Period drama. Preparations are made for war abroad, but battles of the sexes are waged within the palace itself, and there will be casualties.
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This programme contains scenes of sexual violence and some strong language
HE SHOUTS OUT
Search the palace, the village!
Everywhere! Find her!
Put him on the table!
Will I live?
You're a very lucky man.
Either your heart is not where it's supposed to be
or else you do not have one.
Let us hope it's the former.
Don't even think about it!
Go. Find her.
SHE GASPS AND WHIMPERS
Will he live?
Monsieur Marchal is expected to make a full recovery, Sire.
SHE CRIES OUT
Did you really think you could live in my palace and kill my minister
and his wife without suffering the consequences?
What of my son, Sire? Please do not punish him.
I am entirely to blame.
Every day, for the rest of his life, your son will suffer the shame of
knowing that his mother betrayed her king, her country and her family!
As for you, you will be decapitated in front of the entire court.
You are walking blindly towards an enemy that you do not know.
You have opened the door to him, and now he will destroy you.
Who is this enemy?
Have you any idea of the hell you've created here?
Hundreds of nobles driven from their homes, forced to live in squalor,
told how to behave, what to wear, when to eat!
Give me a name.
He has no name.
Everyone has a name.
Come closer, Sire, and I'll tell you.
# I'm the king of my own land
# Facing tempests of dust
# I'll fight until the end
# Creatures of my dreams
# Raise up and dance with me
# Now and forever
# I'm your king. #
If anyone here present knows a good reason why these two
should not be joined in holy matrimony, let him declare it now.
I hereby pronounce you man and wife.
CHEVALIER CLEARS THROAT
She left at dawn.
Oh, dear. A disappointing wedding night?
I was worried you may have reached the early hours and decided some consummation was in order.
Look at the table.
That is your clothes bill for the last month.
15 pairs of new breeches.
How many times do I have to tell you? They are not clothes, they are costumes.
They allow me to express my every mood and whim.
-They also cost a fortune.
-Since when does that concern you?
You're one of the richest men in France, and it's never bothered you before.
You are the apple of my eye, but stop taking me for granted.
-In two words...
total humiliation. He showed no interest in me whatsoever.
He said he found me unappealing to the eye and he preferred men.
How awful for you. What will you do?
A lot of horse riding.
And I shall speak with him.
I came here to bear children, not to listen to my husband snoring like a Schnauzer!
I hope my husband shows no interest in me whatsoever.
Judging by her frown, I would say Her Highness passed a night of frustration rather than passion.
THEY LAUGH LIGHTLY
-Athenais, I think you should return to your rooms.
Your daughter is unwell.
Did you summon the doctor?
Well, what use will I be?
It is the King's child!
Believe me, the King does not love me for my ability to bear children, let alone look after them.
You're free to go.
So you found the murderer?
Who is he?
-Mother! What have you done?
Believe me, I did it all for you, my love!
For me? You have destroyed our family.
-You have destroyed our reputation.
-You have destroyed me!
No, don't say that!
Oh, forgive me! Forgive me!
SHE CRIES OUT
When did it start?
The child showed signs of fever during the night, Sire.
I wish to see the doctor.
Is it the pox?
I believe so, Sire.
The child has a high fever and the first signs of pustules on the face and neck.
And what treatment do you propose?
Normally, I would advise the child be removed from the palace.
-Then move her.
-She's too weak, Sire.
We have no choice but to keep her here.
I shall prepare an unguent for the pustules on the face and a herbal infusion to lower the fever.
All the windows must be closed and the palace fumigated.
We're close to marshland here.
There's evidence that ailments such as this are transmitted through the ears and mouth.
Sire, I believe you place too much faith in this doctor.
This doctor saved my life and will save the life of our daughter.
Fumigate the palace.
Yes, Sire. It may become stifling.
May I suggest that His Majesty removes himself from the palace and takes the air?
You're right. Inform my brother that he will hunt with me.
My dear fellow, you seem lost. Is it the smoke?
No, I'm not lost.
Well, if not lost, then not welcome. The door is behind you.
And if you see your mother, do thank her for the gift.
Another reason to fumigate the palace.
I wanted to discuss something you said to me the other day.
You said you knew about my past.
What exactly did you mean by that?
You have not always been a loyal servant to the King, have you?
What do you mean?
You were involved in a plot against him.
Bold accusations need strong evidence.
Believe me, I have enough evidence to have you sent to the gallows.
We've all of us made errors we later regretted.
You made one error. Don't make another by ignoring what I say.
What do you want from me?
What sort of information?
