Skeletons in the Cupboard

Monday 26th June. 4.00 PM – ‘B’ Stage, Shepperton Studios. This part of the palace set has been dressed as Bess Throckmorton’s bedchamber and we find her here at night, asleep. But her dreams are troubled.


Many members of the court had reason to fear the turbulent politics of Elizabeth’s day. In an era when many powerful families were related by marriage, scandal (or worse) in one area of a family could have profound ramifications for the rest.
Bess Throckmorton was no exception. Her father had been one of Elizabeth’s most able ambassadors but he landed up imprisoned by Elizabeth in Windsor on suspicion of having taken part in Norfolk’s Plot. This was unproved and never came to trial but he never regained Elizabeth’s favour. He died on February 12th 1571 at the age of roughly 54. Bess was just 5 years old.
But it was her cousin Francis Throckmorton who really cast a shadow over the family. Francis’ side of the family had very pro-Catholic leanings, indeed his father was probably dismissed from his job as Chief Justice of Chester for that very reason (although it may have been because he was a touch corrupt). Either way Francis was brought up with strong Catholic views and developed a growing loathing for the Protestant Reformation and Elizabeth. He traveled to France and Spain in 1580 where he met numerous pro-Catholic English malcontents and further developed his radical views. Back in England in 1583 he acted as a go-between between the Spanish Ambassador and Mary Queen of Scots (who by this time was under house arrest in England). This of course brought him into the gaze of Francis Walsingham.
In October Walsingham arrested Francis and searched his house. Evidence of his dealing between Mary and Spain were found which suggested he was planning a coup by which Henry I Duke of Guise would invade England supported by a native Catholic uprising. He admitted to this after a little racking. Despite then withdrawing his confession he was found guilty of High Treason and executed in 1584.
With a family like this, it was not easy for Bess to sleep easy.
Justin

17 Responses to “Skeletons in the Cupboard”

  1. Sir Walter Ralegh says:

    Hey Justin,
    Wow, I am shocked you didn’t go further in her family like for example Lady Jane Grey. What about Aurther Throckmorton, who pretty much replaced her father when he died. He knew of the pregnancy and marraige before anyone else close to court. Is he mentioned in the film?
    WR

  2. North says:

    Justin, you are doing a fine job, with what was asked and expected from you. Sir WR; surely you would agree Sir; that it would be nearly impossible to make mention of the entire heirarchic family ladder of each main characters?
    It must be following into line with a specific plot they have in mind perhaps; where less engagement is necessary with other family members?
    Frankly, I do like reading Justin’s updates from on-set!! How many directors do that? But, your constantly trying to one-up Justin, is rather distasteful, and monotonous at this point.
    Sorr if I sound brass.. but whew; don’t you have something more enticing to engage in than this?
    With respect, but questioning your motives is all…
    North

  3. Sir Walter Ralegh says:

    No offence taken North,
    My motive is receiving all POVs on the 3 character’s of the film, Elizabeth , Bess T., and Raleigh. Justin in this blog is telling us about Bess T’s family background, that the Throckmorton Family had skeletons in the closet. Good thing that Bess was on the protestant side of her family. About the family background of Bess I just was surprised her claim to the throne was not mentioned through the Grey family which would make her a threat. Arthur T. is what some historians call the connection between Raleigh and Bess T. Arthur used his sister at court to deliver messages and gain information on how he could gain access to certain political circles. I am just wondering Justin’s POV on this, and he is doing a good job. I am not one uping Justin just hoping he can give me better knowledge than what I post, I like to be corrected and learn from mistakes. Lady Jane grey was ex. 1554, bess was born shortly after around 156?. I was unsure to the connection between the two and hoped Justin could clear that up for me.
    Historyonics is enticing enough.

  4. Kimmi says:

    Hey North,
    Don’t know if anyone posted this yet but here’s some pictures of the Golden Age production. Enjoy 🙂
    http://www.workingtitlefilms.com/filmPhotoSets.php?filmID=102
    and
    http://www.workingtitlefilms.com/featureProductionDiary.php?featureID=124#gallery
    Justin and Shekhar, thanks for posting the updates on this production. You guys are awesome.

