The Royal Collection (Shakespeare, Boleyn Girl, Elizabeth, Golden Age)
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Collection of four films set in and around royal Tudor courts.
In 'Elizabeth' (1998), it's 1554, and England is ruled by the fervently Catholic Queen Mary (Kathy Burke), whose persecution of Protestants extends to even her own half-sister, Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett). When Mary dies, Elizabeth succeeds to the throne, but finds her country under threat from the Scots, French and Spanish. Although conducting an affair with Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester (Joseph Fiennes), Elizabeth is urged by her advisors to wed and produce an heir. Meanwhile, plots against her are being hatched by the Catholic bishops, and Elizabeth soon becomes the target of an assassination attempt.
In 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age' (2007), Blanchett reprises her role as the 'Virgin Queen'. This time round Elizabeth has to contend with the rising power of Spain, as Philip II (Jordi Molla) readies an armada for invasion, intent on returning England to Catholic influence. While her trusty servant, Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush), works tirelessly to protect her from numerous plots, Elizabeth discovers she has a potential weakness in her fondness for Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen).
'The Other Boleyn Girl' (2008) is a fictionalised account of the life of Mary Boleyn (Scarlett Johansson) who was mistress to King Henry VIII (Eric Bana) before he married her sister, Anne (Natalie Portman). Set during one of the most dramatic periods in British regal history, the narrative focuses on the relationship and rivalry between the two Boleyn girls and the power game being played by their family in which the sisters are mere pawns. When Mary is ousted in favour of Anne, she leaves the King's Court to marry a commoner, but is compelled to return when her sister embarks on a reckless plan to try and save herself from ruin.
In 'Shakespeare in Love' (1998) Joseph Fiennes plays Will Shakespeare, a 16th Century London playwright suffering from writer's block. Rose Theatre owner Philip Henslowe (Geoffrey Rush) is desperate that Will's new play, tentatively entitled 'Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter', be finished, while a new cast member, Thomas Kent, is equally eager to make his stage debut in the role of Romeo. Unbeknown to Will, Kent has a secret - 'he' is actually Viola De Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow), a merchant's daughter and the fiancÃ© of Lord Wessex (Colin Firth). Viola has adopted her disguise in order to enter a trade forbidden to women, but matters become complicated when Will falls for her in her more conventional garb. It may take the intervention of Queen Elizabeth (Judi Dench) herself to make sure the course of true love runs smoothly and that the show goes on.