Mary and Entourage
Queen of Scotland, Dauphine (later Queen) of France
- Played by: Adelaide Kane, Sophie O'Brien (young)
After living under the protection of a convent since the age of nine, Mary is sent back to French court in order to secure the French-Scottish alliance by marrying the Dauphin Francis. Unfortunately, she's still just a naive young girl learning the ways of the world, and she is soon caught right in the middle of the nest of vipers that is the French court.
- Altar the Speed: False news of Mary Tudor's death combined with a conveniently-timed change in Nostradamus's visions causes Henry to prioritize her marriage to Francis.
- Antagonistic Offspring: A heroic example. After learning that her mother tricked her into a signing a clause in her marriage contract giving Scotland to the French if Mary died without an heir, Mary sent men to reveal the secret among her mother's enemies to put pressure on her to deny the agreement. Unfortunately, the men were killed before they got the news back to Scotland. However, she still attempts to save her mother from the Protestant siege.
- Anti-Hero: As the series goes on she gets more and more used to the dirty politics of ruling and the extremes one must take to survive.
- Arranged Marriage: She and Francis have been engaged since they were six. Much of the early conflict is due to how the French rulers seem to stall this marriage.
- Attempted Rape: Twice. First by Colin in a plot by Catherine to spoil her, but it fails thanks to a timely warning. Then by a visiting Italian count, wanting revenge for his son, foiled by Catherine's distracting him so that Mary could fatally stab him with a fork.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She's usually very kind and reasonable, but can be dangerous when provoked.
- The Chains of Commanding: She has accepted the fact that being queen limits her ability to follow her own desires and poses dangers to those close to her. She's also unhappy about having to sacrifice lives in order to stay ahead.
- Dysfunctional Family: Even putting aside her in-laws (who are an explosive mix of plain evil, ruthlessness and even wackadoo behavior), Mary has a cold, lying and manipulative mother that is willing to use her daughter to further her own power-hungry goals, at least one half-brother that may or may not intend to kill her and seize her throne, a viciously ambitious uncle that has a private army made up of children stolen from their mothers, and her cousin Elizabeth Tudor, to whom Mary is an extreme threat to her rule, as Mary has a fairly strong claim to Elizabeth's throne.
- Green-Eyed Monster: She wishes she had a child, like Lola, but is trying to keep her jealousy in check for the sake of their friendship. Which is a bit difficult considering her husband is the father and she had a miscarriage not long after the child was brought to court.
- Guile Heroine: She had to grown into this in order to keep peace in the royal court and not be overwhelmed by the complex political mechanisms taking place around her.Conde: You know you could sell the ocean a cup of water.
- Hates Being Touched: After being raped, she avoids being touched by men, even by Francis.
- Louis, Prince of Conde, is apparently the exception.
- He Who Fights Monsters: She starts showing signs of this toward the season one finale. It should be noted that Catherine didn't kill anyone for political reasons until she was thirty, but Mary orders an assassination when she was only a teenager.
- The High Queen: In "Liege Lord" Mary tells Lord McKenzie, her late father's loyal man, about the secret clause in her wedding contract. She asks him to tell everyone when he returns to Scotland. He accepts, lowers his sword and bows to his Queen. He tell her he's waited a long time for her to rise.
- Historical-Domain Character: Mary of Scotland.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Her affair with Louis, Prince of Conde could end up with her losing her throne and her life. She knows and still goes along with it.
- Love Triangle: With Francis and Sebastian. Double as Sibling Triangle.
- In season 2, it's with Louis, Prince of Condé.
- Mama Bear: There's nothing she wouldn't do for her people — even threaten to invoke civil war.Mary: "I would defy the devil himself if he tried to buy and sell my country."
- My Own Private "I Do": Attempted to do this with Bash, but Francis's return to court stops them. In the same episode, she married Francis.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: There are some rough patches here and there, but Mary and Francis undoubtedly love each other very much. As pointed out by Catherine, however, this love makes them weak more than it makes them strong.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Gets to wear several.
- Princess Classic: Subverted. She's actually a Queen but, especially at first, she acts like and is treated by everyone more like a princess. It got better after she grows more assertive.
- Rape and Revenge: Finds the man who raped her, sets him on fire, and has Conde kill his accomplices. But also deconstructed because it gave her no peace to know that he was dead and she still had a lot of emotional problems to deal with.
