Thursday 18h May, 2006

2 PM Ė First Court, St. Johnís College, Cambridge. Johnís was founded by Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII (and so Elizabethís great grandmother) on the site of the mediaeval hospital of St. John. The first court in Johnís was largely built between 1511 and 1520 and so makes a perfect setting for one of the great fabled scenes from Elizabethís reign.

This is where the Queen and Raleigh first meet in the famous incident of the cloak. The legend has it that Raleigh first caught the Queenís attention by taking off his cloak and placing it over a muddy puddle in the road for the Queen to walk on Ė hence preventing the royal feet from getting dirty.
Is the story true? Well, it isnít recorded in any contemporary document and the earliest reference to it I know is Thomas Fullerís in 1663. But it certainly the sort of thing Raleigh might have done and just the sort of showmanship that the Queen liked. As such it helped to explain both in Fullerís day and now, how a relatively obscure west country sailor began his meteoric rise to become Elizabethís favourite.
We have decided to use the scene, partly because it is so iconic and partly because it still, all these centuries later, provides a wonderful way to first bring Raleigh and the Queen together. It also provides the setting for a more sinister move.

15 thoughts on “Thursday 18h May, 2006

  1. Dear Shekhar/Justin-I wonder if the act of putting his cloak over the mud puddle, was what started the “chivalry” acts generations post Elizabethan days?
    Didn’t Shakespeare also once, drape his cloak over a puddle for her? My history knowledge is weak, though I am fascinated with the time and era-the history!
    love the plots so far!!
    Uh oh, something sinister moves?(wink.)
    You know, it’s amazing-we studied the history of Elizabeth-yet, as you and Shekhar describe the scenes being shot today, and the decisions being made on yes or no to add, delete input-I am just as intrigued NOW< as I was when I first started reading about Elizabeth!
    All my best to Shekhar, cast and crew; and thankyou Justin, for the updates!! Love reading this tid-bits!

  2. Oh ya,
    I am happy you guys are using that story, even though it may not be true. I feel the cloak over the puddle is a true story for Raleigh had a son alive in 1663, Carew Raleigh who died in 1666 and he may have confirmed the story, who knows?
    Good luck with it.
    What kind of puddle do you think it was, deep?, wide?, small?, huge?

  3. Dear Shekhar and Justin,
    I just saw a photo of Cate online and I must say that in costume she looks absolutely ravishing! The background, everything seems to come into play perfectly.

  4. North – the cloak over puddle move would certainly have been considered chivalrous and that’s what every courtier (and prospective courtier) hoped to be. In fact there was even a book available at the time on how to behave at court written by an Italian – Baldassare Castiglione’s ‘Book of the Courtier’. It describes how men and women should behave at court, what their accomplishments should be and the do’s-and-don’t of ettiquette. It was essential reading for anyone wanting to catch the Queen’s eye – unless they had a more dramatic cloak-wielding stunt in mind.

  5. Dear North,
    Have Clive Googled on your computer and this will come up as news.

  6. I took a look at the photos. Again we have some historical innacuracy. Elizabeth had a bout of Small Pox, which she survived, but it left her face scarred. That is why she wore heavy white makeup on her face. There is evidence to suggest that is what eventually killed her (lead poisoning). So while the costumes look fantastic, and you can see an older Elizabeth in this new film, the make up seems to be wrong. Even at the end of the first Elizabeth film, while there were no references to her battle with Small Pox, at least she was painted quite white. I suppose it would not be as appealing for the audience to do the heavy white makeup.

  7. Hi Justin, gosh even in my “day” as a child, Mom gave us ettiquette lessons! The art, or craft is all but obsolete, unfortunately. If I am not mistaken, in one of my box’s of packed books; I have an old ettiquette booklet from my child-hood years. times sure have changed!
    Kimmi, thanks for the link-will go have a peek at beautiful Cate! Thankyou.

  8. Hi Kimmi, I just finished breazing through the site you posted! Awesome pics of Cate on shoot-site!! How does the site owners get the pics, if they have no affiliation with Cate?
    Great pics-absolutely love the costumes, though they must have been stifling hot and heavy to wear!
    All the best to Shekhar and cast and crew!

  9. Hi North,
    I don’t know how people get those pictures. I’m sure it does costs some money. If you are interested on more Golden Age, Shekhar Kapur and other actors, here’s an IMDB link that you might want to read and post a comment. I go there quite a lot.. I’m a Clive Owen fan by the way. Can’t wait to see this film….. Thank you Shekhar and Justin for giving us insights to this production!

  10. I was wondering if there is a way of dating this event (or fable, if you prefer)? If it happened when Elizabeth met Raleigh – does anyone have a date for when they did meet?
    I’d really appreciate any info. Thanks

  11. Andy – Thomas Fuller states that the cloak incident took place when Raleigh was “coming out of Ireland” so we could tentatively date this (probably spurious) event to around 1580/1.

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