The sort of information that only a minister to the King has access to.
The King is planning to go to war against Holland.
I want to know his plan of attack.
And what will you do with this information?
Use it in my book. What else?
Care to explain what's going on?
We are fumigating the palace, Your Highness.
And asphyxiating its occupants.
His Majesty's daughter is sick.
And this is going to make her better?
The King has asked me to inform you that
he wishes you to hunt with him today.
Thank you for the invitation, but I must decline.
I have an appointment with a poet.
Perhaps I may accompany His Majesty?
I don't see why not. I shall...
That's an excellent idea.
..inform the King.
Well, follow me.
Was His Majesty aware that it is the female wild boar who rules the group?
I was not.
And that the mating season lasts only a month and a half?
She has the King's favour!
Talking of mating seasons, I hear that your marriage is prospering.
Monsieur Marchal, I'm relieved to see you returned to your post.
Have you questioned the prisoner?
Not yet, Sire.
I wished to discuss the matter with His Majesty first.
She is a member of the nobility.
Treat her as you would any other murderer.
-Over there, Sire. Through the trees.
I see nothing.
A wild boar, 200 pounds. Fair game, I'd say.
It would be a trifle dangerous.
Hya, hya, hya!
Where did you acquire these poisons?
I want to...
-SHOUTS: Where did you acquire these poisons?
-I want to see my son!
Tell me first who sold you the poisons.
To do so may save your life.
We both know that I'm already condemned.
Then you have nothing to lose.
Nothing to gain.
Allow me to see my son and I'll tell you what you want to know.
With any luck, this will alleviate the inflammation to the skin.
And the scarring?
She'll be blemished for life, won't she?
If she lives, yes.
Then she'll be put in a convent.
You would deny your child a place at court because her skin is not perfect?
You do not know how the court works.
Oh, I know. Beauty opens every door in the palace.
Even the King's.
How would you know?
One step to the left, one step to the right, two steps forward.
And remember to straighten your shoulders thus.
I was just telling Thomas that, if he wants to dazzle the women at court, he must learn to dance.
Well, I see I am surplus to requirements.
Where are you going?
Did I upset your friend?
He's just a little jealous.
-Of anyone that breathes.
Room for one more?
CARDS DEALER CLEARS THROAT
The 9 of diamonds.
The queen of spades.
7 of hearts.
Ace of clubs.
Oh, dear. Lost again. Please note that down.
10,000 francs debited to the account of the Duc d'Orleans.
There's no greater pleasure than losing somebody else's money.
I was hot on its heels, the scent of victory in my nostrils.
Then the stag fell into the ditch and I fell in with it.
The stag escaped and they had to haul me out with a rope and a mule!
I must tell you, Madame, you are a breath of fresh air.
Sire, my friends call me Liselotte.
Move! Move! Move!
HE PLAYS MOURNFUL TUNE
You should come, Your Highness.
What is it?
It's the Chevalier de Lorraine.
Is he hurt?
He has placed all of his losses on your account.
My fucking money! How dare you?!
The luck was against me.
It certainly is now!
You hit me!
400,000 francs in two days!
That's almost a third of my annual income!
-You're hurting me.
You're killing me.
Don't come any closer!
Ha! That's right!
SOUND OF SWORD BEING UNSHEATHED
This little shit gambled away half of my fortune!
Was he good in bed - that little slut of yours?
Did he get down on all fours like a sheep?
Yes, and I loved every minute of it!
-Will you two shut up? I've seen turkeys with more sense.
And just when I was winning.
Per istam sanctam unctionem
et suam piissimam misericordiam,
adiuvet te Dominus gratia Spiritus Sancti,
ut a peccatis liberatum te salvet atque propitius alleviet.
Get your hands off me!
What about the gardeners and wardens?
They saw nothing, heard nothing.
I believe the murder took place at night.
Whoever killed him knew what they were doing.
And Madame de Foix?
I'm beginning to suspect she's not the only murderer at court.
What do you mean?
I've been looking over the death records at the palace over the past three years.
So far, I've found almost 40 which were either premature or
connected to a promotion or an inheritance.
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.
What are your sins?
Since my last confession, I accuse myself of adultery and murder.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
What are your sins?
I accuse myself of murder by poisoning.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
What are your sins?
I was weak, but I did it not for myself but for my husband.
-I am damned.
Get out! Get out!
All of you! Get out!
Sire, your meeting with the master of...
Will not take place!
With the Lord's help, the tide is turning in our favour.
The number of women at court seeking consolation is most reassuring.
The palace will not be cleansed so easily.
Confession is one thing, discovering the path of purity is another.