- Rape as Drama: In season 2 she's raped by a Protestant rebel after Francis's actions stir up religious violence. The show highlights the psychological consequences it has for Mary.
- Reunion Kiss: With Francis after his return from Calais, which quickly evolves into Reunion Shag.
- Rule of Symbolism: Invoked. She wears the English coat of arms on her dress to publicly declare her stance on taking the English crown.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Grows into this after a dose of Character Development — of course, it's an important way for female rulers to survive Renaissance European politics.Catherine: I miss the girl you were.Mary: Many will. She was easier to kill.
- These Hands Have Killed: In Episode 20, she gets "innocent" blood on her hands for the first time, and freaks out a bit over it.
- Took a Level in Badass: Stands up much more for herself and in one episode kills a would-be rapist with a fork.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Has become harder and more ruthless in order to survive and to protect Scotland.Catherine: I liked the girl you were.
Mary: A lot of people did. She was easy to kill.
- As the result of her rape, Mary has taken a jerkass level with regards to her relationship with Francis, who she associates with the event due to his actions under Narcisse's blackmail.
- We Used to Be Friends: In regards to the young Mary, it has been said both that Catherine was kind to her and that they were close, and also that Catherine found her annoying and had her sent away.
- Wicked Stepmother: Defied. She comes to accept that Francis and Lola had a son together and is determined to not become as bitter as Catherine did over Bash. At the baby's christening, Mary is named his godmother.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Mary is beautiful and quite clever. However, several more experienced characters tell her she has to toughen up, become more cunning, and harden herself if she wants to become an effective ruler. Catherine explicitly tells her that she is a queen and she can't be seen being weak.Mary: Catherine, I beg of you.Catherine: You're a queen! Don't beg. It invites pity and disdain.
- Your Cheating Heart: In season one she kisses Bash and later comes to love him even if she loves Francis more and ends up marrying the latter.
- In season 2, following her rape, she runs into the arms of Louis of Condé and openly cheats on Francis with Louis with her husband's knowledge.
- Played by: Jenessa Grant
One of Mary's ladies, a sweet girl who comes from an extremely wealthy noble family.
- The Confidant: To Mary.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She's blonde and very kind and sweet.
- Lady-in-Waiting: To Mary.
- Nice Girl: The purest example of one on the show — Aylee is loving, caring, yet very morally steadfast.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Does anyone remember her?
- Only Sane Employee: The only one of Mary's ladies who seems to be really looking out for her interests or who has any real sense.
- Reverse Mole: She and Mary set up a plot that allowed Catherine to think she was blackmailing her into informing on Mary. Instead they were going to use this to pass false information to the Queen. Unfortunately this plotline went nowhere due to her death.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Killed by Clarissa in order to get Mary to flee the castle.
- Spoiled Sweet: Her family's very wealthy, but she's still a very kind girl who loves her friends.Lola: You're so modest, sometimes I forget your family owns half of Scotland.Aylee: Only the lower half.
- Sticky Fingers: Aylee is a kleptomaniac, and Catherine holds this over her head in order to spy on Mary. Subverted, this was intentional on her and Mary's part so Aylee could pass false information to her.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Nostradamus tells her this, resulting in fear and paranoia on her end.
Greer of Kinross
- Played by: Celina Sinden
Another of Mary's ladies, who comes from a wealthy but untitled family — who pressure her into finding a rich nobleman so they can be titled themselves.
- Arranged Marriage: Her parents found a husband for her but he rejects her when she's found kissing Leith. Instead, she becomes engaged to an older count who liked her and did her favors.
- Beta Couple: She and Leith get together with far less pomp and circumstance than Mary and Francis do.
- The Confidant: To Mary.
- Chocolate Baby: Her daughter takes more after her biological father appearance wise forcing Greer to say she adopted Rose as she's still married to Lord Castleroy at the time.
- My Secret Pregnancy: Initially she tells nobody about her pregnancy as she planned to give up the baby for adoption however the deal falls through. Mary finds out and arranges an jail break for Greer's husband so he would fulfill the father role.
- Defiled Forever: She didn't sleep with Leith, but when they're found kissing, her virtue comes into question and people start rumors about her.
- Gold Digger: Subverted. She's been sent by her family to marry into wealth and nobility but winds up falling for a kitchen boy.
