10 Historical Royals Who Need Their Own Movies
‘Lincoln‘ is great and all, but does his movie have beheadings? These following 10 royals had fascinating histories and even though some met tragic ends, their stories would make for a great movie! From ancient Egypt to the War of the Roses, we’d love to see faithful movie adaptations that would bring these royal personages back to life.
While Egyptologists are still debating over who his parents were, Tutankhamun’s life is worthy of a Hollywood movie. He is the undisputed son of a King, although we don’t know if that means Amenhotep III, Ankhenaten the Heretic Pharaoh, or the elusive Smenkhare.
He was also a boy-king, which would heighten the drama especially given the fact it’s likely he perished at the age of 19 from a fall from his chariot and a nasty bout of malaria that set in while his royal physicians attempted to heal his leg. Tutankhamun was also deeply in love with his wife (and half-sister!!!!) Ankhesenamun, but their marriage only produced stillborn daughters, so there’s all kinds of weird ‘Flowers in the Attic’ potential here.
Odette de Champdivers
Odette de Champdivers was known as “the Little Queen” and was the mistress of Charles VI in 15th century France.
Basically, Charles VI (AKA Charles the Mad) was totally crackers and beat his wife, Queen Isabeau. So she had Odette de Champdivers wear her clothes and sleep with her husband in her place. Either he was so nuts he didn’t notice, or else he just didn’t care, because this went on for fifteen years. Her name was reportedly the king’s final words.
After Charles VI’s death, Odette lost her royal pension, and she and the child she had with the sovereign were reduced to poverty.
Still, she managed to prevent a massacre of Charles VII’s followers. Eventually she was brought to trial for this, and successfully defended herself and her daughter. Despite her assistance, historians assume she died in great poverty.
Come on, this has got movie written all over it! Also, bonus extra-sad — a breed of rose is named after her.
This Roman Emperor was put into power when he was 14 thanks to a revolt staged by his grandmother. Then things got weird.
Elagabalus first set about changing the head of the Roman pantheon with the deity he was high priest of, Elagabul. But in order to make himself high priest he had to get a circumcision. At age 14. He also ripped out all of his own hair and would put on a wig and dress and prostituted himself at bars and in the imperial palace.
On a lighter note, he would sometimes prank dinner guests with a prototypical whoopee cushion. On a less lighter note, legend states that he also set a bunch of tigers loose on his dinner guests.
Eventually his grandmother decided he was out of control, and led a revolt against him, which ended with both him and his mother being beheaded. His body was dragged through the streets and tossed in the river.
But most importanly, an ancient whoopee cushion, you guys.
Cleopatra Selene II
The only surviving child of Cleopatra VII and Marc Antony was viciously ripped from her home in Alexandria, Egypt, along with her twin brother Alexander Helios and her youngest brother, Ptolemy Philadelphus. They were taken back to Rome, where the victorious Octavian (later known as Augustus Caesar) forced the three children to march through the street in gold chains. They were raised by his sister, and Cleopatra was eventually married to an African king, Juba II of Numidia.
Her life would make a fascinating movie because Cleopatra was the power behind the Mauretanian throne and helped her kingdom flourish. She even minted coins that said “Queen Cleopatra” in greek. IN YOUR FACE, Octavian. BOOM!
The Queen of the British Iceni tribe definitely needs her own movie. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t watch a flick about a powerful warrior Queen who rebelled against the Romans? She was known to be highly intelligent and dabbled in the arts of divination; one account says that she invoked the Goddess Andraste before the British uprising against their Roman oppressors.
Boudicca also had a personal reason to get revenge against Rome: she was flogged and her daughters were raped. She wasn’t just a cardboard cutout female warrior a la Kiera Knightly in ‘King Arthur’ though. Tacitus claims that Boudicca presented herself as an ordinary woman who wanted vengeance for her battered body and the horrific rape of her daughters. While no one knows if she committed suicide or merely perished due to sickness, Boudicca’s legacy would shine brightly in a Hollywood movie.