We cannot prevail without the King's support.
If he chooses to remain in sin,
most of the court will choose to remain with him.
You'll lead him to it.
I know you will.
His Majesty must be told of this.
I fear he will not listen.
Then he's a deaf fool. These women are confessing to murder!
Do not underestimate his stubbornness.
I do not.
Just as he should not underestimate the power of God.
I will speak with him.
Surely the time for speaking is over.
I shall threaten him.
Then you shall have my support.
If they come to confession,
then at least they're pricked by conscience.
Without the truth in the soul, it is mere hypocrisy.
No, hypocrisy is part of our being, we cannot tamper with nature.
My people look to the Church for spiritual guidance
and wellbeing. They look to me for security and happiness.
I cannot make them good people. That is your job.
Then His Majesty will be refused communion at Easter.
It is the King's duty not merely to appear devout before his people but to be devout.
You would carry through on such a threat?
I would, Sire.
You would question my faith?
Your child is sick, is it not, Sire?
It is sick because it was born out of a union unsanctified by God
and because it is surrounded by sickness.
The palace may gleam on the outside but, on the inside, it is contaminated.
Remind me, who's this man?
Father Pascal, Sire. Confessor to Her Majesty, the Queen.
I wish never...
SCREAMS: ..to see him again!
What sort of help?
That sort that enables you to continue your trade.
And if we're caught?
Are you always so pessimistic?
Yes. That's why I'm still alive.
Look, I know every noble at court.
They have deep pockets and desires without limits.
It is simply a question of getting the produce into the palace
without being noticed.
I'm glad you asked that. Silk.
In two weeks' time, a cargo of silk will arrive at the palace.
Every noble at court will want to buy some.
What if, at the same time as silk,
they can buy a little something extra?
Hidden, for example, inside an ornamental box.
What's in it for you?
30%. And as much produce as I require.
The die is cast.
The English fleet will be in sight of the Dutch shores within a month.
I want our armies at the Dutch border in two weeks.
What news from Germany?
Le Marechal de Turenne has divided his army into two, Sire.
One half stationed here, outside Cologne,
the other outside Munster, ready to strike Holland's allies.
Conde expects to cross the Rhine before the end of the week.
We have also received a message from the Elector Palatine
reaffirming his support.
CASSEL CLEARS THROAT
Sire, the Elector Palatine, do you trust him?
Allies can swiftly become enemies.
I should remind you that his daughter
has recently married my brother.
And I should remind His Majesty that he married the Spanish Infanta,
but he is now at war with Spain.
You can do better than that!
-Is that my brother?
-I believe so, Sire.
It's called the bayonet, Sire.
It enables the soldier to continue fighting if
he has shot his musket and does not have time to reload.
I should have known.
-I thought you'd be pleased to see me.
Now, then, I've been thinking about this plan of yours to take Arnheim.
You can tell me later. How was your wedding night?
You did your patriotic duty, I trust.
My canon succeeded in...
..breaching the enemy's defence, if that's what you're asking.
Now, then, back to my point about strategy...
How many platoons of bayonets do we have?
-I want four times that number.
You must come, Sire, at once.
What does the doctor say?
That we should be patient.
Then we shall be patient.
Sire, he will not save our daughter!
His Majesty will enter?
The pustules have lost their inflammation,
but the fever has increased.
She should be bled.
Bleeding will only weaken her.
She needs all her strength to fight the disease.
Sire, the doctor to my family, Dr Rigaud.
I could send word to Paris. He would be here before nightfall.
You cannot let this child die.
Here you are!
If you banish Father Pascal from court, you banish me.
-He stays at court or I return to Spain.
But if Maastricht falls,
then so will Amsterdam and the whole country.
Amsterdam will not fall.
De Witt will fall.
But what of Louis?
Louis is greedy, impetuous.
My lord, the latest intelligence from France
indicates that Louis has gathered an army of almost 200,000 men.
Some of them have already arrived in Germany ready to attack our allies.
Mr de Witt.
My dear friend.
I have sent you a dozen messages in the past week.
You have replied to none of them.
So, I have to travel all the way from Amsterdam to find out
what your plans are to defend our country from invasion.
My plan is to defend my country
-with all the men and strength at my disposal.
But a man more cynical than myself would see an ulterior motive
in your silence.
Hm. Such as?
I brought you up as my own son.
-I know you.
-A son to whom you would deny his inheritance.
I denied you nothing.
Holland is not a monarchy.
And you are not Louis.
Do not try to be like him.
Wit and wisdom, music and dance
A palace of light for the glory of France
Then he turned his eyes to lands far afield
With army and fleet, his power to wield.