- Hidden Depths: Greer is originally the girl of the group that is most likely to want to discuss clothing and makeup over all else, and she's well-meaning but essentially useless in helping Mary make any political decisions. She can come off as quite vapid (especially earlier on in the series), but she is in fact the most morally upright of all the girls, and she will all but throw herself under a moving carriage for her family, and especially for her younger sisters. Later, she extends this same protection to the prostitutes who work for her.
- Despite her original plans of marrying her way into money and nobility, which blow up disastrously, she turns out to have a head for business that not only gives her her own considerable income, but eventually gets her fully reinstated as a Queen's Lady, despite having been being thrown out in disgrace. It turns out that having a Madame serving the Crown is extremely useful.
- Lady-in-Waiting: To Mary.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: She has four younger sisters at home that are all relying on her to be the first in their family to marry into nobility, opening the door for them to also wed nobility.
- Nobility Marries Money: Her goal is to find a nobleman who'll wed her for her family's money — although the fact that her family is losing its money makes things a bit more complicated. She eventually becomes engaged to Castleroy, who, by his own admission, is "too rich to care."
- The Oldest Profession: After becoming disenfranchised, she manages to accidentally start a brothel, eventually embracing the trade and becoming an extremely successful Madame of a prospering business.
- Retcon: She starts the series as an apparently "ridiculously wealthy" girl whose family wants her to marry someone with a title to finally elevate their rank out of the merchant class, and she brings enough clothes and jewelry and silver with her to show what she can offer to a titled suitor. Slightly later on, she mentions that her family wealth is starting to wane, as the mines they depend on are playing out. By the end of the season it turns out her family is close to bankruptcy. It's possible that Greer's family spent every last penny to send her off to France in style, or that they lost the last of their money in the time Greer was at court, but it's more likely that the writers felt that they needed to make her situation in life more desperate.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Her whole character arc has been about finding the most secure, wealthy husband she can in order to provide for her family and she finds that in Castleroy. But then he unwittingly gives financial support to Protestant radicals, and they're stripped off all their lands, titles and incomes.
- Social Climber: By her own family's bidding.
- Tsundere: She acts very harsh to Leith, her love interest, at first, despite being a mild-mannered lady.
- Upper-Class Twit: Discussed when she tells Leith she hasn't ever eaten an egg someone else didn't cook for her.
- Her life and training as a Proper Lady come in handy at the most unlikely time: after being thrown out of the castle and left practically penniless, she befriends a whore to whom she loans clothes and teaches proper behavior, which leads to her friend being able to work at higher-class gatherings. More whores show up for Greer's tutelage, and soon enough she's running a high-class brothel.
- Uptown Girl: She doesn't have a title, but she's from a well-to-do family and is a Lady-In-Waiting to the queen of Scotland. Leith is merely a servant in the kitchens. They're eventually found out and separated.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: She attacks and quite possibly kills an Italian guardsman who tried to kill Leith.
- Played by: Caitlin Stasey
One of Mary's ladies, Kenna is noble-born, reckless, impulsive, the most aware of her beauty and is the most adept at using it to get what she wants. Despite her tendency to put her own interests first, she is still loyal to Mary and Scotland, at times even risking her life for them.
- Arranged Marriage: Is forced to wed Bash practically at swordpoint.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Well, her new lover already has a wife and mistress.
- The Confidant: To Mary.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Kenna is engaged in this when caught by an aroused Henry. They move on from there to making out.
- Hair Decorations: Very fond of jeweled headbands.
- Hidden Depths: Despite seeming vapid, she's very protective of Mary and willing to put herself at risk for Scotland. She's also the most perceptive of Mary's ladies, coming up with the plan to expose Catherine for attempting to kill Bash and being sharply observant enough to realize that Lola is pregnant with Francis's child.
- Hypocrite:Kenna: You can't love a servant, you simply can't! not that what I did was much better.
- Lady-in-Waiting: To Mary.
- Love Father, Love Son: After Henry forces her to marry his son Bash and some minor rough patches between the two, Kenna begins to feel affection for him. He's still a bit hung up on Mary at first, but he eventually reciprocates.
- Marriage Before Romance: With Bash.
- Meaningful Name: "Kenna" means "born of fire" (referring to her recklessness), or, perhaps more appropriately, "good-looking."
- The Mistress: To Henry until he forces her to marry Bash. This is actually advantageous to Mary, as Kenna's reputation allows her to move in and out of the king's chambers without arousing suspicion.
- Ms. Fanservice: Definitely shows off the most skin.
- Neutral Female: Pretty much stands off to the side during Bash's fight with the Darkness.