  5. Bill says:

    North,
    Thank you so much for pointing out the disingenuous nature of Sir Really Raw’s comments which are perennially tedious and dull.
    Under “Recent Entries”, “And the answer is . . .” I found his response, “And be replaced by a Scott, Oh what a world,” to be prejudiced, reductive and offensive (as I am Scottish).
    Bill

  6. Sir Walter Rawlegh says:

    Wow,
    ” I am the best hated man ” on this blog.
    Bill, I do not apoligize for my comment, it was not out of line. I am also a Scott, an Irish man, a Dutchman and Canadian A. Sorry if you don’t agree K. James didn’t belong in England, Stuarts were trouble.
    WR

  7. Cinda says:

    Hi Kimmi,
    Thank you for sharing the photos of Golden Age in production.
    I wonder if Justin is in any of these pictures.
    Cinda

  8. North says:

    Oh dear… I had posted a mini-novel here in response, and I just hit the Delete button, instead of Copy!! lol whahhhh
    Well, Sir Walter, I was very pleased you had taken my query with a grain of salt; thankyou for your maturity.
    Myself, I am part:French, Dutch, Irish, Scot, English & Ojibway. Quite a human mongrel in some sense’s of the term/label? One thing I like about being multi-national/cultural; is that it has given me the great freedom to become emmancipated from bias against race, culture, creed.(wink.)
    I traced my geneological family tree(Mom’s side) and I got back as far as the 1820’s; which really isn’t that far back, in generations. Dad’s side were more the Ojibway, French and English; Mom the rest.
    Sir Walter, I understand of course, your wanting to know facts in historical accounts of this era; and frankly, am impressed with your knowledge.
    Justin, what I might like to suggest is working with Sir Walter via email. You could ask Sir Walter to verify something for you? Maybe you’ll be helping him into the same line of work you are in.. what a thrilling enterprise you two could make with your combined knowledge in this way; and to our benefit as well as both your own? lol
    I am also Canadian!! Northern Ontario. Way up North…
    Also, sorry for my long response; my son just graduated high school 2 nights ago; and we had visitors from Arizona drive through on a camping stop on the way home from Quebec City. What a trip, huh? lol
    So, here I am; resting some weary bones; as everyone has departed, and the celebrations complete… tomorrow–clean-up!! ugh..(giggles.)
    North
    North

  9. Sir Walter Raleigh says:

    North,
    my fellow multicultural Canadian, Happy delayed Canada Day! A
    WR

  10. Bill says:

    Dear Sir Walter,
    In the spirit of this website, sharing creativity, sharing vision, I would suggest that you remember that “The Golden Age” is to be a motion picture, which tells a story, and not a historical documentary or dissertation. Perhaps you believe, as Helen Mirren has stated in regards to her HBO Film, “Elizabeth I” that
    “. . . Historical detail is so much more interesting than anything we can invent nowadays. I mean, they lived life on such an extreme level. My only sadness was that we couldn’t get more historical detail into it, because you could really start investigating the extraordinary nature of their lives. For us the historical detail was very important. We come from a country that wants to pay attention in general to those things, and if there are a couple of things that we got deliberately wrong historically that was a very deliberate, and very thought about and argued over issue.”
    However, the writer of the HBO film included a scene between Mary, Queen of Scotts, and Elizabeth I, in The Tower of London, which never happened and was 99.99% fantasy. But the producers kept the scene for reasons of characterization. They were trying to portray a very “emotional”, “fiery” and almost “earthy” Elizabeth who could go to the Tower and appeal to Mary directly. Ultimately, I think, the end result was fantastical and horribly untrue to Elizabeth’s character. I doubt she would have survived if she would have actually done such things (as meet Mary in private, in the Tower).
    In filmmaking, historical facts and details are included or omitted in order to service the themes, conflict, plot, characterizations and pace of the film. I am certain that Justin and the rest of Shekhar’s team have already agonized over the historical details which have caused you alarm.
    Bill

  11. Sir Walter Really says:

    Yuk, did you see Raleigh’s role in the HBO special, gag. I think they had him confused with someone else.
    WR

  12. North says:

    WR, where about in CAN are you? I am UP north; did you guess? lol
    Hi Bill.. I am one of those, whom prefer facts as opposed to drumming up nonfact, for drama sake in a film or depiction of past history in a book/story. I am a little more like WR in that way; just not even close to as smart…
    North

  13. Bill says:

    Dear Sir Walter,
    I didn’t understand HBO’s script either. How could historical detail be paramount when they had Raleigh die in Elizabeth’s arms? That cannot be very close to any facts I’m aware of.
    Bill

  14. Bill says:

    Hi North,
    Thank you for your reply. You are indeed highly intelligent and a great graphic artist!
    Bill

  15. lussigagas says:

    300 is a great movie full of visual effects and graphics which made it different and much better.
    Acting was great, director did a wonderful job and chose great actors, full of action, and it is based on a true story.

  16. I’d like to say hello to all people on this board.
    Regards,
    Janek

  17. I am Lubis from indonesian,i am a writer.I write short-stories and novels.I just watched Elizabeth’s movie and i want to know about Bess.My google land me here.Thank’s for information (www.lubisgrafura.co.cc mail me lubisgrafura@ymail.com)

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