Long considered by Egyptologists as one of the country’s most successful Pharaohs, Hatshepsut became one of the first female Pharaohs after the death of her husband, Thuthmoses II. At first she reigned as regent for her stepson Thutmoses III but quickly assumed power in her own right. Although Hatshepsut was a woman, custom dictated that the King be male and so she donned the traditional false beard and crown of the Pharaohs.
Hatshepshut ruled for 21 years and her life was full of high drama: rumors abound that she was having a relationship with her chief steward and architect Senenmut and yet her reign was largely peaceful and was marked by a period of extensive building projects such as the Precinct of Mut. If Hollywood wants to create a movie about a strong Queen then they should look no further than the life story of Pharaoh Hatshepsut.
Marguerite Louise d’Orléans
This firecracker was forced into marriage with Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici. She never really got over being taken from her lover, and basically made Cosimo’s life a living hell.
She had a wicked temper and was verbally abusive to her husband and the entire court. She tormented him endlessly, and, after giving him three children, wrangled a pension out of him and an agreement that she could return to France. There she lived in a convent that she was not supposed to leave, but she actually maintained a pretty active social life, in part because she loved taunting her husband so much. She had several affairs, and it is believed that some of her children were perhaps not Cosimo’s.
She was also involved in many scandals, including an attempt to burn down the convent. She wore bright yellow wigs and participated in high stakes gambling. When an Abbess complained about her, she threatened to kill her with a pistol and a hatchet.
After that, she was transferred to a different convent, and she underwent a spiritual transformation of sorts. She began donating to charity and reformed her convent. When she died at the age of 76, she was buried in Paris, where she had spent her final years.
This Ptolemaic Princess was the ancestress to both Cleopatra VII and her daughter, Cleopatra II and it is believed that her rise to power after marrying her brother Ptolemy Philadelphus II inspired the later queens of her dynasty.
Her story starts off on a depressing note: she was married off to the Macedonian king at the age of 15 but she quickly learned the ways of court politics. She had her son’s rival poisoned on a treason charge and would eventually plot against her half-brother Ptolemy Keraunos.
It was only after marrying her brother Ptolemy Philadelphus II of Egypt that Arsinoe II gained the most power. She competed in Olympic events, fought in battles, and had her own cult. The forerunner of Cleopatra VII and Cleopatra Selene II, Hollywood script writers would adore the scandal, tragedy and scheming that was found in this era of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
The father of the famous Henry VIII would make a great movie character, especially because he had to fight for his throne during the War of the Roses. The last Lancaster heir made a play for the English throne after being betrothed to the late King Edward IV’s daughter Elizabeth of York and seeing how unstable Richard III’s reign was.
With the help of the Lancastrian supporters and the Woodvilles, Henry VII met Richard III in battle on the field of Bosworth and killed him. Although he won the throne, his rule was unsteady: Henry VII was paranoid about those with a stronger royal claim trying to usurp the Tudor dynasty and it’s speculated that this fear is why his son Henry VIII was so obsessed with having a male heir.
Henry VII’s story has it all: rebellions, plots, battles, and romance. Plus it’s like a prequel to ‘The Tudors.’ Hollywood loooves prequels.
Aimée du Buc de Rivéry
Aimée du Buc de Rivéry was a French heiress and cousin of the Empress Josephine. In 1788 at the age of 11, the ship she was sailing back to France in from school in Martinique vanished. Here’s where the story gets interesting (and maybe untrue).
Legend has it that the ship was taken over by Barbary pirates, who kidnapped du Buc de Rivéry. She was enslaved and ultimately given to the Ottoman Sultan as a gift. She took the name Nakshedil and became a Queen Mother of the Ottoman Empire.
She taught the Sultan French and convinced him to send an ambassador from Constantinople to Paris. When assassins came for him and their son, she allegedly saved her son’s life by hiding him in a furnace.
Pirates? Human trafficking? A white lady “civilizing” a “barbaric” ruler. This thing pretty much writes itself