As Elizabeth looks pale and tragic, Dudley (Joseph Fiennes) wanders around with his shirt undone being generally useless and pouty. Wasn’t Dudley in the Tower of London for years for plotting to make Jane Grey the Queen instead of Mary? Mary’s husband King Phillip of Spain pops up for a nonspeaking cameo that makes him look like a Carry On character before he abandons his unloved wife. Mary has more hysterics before dying. Elizabeth is now Queen and proclaims: “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes.”
Norfolk stalks around court in his bloomers making angry faces but not actually doing anything. Elizabeth’s advisor Cecil (Richard Attenborough of ‘Jurassic Park’) nags her, the French ambassador de Foix (Eric Cantona) nags her, a priest (Daniel Craig – long before he was James Bond 007) wants to kill her and the sleazy Dudley takes her to bed to make sure that though she’s a Queen, she’s no virgin.
Up in Scotland, Mary of Guise (the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots) is a danger to Elizabeth. Someone tries to assassinate Elizabeth via a poisoned dress. Mary of Guise very conveniently dies. Elizabeth has had enough of being bossed around, kicks Cecil to the curb, proclaims “I am my father’s daughter” and creates her own personality cult.
This was thoroughly historically inaccurate and not as good as the TV series ‘The Virgin Queen’. Still it was okay and notable film and TV actors pop up everywhere: James Frain of 'The Tudors', 'True Blood' and 'The Cape', Edward Hardwicke, Emily Mortimer (of ‘Scream 3’), Geoffrey Rush, John Gielgud and even pop tart ‘singer’ Lily Allen has a brief role as one of Elizabeth’s Ladies In Waiting.
“She was born a bastard! She will never rule England!”
“That whore your mother. My father never did anything so well as to cut off her head.”
“My sister is not yet dead, her bed is still warm.”
“His Majesty finds it already cold.”
“I am Norfolk.”
“You were Norfolk, the dead have no titles.”
“I am married. To England.”