The Royal Diaries: Elizabeth I – Red Rose of the House of Tudor
November 4, 2000
HBO and Scholastic (an odd partnership if there ever was one) partnered up to create three ½ hour episodes based on the popular Royal Diaries series. This was the second episode in the series. This episode is based on the book Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor.
If you have read the books, you know they are written as diaries – the episodes are set up the same way. Elizabeth is narrating the story and there are segments where she is shown writing in her diary. I thought this was one good way of tying the book to the episode. I did read the original book the episode is based on but it was so long ago I don’t know how closely they stayed to it. I do intend to reread the series at some point.
We get to see how Elizabeth deals with trying to live outside of the shadow of Anne Boleyn. We also get to see her opinion on the many wives of Henry VIII. She goes through the age old, “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived” song, but it was so funny. The relationship between her and Princess Mary is super antagonistic. The episode certainly makes it out that Mary = bad and Elizabeth = good. And of course there is a young Robin Dudley following Elizabeth around like a lost puppy.
This would be a fun show for kids to watch. This episode features the youngest cast, the characters are right around 10 years old. The history is not at too high of a level for young adults to grasp and there are funny, kid focused events too – like searching for the ghost of Katherine Howard.
As this is only a half hour episode, a very limited story is shown – primarily the events right before the death of Henry and the attempt to have Katherine Parr done in. There is a voiceover at the end that tells what happened to Mary, Elizabeth, Edward and Katherine Parr. I thought the acting was good, the scenery was well done and would certainly pass for a child – hard core history enthusiasts might find many faults but as an introductory tool I think it was well done.
You can watch the entire episode on Youtube, which I have linked below for your viewing pleasure.
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