The first was Sofia Coppola’s Marie-Antoinette, a 2006 portrayal of the French Queen’s lavish but brief existence, complete with a punk soundtrack and plenty of macaroons. Now, The Favourite author Deborah Davis has created an eight-part drama series based on King Louis XVI’s ill-fated wife, putting a ‘female slant’ on the monarch’s history.
According to Variety, the new series “tells the story of the very contemporary and Avant-Garde young queen” who “impressed with her charm” and became a “fashion icon.” Emilia Schüle, a German actress, will play Queen Elizabeth II alongside British actor Louis Cunningham, who will play Louis XVI.
Cunningham is from a royal family, just like his fictional counterpart. The 24-year-old is the grandson of the late Prince Charles of Luxembourg, and he spent his childhood at his mother’s palace until the German invasion during WWII. Last year, the young actor, who had graduated from Oxford, made his Bridgerton debut as Lord Corning.
The play will tell the narrative of Marie Antoinette, who married the Dauphin of France at 14 and became Queen of France before her 20th birthday. It will reimagine her attempts to navigate the Court of France, as well as the trauma she faced to have a successor to continue the Bourbon line; her first child with Louis XVI famously arrived eight years after their wedding, leading to negative speculation about their relationship both within the court and among the public.
The series is likely to be a lavish depiction of 18th-century court life, given Marie Antoinette’s proclivity for overindulgence and high-octane splendor. The first stills for the series, shot in the Palace of Versailles and the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, depict the richly dressed courtiers against the backdrop of gold-encrusted interiors.
Marie Antoinette, an Austrian noblewoman, was married off to Louis-Auguste, the future King of France, while she was still a child. She was brought there with only one aim in mind: to deliver an heir. However, nothing went as planned. For seven years, her husband refused to touch her, and Marie-rebellious Antoinette’s tendencies created havoc on the royal household. She alienated Madame du Barry (Gaia Weiss), the favorite of French King Louis XV (James Purefoy), and collapsed the court’s unusual traditions.
The narrative will center on Marie Antoinette’s struggles to negotiate with the French court, as well as the enormous pressure she faced to produce a son who would perpetuate the Bourbon dynasty. Her first child with Louis XVI was born eight years after their wedding, sparking widespread public skepticism about the pair. Naturally, the princess endured the blame for their infertility. However, historians now believe that Louis XVI refused to touch his bride until seven years into their marriage. Definitely fewer hands-on?
Louis XV (James Purefoy), her father-in-law, whose attempts to welcome Marie Antoinette into the family took an odd turn when he allegedly sought to sleep with her – one of many traumas she purportedly faced during her early years in France.
The series will also examine Louis XV’s connection with Madame du Barry, a courtesan born into poverty who rose through the ranks to become the King’s maîtresse-en-titre, only to be expelled from the court upon Louis XVI’s succession. Du Barry was eventually killed for treason during the Revolution.
About The Series Marie-Antoinette
The series was created by Davis in collaboration with Louise Ironside (“The Split”), Avril E. Russell (“All on a Summer’s Day”), and Chlo Moss (“Run Sister Run”). Pete Travis (“Bloodlands”) and Geoffrey Enthoven (“Children of Love”) direct the series.
“From the first scene until the credits roll, this wonderfully painted period drama about the exceptional young queen will enthrall PBS audiences,” said Germaine Sweet, managing director of content Acquisitions for PBS Distribution.
“Marie Antoinette” is produced by Capa Drama’s Claude Chelli and Margaux Balsan, Banijay Studios France’s Stéphanie Chartreux, and Les Gens’ Christophe Toulemonde. Many notable historical locations were used for filming, including Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Lésigny, Champs, Voisins, and the Bry-sur-Marne studios.
When Will Marie-Antoinette Episodes 1 & 2 Be released?
The drama will debut on BBC Two in the UK later this year or early in 2023, with Canal+ releasing it in France within a month. Meanwhile, pay a visit to Marie Antoinette’s recently refurbished rooms.
On October 31st, 2022, Marie Antoinette will premiere on the French network Canal+. In July 2022, it was revealed that the series would be syndicated by BBC First in Australia and would air on Foxtel and Binge streaming services. Banijay announced in October 2022 that PBS had pre-purchased the series for a Spring 2023 release. The release date for the United Kingdom, Australia, and other overseas markets is yet to be determined.