- Out of Focus: She more or less disappears after Season 2, which many fans suspect is due to Stasey's public condemnations of the storyline where Mary is raped, as well as other radical feminist statements.
- Parental Substitute: She shows a surprisingly motherly side to Pascal, with her being the only one he responds positively to.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Subverted. She reveals Diane's plot of legitimizing Bash to Catherine, nearly resulting in Aylee's poisoning. Aylee is still poisoned, but for a different reason.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Frequently hides letters and important documents there.
- Played by: Anna Popplewell
One of Mary's ladies, who comes from a noble and wealthy family. She's caring and thoughtful, but can lash out if upset.
- Accidental Murder: She accidentally impales Julien's uncle by pushing him off of Remy.
- Butt-Monkey: First, her love dies. Then she has a one-night stand and gets pregnant from it, meaning she has to find a husband very quickly in order to save face. When she finally gets married to a noble, he turns out to be a Gold Digger who was planning to ditch her as soon as he got her substantial dowry. He stays despite that because of his love for her, but then he turns out he's not really a noble but instead the dead noble's lowly secretary who took over the former's identity. She ends up planning to fake his death in order to cover up her Accidental Murder of Julien's uncle, meaning she has to return to court and face the probability of Francis finding out about his child.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': She slept with Francis once and ends up pregnant because of it. She's terrified this will; ruin her and cause her family shame. On a more serious note being part of assassination attempt against Queen Elizabeth while being regard as a welcomed guest in her court. Also the fact it wasn't done discretely made Lola get outed pretty quickly.
- Chocolate Baby: She fears that her baby would turn out fair-haired, like Francis when both she and her husband are dark-haired.
- The Confidant: To Mary.
- Character Death: Courtesy of the chopping block.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Was used as pawn by John Knox who forged letters she thought were from Mary leading her to cause an assassination attempt on Elizabeth.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: She spends a lot of time getting her brother out of trouble and paying his gambling debts.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: She goes to a woman who performs abortions but can't bring herself to go through with it.
- I Have No Son!: Her family disowns her after learning that she had an illegitimate son with Francis.
- Lady-in-Waiting: To Mary.
- Mama Bear: She betrays Narcisse when she learns that he threatened her son.
- Maternity Crisis: In the season one finale, her water breaks on the way to court, and any midwives are unavailable. The baby doesn't come easily, and she fears for her life.
- Meaningful Name: "Lady of sorrows fitting, as whenever it looks like she'll be fine, something comes up to negate it. Also the way she died was full of tragedy.
- My Secret Pregnancy: Initially she tells nobody about her pregnancy, but later confesses it to her friends. However the vast majority of the court doesn't know this, requiring her to find a husband that will marry her as soon as possible, to keep her from being forever ruined.
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Discussed when she mentions that she can't seem too eager to find a husband despite needing to.
- The Lost Lenore: She wanted to marry Colin, but when Queen Catherine strings him along with a plan to rape Mary, he's executed. It's the source of her grudge against Catherine.
- Trademark Favourite Food: Marzipan
- Surprise Pregnancy: Thanks to her one-night stand with Francis.
The French Royal Family
Henry de Valois
King of France
- Played by: Alan van Sprang
Husband to Catherine and ruler of France, Henry is a pragmatic, power-hungry man easily driven by primal instincts.
- Abusive Parents: At first he's just your standard use-your-children-as-pawns king, but later on his mistreatment of his children becomes more and more blatant. Eventually he reveals his own father wasn't much better — he'd once knowingly traded Henry and his brother as hostages to the Spanish for his own freedom, and gave them a lukewarm reception despite them being beaten and starved for three years.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: He and Catherine occasionally get moments where the hinted-at previous affection in their marriage gets to shine through.
- Broken Pedestal: To Francis.Francis: All this time I was growing up I thought he was the greatest man in France.
- Brutal Honesty: In contrast to Catherine, Henry is very blunt. Occasionally this is a good thing, as you know where he stands with you, rather than Catherine who could be smiling to your face and plotting your death in her head...
- The Caligula: Not at first, but as his Sanity Slippage worsens, he becomes more cruel and more power-hungry. He's also more prone to making blundering embarrassments.
- Demonic Possession: After the plague lets spirits into the world, he apparently possesses a nursemaid to get revenge on Francis. Turns out, it was a trick of Lord Narcisse to get leverage on Francis.
- Dirty Old Man: Carrying on with girls less than half his age.
