Versailles anyone? Based on life in the French Court during Louis XIV’s reign and his strategy for strengthening his hold on the country by the moving of political stronghold from Paris to the then tiny village of Versailles.
The show’s luscious production reportedly cost 20 million, was partly shot in shot in the staterooms, bedrooms and gardens of the real Versailles and is accompanied by a very cool but if i’m honest slightly pigeonholed electro pop soundtrack. Despite this and only two episodes in the jury is still out on whether I can live without watching episode three – I think this one may be a slow steady burner.
On the other hand the character development is impressive. King Louis XVI “The Sun King” (who came into power at the age of 4) is actually more likeable than the usual TV monarch and seems fair and strong. Last night he challenged all the nobles at a dramatic dinner as to their authenticity and loyalty – making a healthy cull of hangers on (risky!). I also sort of like it that Louis isn’t overly fanciable – he has a delicate beauty – but the casting choices keep it real.
I love the character of Philippe – Louis’ younger brother – they have a loyal but complex relationship – flamboyant and gay Philippe has been married off to one of Louis’ mistresses. It seems to me that Philippe may be transexual and proud – he is beautiful as well as strong – yearning to command the French army and quite rightly pulverised a sniggering courtier who dares to smirk at his attire. Or maybe Philippe isn’t gay, or transexual – he just is. The show’s historically accurate open attitude to sexuality in the French Court is a common and beautiful thread throughout the show.
The Queen Maria Theresa of Spain also just gave birth to what we all thought was King Louis’ child but on arrival, quite obviously was the result of an affair with her black male Dwarf companion. Also accurate.
You just couldn’t write it…history I mean. So maybe I think I can’t live without watching the next episode…
The show is also followed by ‘Inside Versailles’ a short discussion from historians that takes a closer look at the history behind each episode.
Author: Rohini Wahi
Rohini is a London based freelance journalist and trend forecaster for the design industries. She has worked for Elle Decoration, Living Etc, Houzz and Design Sponge amongst others.
She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home. Launched in 2007 The Beat That My Heart Skipped focuses on home inspirations, design trends, lifestyle and food – coupled with an insight into Rohini’s work and home life – from key picks at trade shows to styled weekend soirees. To contact Rohini for queries, work for hire or just to say hi drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org