Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Royal Affair 2012

A Royal Affair is a fabulous dramatization of a true story about Caroline Mathilde, a younger sister of  King George III of England who was wed to the unstable King Christian of Denmark at the ages of 15 and 17 respectively. If this sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, then you know where this story is headed.

The young Queen quickly finds out that she has married a bit of a whack-job, but endears herself to Denmark by quickly providing a royal heir.

Her loony King Christian then announces that he is leaving for an extended tour of Europe, to which she replies the Danish equivalent of "So? What do I care?". Oh, did I forget to mention that this film is in Danish with English subtitles? They would actually have been speaking German in the Danish Court of the time, but it's a Danish film so let's not quibble about that.

Christian brings back a certain German Dr. Johann Struensee with him from his Grand Tour, who as well as befriending and acting as a calming influence on the young King, brings some radical notions to Denmark like smallpox vaccination, freedom for serfs and the abolition of torture. He is able to use the King's power to drag Denmark into the "modern era" of The Enlightenment. This film takes place around the time of the American and French Revolutions to give some context.

Dr. Struensee finds a kindred spirit for his progressive ideas in the young Queen and, well, let's just say that the history books seem to agree that her second child, a daughter, was fathered by the good doctor!

I really enjoyed this film. It doesn't have a happy ending, it is filmed almost entirely in Danish with English subtitles and is a full 2 hours long. However I was riveted for the full 2 hours. The Squire (my husband) got a little antsy near the end and made a comment about how he kept expecting blood to drip from the corner of Struensee's eye (Mads Mikkelsen was the fabulous villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royal). Mikkelsen is verrrry attractive as the thinking woman's sex symbol of the 18th century in this film. He keeps repeatedly being voted Sexiest Man in Denmark, to which he replied "I'd rather be voted 'the sexiest man in Denmark' than 'the ugliest man in Denmark'." Hear, hear!

Anyway, if you enjoy a gorgeous, slow political romance then this is your film. Just make sure you see it with someone who is also into that kind of film. The Squire was OK with this one but only just! :)

P.S. This film is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars tonight. I will be rooting for it to win!


  1. YEAH an american who writes about little Denmarks wonderful new history movie! Thanks for the positive things you have said about it! Well the movie didn't get an oscar this time but next time I hope it will but the important thing was that it was up for nomination!
    It was a good movie! Thank you for writng so many pleasant things about our little country and our new movie!
    And you are quite right, Mads Mikkelsen is one of the hottest men in Denmark!

    1. Hello Sophia-Elizabeth. I have to tell you I am Canadian, but I think all of my American friends (and the rest of the world!) will love your little Danish film. It is beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted and a fascinating true story.

      It made me want to look up your modern Royal Family. Queen Margrethe seems like an amazing woman. She went to Cambridge, The Sorbonne and the London School of Economics! And she speaks 5 languages fluently. What a wonderful role model.

      I hope to visit Denmark someday. Maybe soon. :)

  2. Hi Jenny,

    The themes in this movie are similar to those in "The Dutchess." It does not seem like it was much fun to be female royalty back then. Thanks for the suggestion.

    1. Hi Olga. I agree, the Princess/Queen thing has always been misrepresented to young girls I think. And if poor Kate Middleton is any indication, it might not be too much fun to be a Duchess even now! Makes for good viewing however. I still loved this one despite the fate of the main characters!




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