- Drunk with Power: More and more so as the series progresses.
- Eye Scream: In the finale, a jousting accident injures him in the eye and some splinters find their way to his brain, leading to his death. note
- Famous Last Words: "God forgive me."
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: He's a big fan of this. He hires a high-class prostitute to have sex with Kenna in front of him and asks Mary, his daughter-in-law, to show Queen-for-a-day Penelope how to please a ruler while he watches.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Not at first, but as his Sanity Slippage progresses.
- Historical-Domain Character: Henry II of France.
- Jerkass: He'll step on anyone when it comes to getting what he wants, even his wife and children.
- Lack of Empathy: Develops this over time, even going as far as to wonder why everyone was dour at the joust after his stunt with the boat cannons got many people killed. But at the end of his life, he shows profound empathy and lucidity that he had never displayed before.
- Mission from God: He believes he's divinely chosen to rule England although this is strongly implied to be part of his mental illness.
- My Greatest Failure: He killed his older brother to become king, something that haunted him for the rest of his life.
- Offing the Offspring: He attempts to kill Francis off so he can marry Mary and use Scotland to help him conquer England.
- Parental Favoritism: Favored Bash over his legitimate sons, much to Catherine's displeasure.
- Sanity Slippage: Suffers from headaches that cause murderous outbursts. However, on his deathbed he gets a Dying as Yourself, tying up loose ends with his family.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: As his mental illness worsens, so does his behavior.
- War Is Glorious: Certainly seems to believe this, as he sees his plan to wage war on England as a Mission from God.
- Your Cheating Heart: Cheats on Catherine with Diane, cheats on Diane with Kenna, and Kenna isn't the first. The man is a serial skirt-chaser.
Catherine de' Medici
Queen Consort of France, Queen Dowager of France
- Played by: Megan Follows
Hailing from the rich, influential Medicis of Italy, Catherine keeps a watchful eye on court goings-on. She schemes to stop the marriage between Mary and Francis from happening due to a prophecy that the union will bring about Francis's death.
- All Men Are Perverts: Believes this, and gleefully exploits it in order to get information.Catherine: Men. It always works.
- Most of the time she's right, by the way.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: She and Henry occasionally get moments where the hinted-at previous affection in their marriage gets to shine through. Made explicit in the season one finale.Catherine: You were the love of my life.
- Made even more explicit in later series. She has affairs, but none of them ever last.
- Break the Haughty: Her sons are displaced in the line of succession, her husband puts her under house arrest, and her long-lost daughter tries to kill her two youngest sons.
- Break Them by Talking: Her second favorite tactic is to manipulate people through this trope.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Completely averted. She doesn't bat an eye at Henri's affairs because they've stopped being romantic partners a long time ago. She does care if his mistresses interfere with her plans or cause trouble at court.
- Consummate Liar: She's very silver-tongued.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially towards Diane and Marie de Guise, but also occasionally to her husband.
- Enemy Mine: Will occasionally team up with Mary to get rid of threats to France and Francis.
- Even Evil Has Standards: She's clearly shocked and disgusted at Henry's more disgusting deeds.
- Evil Matriarch: Married to Henry and mother of nine (likely ten) of his children. And right in the pilot she attempts to have Mary drugged and raped in order to spoil her value as a bride.
- Evil Mentor: To Mary after she stops trying to get rid of her.
- Foil: Initially, she's the older, seasoned, ruthless ruler to Mary's naive, sheltered, more innocent queen-in-the-making.
- Freudian Excuse: Was gang raped at the age of eight by the lackeys of a rival family and is in a loveless marriage.
- Girl in the Tower: After Henry puts her under house arrest.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: "In A Chill in the Air", Catherine blackmails Aylee so that she can get her hands on the letters between Mary and her mother, Marie de Guise. In "Leign Lord" Catherine orders a dozen of Mary's countrymen killed because she couldn't be bothered with the extra trouble of calming down two countries.
- Historical-Domain Character: Catherine de' Medici.
- Kick the Dog: Sending men, armed with swords to kidnap her son's former lover and mother of his child, not to mention kidnapping said child (which is still a tiny baby!), then not regretting any of it when discovered.
- Luxury Prison Suite: Ends up in one in Episode 10. Lampshaded and defied by Mary, who orders it stripped bare. An odd case, as in real life while she still held the title of Queen, Catherine would have been entitled to be held in some degree of comfort.
