27 November 2016

Chenonceau Castle, France

The tragic life of the Scottish Queen Mary Stuart (1542-1587) is the centre of the film MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS from 1971. The story is historically not always correct, for example the two encounters between Mary (Vanessa Redgrave) and the English Queen Elizabeth I (Glenda Jackson) never happened.
Mary, Queen of Scots, 1:47:26
Mary did however spent her youth in France, partially due to the fact that six days after she was born she had become Queen of Scotland by heritage. Because of the tensions between the Catholics and the Protestants in Scotland her life was endangered. At age five she was sent to France and grew up at the French court. It was agreed that she would marry the Dauphin Francis (Richard Denning), the French heir to the throne.
They were married in 1558 but their marriage ended after two years when Francis died from an ear infecion, shortly after he and Mary had become King Francis II and Queen Mary of France. At age 18 Mary was a widow and returned to Scotland. The first four minutes of the movie show that Mary and Francis were a happy couple, although they look older than they were in real life.
Chenonceau Castle, 3 August 2016
In the early hours of the morning Mary and Francis walk outside of the Chenonceau Castle, located in the Loire Valley. The original castle dates back from 1432 and was altered and expanded several times. In 1535 it became property of the royal family. Catherina de’ Medici, mother of Francis II, organised a fireworks display at the castle in 1559 to celebrate the ascension of her son to the throne and one year later Mary and Francis were married at the château.
The gracious castle is situated in the river Cher. The film first shows the main residence with its many towers, built between 1513 and 1521 on the remains of a fortified mill and manor. Mary and Francis leave the main entrance, cross the bridge and walk towards the courtyard, enclosed by a moat.

Mary, Queen of Scots, 0:02:14
Chenonceau Castle, 3 August 2016
Mary, Queen of Scots, 0:02:27
Chenonceau Castle, 3 August 2016
Mary, Queen of Scots, 0:02:31
Chenonceau Castle, 3 August 2016

At the courtyard they pass the tower of Marques, built in 1230 as part of the mill and manor of the Marques family. In 1499 it was sold due to financial difficulties and all buildings were demolished with the exception of the tower.

Mary, Queen of Scots, 0:02:33
Chenonceau Castle, 3 August 2016
Mary, Queen of Scots, 0:02:58
Chenonceau Castle, 3 August 2016

Daine de Poitiers, mistress of King Henri II, was offered the castle as a gift by the king. She commissioned to build the arched bridge on the other side of the castle in 1566. After the king had died in 1559 she was forced to move to a much smaller castle, the Château de Chaumont, by the king’s widow, Catherina de’ Medici. She had the geometric gardens added in 1568 and between 1570 and 1576 she ordered the bridge to be turned into a Italian style grand gallery. Francis had died ten years prior to these extensions, but in the movie he is seen with both the gallery and the gardens.

Mary, Queen of Scots, 0:03:12
Chenonceau Castle, 3 August 2016
Mary, Queen of Scots, 0:03:30
Chenonceau Castle, 3 August 2016

When the king dies, the castle is seen at night. In reality he died in Orléans.
Today, Chenonceau is a museum where the history of the illustrious castle and its residents is being told. Since 1913 it is property of the Menier family, famous for Chocolat Menier, currently Nestlé.

Mary, Queen of Scots, 0:09:53
Chenonceau Castle, 3 August 2016

Screenshots © Universal