the way she understands the relationships is completely new and unique and that was very clear in the writing.
“When I started reading the scripts, I realized that [it was] Especially Mary of whom I actually knew nothing at all, [an] incredibly interesting woman and was an absolute joy to play and I literally you know, was kind of racing through the scripts.”
Garai also revealed that she knew very little about Mary I until she read the scripts, and she wasn’t surprised that there is quite a backstory that people might not know, especially her relationship with her father.
Garai said: “I didn’t know much about her. I think that’s probably the case for a lot of people. While we’re very familiar with the Tudors, I think she’s usually barred from dramatic interpretations, but that’s because she’s largely ignored by the history books.
“And that’s no coincidence, because her government’s great project of restoring Catholicism meant that Protestant historians clearly wrote her off as a very weak queen or a very violent queen. She was never really nice or thought much about it.” , but she was an incredibly interesting woman and her story is really rich.”
In become Elizabeth, it is also suggested that Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour (Tom Cullen) started a romantic relationship, but this has never been proven.
episodes of become Elizabeth airs every Sunday on Starz, so the good news is there’s a lot of history for fans to sink their teeth into.
become Elizabeth airs Sundays on Starz at 9 p.m. ET.