- Mama Bear: Will do anything to protect her family, and her actions in the series are motivated by her sons. She's even willing to team up with Mary if it means ensuring their safety. Clarissa is the sole exception. Justified since she didn't know that Clarissa was alive and when she did find out Clarissa was endangering her two youngest sons.
- Manipulative Bitch: She's very good at using feelings and money to manipulate people for her own gains. Other characters actually note her skill at this and even use it to their advantage.
- Master Poisoner: This is her favored solution to problems that won't go away on their own.
- My Beloved Smother: Francis loves her, but there's no doubt she's too invested in making sure his life goes the way she wants it.
Francis: (beneath the covers, kissing Mary, both beaming) I don't think I've ever been this happy in my entire life. How did you manage to keep it a secret from me for six weeks?Mary: Well, I didn't want it to interfere with the coronation. (Francis kisses her again and she laughs.) Or the christening. And it's still very early...Catherine: (bursting through the doors with no prior warning) Good morning! How is the happy trinity?Francis: No! Don't come in!Catherine: Father. Mother. Unborn son. Oh, I'm hoping for a son! Plenty of time for daughters later.Mary: How could you possibly know?Catherine: I'm familiar with the condition. And I've had my eye on you. Your waist, tiny as ever, though a bit queasy, here and there, no? Also, a few weeks ago I had your chamberpot tested. Well, it's the usual exam, it's horse urine. And wine. It's very reliable. And yesterday, one of my ladies; she was very touched by your rather joyous embrace at the water's edge.Mary: You've been having your spies follow us.Catherine: I was being discreet. (She then gathers up her skirts and joins them on the bed, to both of their discomfort.) (beaming) I was waiting to let you be the one to tell Francis.Mary: Francis?Francis: Mother, I thought that we might keep it a secret for now.Catherine: Nonsense.
- Nothing demonstrates this better than a conversation just after Mary has told Francis that she's pregnant...
- The Needs of the Many: She's willing to assassinate Henry if it means saving the lives of everybody involved in the pointless war he has planned.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: She's not very happy that Mary's going to become her daughter-in-law.Catherine: How do I control a daughter-in-law who's a Queen in her own right?!
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Catherine beats Diane to death with a coal scooper and then strangles her to death for killing her children.
- Put On The Bus: Subverted. She was going to be send away to a convent to save her life, but Henri decided to hold her prisoner to limit the chances that she would use her connections to make a comeback.
- Rich Bitch: Is well aware that her money practically runs France, and uses this to her advantage.
- Sanity Slippage: In season 2 she becomes highly preoccupied with the ghosts of Henri and their twin daughter, thus slowly losing her grip on reality.
- Sherlock Scan: She deduces the identity and motivation of her kidnapper without ever seeing or hearing him.
- The Spymaster: Catherine is very aware of what goes on in court that she can't see — not only thanks to her close ear to servants' gossip, but also thanks to her "Flying Squad" of ladies who seduce noblemen to learn secrets.
- That Thing Is Not My Child!: To Clarissa, causing the latter to completely flip.
- We Used to Be Friends: In regards to the young Mary, it has been said both that Catherine was kind to her and that they were close, and also that Catherine found her annoying and had her sent away.
- Your Cheating Heart: Henry accuses her of carrying on with Nostradamus, but both of them know this is false; he's just looking for excuses to divorce her. Although she did have an affair with the king's best friend years before giving birth to Francis, resulting in Clarissa.
Francis de Valois
Dauphin of France, King Consort of Scotland, later King of France
- Played by: Toby Regbo, Sean Treacy (young)
Firstborn son of Henry and Catherine and Mary's fiance. He and Mary quickly fall in love, but the circumstances surrounding their union are complicated by realpolitik, complex state affairs, and their own flaws.
- Arranged Marriage: He and Mary have been engaged since they were six, but his family seems to stall on this match, causing lots of drama.
- Berserk Button: Harming Mary is a very easy way to get the normally polite, well-mannered Francis to want to gut you. After his and Mary's marriage, the very sight of Bash sets him on edge, although this is remedied after Bash saves his life.
- Any mention of Mary's rape sets him on edge.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: Is very skilled with both.
- Broken Pedestal: Looked up to Bash, but certain events completely shattered this dynamic.
- The Casanova: Natalia, Mary, Olivia, Lola — like father, like son. Though, Francis is a bit nicer about it.
