The Angel of Victory

Tuesday 6th June. 1 PM – Brean Down, Somerset. Elizabeth arrives on horse back in full battle array to inspire the troops.

There are a number of sources for Elizabeth’s famous Tilbury speech, perhaps the most famous being Dr. Leonel Sharp’s 1623 letter to the Duke of Buckingham in which he recalls the events he witnessed that day back in 1588. As well as quoting the famous speech itself he tells us how the prisoner Don Pedro had been interrogated and told Burleigh that the armada ships were filled with wire and cord which were to be used to whip the English to death if their landing succeeded. He further gruesomely reveals that when Don Pedro was asked what would happen to English children they captured, he told them that those over seven would also be killed like their fathers whilst those younger would be branded with a ‘L’ for Lutheran and live in ‘perpetual bondage’.
Of course this was propaganda and Sharp eagerly passed it on to the troops in his next sermon to them. Such fears might well help them to fight the harder, knowing that the only alternative to victory was death.
Nothing however was as inspiring as the arrival of the Queen, who vowed to fight with them to the end. Seeing Cate crest the ridge of Brean Down on horseback, in the armour and mailcoat specially made for the film, the sea breeze streaming her red hair behind her, it’s easy to see what effect Elizabeth’s arrival must have had on this hopelessly outnumbered band of men. With the sun sparkling on her polished armour plates she must have looked more angel than human, and every man and boy there hoped she would prove to be an angel of victory.

11 thoughts on “The Angel of Victory

  1. Dear Justin, I am hoping you will be able to get this message to Shekhar in time. On Thursday, June 8th, is David Hall’s Birthday; Shekhar greatly admired David from a blog they both frequent.
    I am a friend of David’s and made him an utmost delicious surprise using my graphic design skill to create digital artwork! Nobody except his girl, and me have even seen it yet!
    I was hoping, maybe Shekhar would add to David’s surprise, and maybe pop in, to say hello to David, and wish him well.
    I know for a fact, David would be so surprised and deeply thrilled!! Shekhar can visit David’s surprise I made, here:
    On Thursday June 8th, his birthday, I’ll be announcing on the blog we all frequent, to wish David a Happy Birthday, and to direct him to his “gift” from many of us, whom admire him dearly… as we do Shekhar as well.
    much love to Shekhar, cast, crew & you too Justin! : )

  2. Dear Justin, thankyou so very much, for posting my open invitation to Shekhar to wish David Hall, the merriest of birthdays!
    I really DO hope, he can post a Birthday message to David on his birthday blog, OR the open thread at
    much love to each of you, for your efforts to bring the world, historical accounts we all share interests in, just know; these efforts are far from being unnoticed! : )

  3. How come the rest of us are not invited to the party eh??? Anyway Justin, your description of Elizabeth on horseback and how you shot that seen gives me the chills just reading it. Did you see the rushes and is it as dramatic as you describe? Cate must be pretty steady on a horse as a rider.

  4. Dear Justin,
    Is it possible to get any visuals of these scenes like the ones we got of Clive before he lay down the cloke for Elizabeth?
    Your descriptions are so wonderful, it’s sad not to see a little taste before the movie is finished.
    Also, would you please let me know who’s composing the score so I could imagine the music while I read your comments.
    Warmest Regards,

  5. Hi iden Ford.. well, consider yourself invited!
    Click Shekhar’s Invitation link above! That’s where my design pictures displayed are posted : )
    Great Q Judy.. I wonder too, if Cate uses a double in her riding scenes?

  6. No – Cate was riding the horse herself and seemed to be controlling it very well. I was an extra in those scenes.

  7. Iden – I’m no horseman myself but I must say that Cate seemed very at home on horseback. It’s no mean feat to ride in full armour whilst shouting at your troops and keeping your horse in frame for the camera – yet she did it again and again.

  8. Justin, why did you write that “of course this was propaganda”? Considering the many atrocities committed by religious zealots throughout the centuries, it seems plausible. Even if it was false certainly the Protestants had much to fear from the invaders. Even in our modern times we have places like Gitmo.

  9. Terry – I said it was propaganda because I don’t know of any evidence for it being true. The armada must have had a lot better things to carry than wire and cord for strangling the entire adult male poulation of England. You’re quite right however that Protestants had everything to fear from a Spanish invasion – particularly those high-up in the State. Would there have been atrocities if the landing had suceeded? – quite probably. Would they have had the inclination or ability to execute a large part of the population ? – I doubt it. But as you say, religious zealotry can bring about terrible things.

  10. That is incredible. I met the author Joseph Kanon on the weekend here in Toronto, and Cate is co-starring in the adaptation of his novel The Good German. He said that he (Kanon) was on the set one day and saw Cate do eight different takes of specific scene. Kanon remarked that she delivered eight different versions of the same scene. He was in complete awe of her brilliance as an actress. We all know this of course, and that is why she is in your movie. Thanks Justin!

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