I hope this meets with His Majesty's approval.
NOBLES TAP CANES POLITELY
You had mentioned to me once, Sire,
an enemy who would stand in your way.
I thought perhaps I should include him in my account.
Have you ever heard of William of Orange?
Only vaguely, Sire,
from the pamphlets.
-He's a young man, not dissimilar to myself.
His family were once rulers -
or "Stadtholders", as they call them in Holland.
His parents died when he was a child.
He was taken under the wing of a certain de Witt,
who is currently leader of the government.
And why is he not Stadtholder?
Because Holland is a republic.
But he will be, once he's eliminated de Witt.
Why do you ask all these questions?
Man is defined by his foes, is he not, Sire?
It must arrive within two days.
Oh, my son...
I knew you'd come.
Are you hurt?
You know what they're going to do to me.
It's the sound of the blade that I fear the most.
I shall shut my eyes and think of you
when you were a child, my love.
He's a cruel man.
Your father died fighting in his service
and now he's made of me a criminal and of you an outcast.
-I shall return home...
-No, no, no, you must stay.
-What other path is open to us?
-You have to find her.
-She'll help you. She's in a house, in the square.
-I do not know...
Tell her Ariadne sent you.
SHE SPLUTTERS AND COUGHS
SHE PRAYS QUIETLY
I promised nothing, Sire.
Then I could do nothing.
It was not meant to die.
You no longer work in the service of the king.
I shall ensure you receive a royal stipend.
His Majesty is generous.
-You did the right thing, Sire.
How do you know?
Did our daughter die through the fault of the doctor?
Through its own weakness?
Or was it simply God's will?
What does it matter, Sire?
I'll soon make you another one.
DOOR CLOSES >
I am sorry for your loss.
Do you believe in divine punishment?
I also believe in divine forgiveness.
Goodnight, Sire. Your mistress will be waiting for you.
No, it is you I need tonight.
When you look at yourselves, what do you see?
You are the cream of the French aristocracy
and the envy of every court in Europe.
But when I look at you...
..I see corruption.
There are two paths open to you.
The path of punishment.
Or the path of redemption.
Redemption through light.
Redemption through puri... FOOTSTEPS APPROACH
Am I under arrest?
I'm putting you to bed.
How can those hands which have killed so many times be so gentle?
Are you ready?
You really are divine.
Give me your hand.
I could...eat you up.
Do you like games?
What sort of games?
I don't think I like this sort of game...
Oh, you're not supposed to like it.
So, that's how you want to play!
Have you never heard
of conjugal duty?
SLAP! SHE SCREAMS
Squeal all you like! It excites me.
HE GRUNTS, SHE SCREAMS
Oh, you poor thing...
Do you know what day it is today?
It is the anniversary of the day that you took over as king.
Do you remember what you said to me that night?
You said that the secret is not just to be king.
It is to be SEEN to be king.
And that, my dear brother, is what you have forgotten.
You have taken off your clothes and shown us your frailty.
I suggest you put them back on.
I came to offer my condolences.
Is that all?
You think you can destroy the bond between the King and me.
But we are stronger than any of your sermons.
You're a sinner, driven only by the desires of the flesh.
Am I alone in that?
I've seen you and the Queen.
Her Majesty shares my faith.
Your devotion is just a mask!
Behind it, you're like any other man.
That is what you would like to believe.
When I look at a woman, I see only her soul.
Let's put that to the test, shall we?
How dare you?
I wonder how the Queen would react
if I told her you placed a hand on me.
She would not believe you.
Perhaps not, though she's stupid enough to believe anyone.
Take you, for instance.
However, the King will take my word.
You continue to seduce him with your wit and wiles,
but the day will come when he sees you for who you really are.
An empty husk...
of vanity and manipulation.
Ariadne sent me.
The answer is yes.
I didn't ask a question.
Why did you come here?
I wanted to meet you.
No, you didn't.
You came here to ask for my help, even if you didn't know it.
Why would I want your help?
To help avenge your mother's death.
My mother's not dead. SHE GRASPS TIGHTLY
And you want my help taking revenge on the man who killed her
and ruined your life.
You want to destroy Versailles.
That's not possible.
Everything is possible if you want it enough.
And why would you help me?
Because I want the same thing.
What do I have to do?
First of all, convince the King to let you return to court.
You will stop at nothing.
The King floods the palace with light.
You will engulf it in darkness.
Do you agree?
..you belong to me.
Preparations are made for war abroad, but battles of the sexes are waged within the palace itself, and there will be casualties.