- Dead Guy Junior: He was named after Henry's brother, whom Henry had killed.
- Foregone Conclusion: His marriage to Mary, per history. And, according to Nostradamus note , his death.
- Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: With Mary in Episode 7, after the hostile takeover crisis has passed with both of them still alive.
- Greeneyed Monster: When Bash returns despite being in exile, Francis is consumed by anger and jealousy. This takes a notable toll on Mary.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He ends the first season knowingly traveling to a plague-ravaged village to bring help to Lola in her difficult childbirth, in what is likely the cause of his predicted early death.
- Historical Badass Upgrade: The historical Francis was weak and sickly, this one is more than capable of holding his own in a swordfight. Lampshaded on the show by Francis claiming that one bad portrait of him got out and convinced all of Europe that he's tiny and weak.
- Historical Beauty Update: Historical Francis was short and pasty faced. Show Francis is prettier than Mary.
- Historical-Domain Character: Francis II of France.
- The Hot Guy: see Mr. Fanservice below.
- I Owe You My Life: To Leith, who saves him at Calais and whom he eventually grants an estate to in thanks.
- Love Triangle: With Mary and Sebastian.
- Mr. Fanservice: Just LOOK at this man without a shirt on... try not to drool, ladies. Try.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: He decries the actions of his parents and promises Mary that he'll always put her over his country, but it's repeatedly shown that his loyalty and love truly belong to France.Francis: What happens when being a good king means being a bad husband?
- My God, What Have I Done?: Killing his father, which led to him being blackmailed by Narcisse into persecuting to Protestants, which led to Mary being raped by a Protestant radical in revenge. The last one is what really guts him.
- Odd Friendship: You wouldn't expect him and Bash to be friends what with Bash being a reminder of his father cheating on his mother and also being Henry's favorite, but they are.
- Patricide: Discusses Henry's assassination with Catherine and Mary. He eventually injures Henry in a jousting match, directly causing his death.
- Papa Wolf: He has an illegitimate son, John Philip, with Lola. While he was initially distant, after holding his son for the first time Francis loved him deeply and publicly claimed him. A sure-fire way to get on Francis's bad side is to threaten his son.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: He and Mary fall in love very quickly and genuinely.
- Pretty Boy: Slender build, golden curls, big blue eyes, the list goes on...
- The Promise: To Mary, that he will always put her above his duty to his country. His failure to keep it causes much tension between the two of them.
- Reunion Kiss: With Mary after his return from Calais.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He's actually quite concerned with the welfare of his people.
- Shipper on Deck: For Greer/Leith.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Becomes increasing ruthless in season 2, especially after realizing that his actions led to Mary's rape.
- Warrior Prince: Francis eventually joins the war against the English and proves himself to be quite the capable commander.
- We Used to Be Friends: He and Bash begin the series very close, but events change that. After their father's death, they reconcile.
- Wrong Name Outburst: Olivia visibly gives up on Catherine's plot when she tells the latter that Francis cried out Mary's name in the "height of passion." Awkward.
Elizabeth de Valois
Queen Consort of Spain
- Played by: Caoimhe O'Malley
Henri and Catherine's second child and eldest daughter. She was married in the first episode.
- Alpha Bitch: Her role in Season Four. She exists purely to fuck up Catherine's shit. Averted entirely in that Catherine is able to work this to her advantage in the final episode of Season Four by getting her daughter basically banished from French Court to keep her safe.
- Bit Character: She leaves for Spain with her new husband soon after their wedding, and so doesn't have much of a role.
- Like Mother, Like Daughter: As much as she claims to be "pious", Elizabeth is as just as much a bitch as her mother is. Of course, Catherine still rules the roost in the scale of "bitch".
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: She and King Philip of Spain seem to really like each other. Their historical counterparts were known to have a happy marriage.
- The Bus Came Back: Comes back in Season Four.
Claude de Valois
- Played by: Rose Williams
Henry and Catherine's third child and second daughter, a reckless, provocative troublemaker.
- Age Lift: The historical Claude was around 12 in this timeframe, but the character is a teenager.
- Arranged Marriage: Catherine sets her up with one, which Claude deliberately sabotages. Mary then sets her up with Condé, which Francis gets her to agree to, but that falls through too. However in season 4 she marries Luc Narcisse.
- BrotherSister Incest: Heavily implied that she used to be in a relationship with Bash, which is the source of her jealousy towards Kenna.
- Composite Character: Shares similarities with real-life sister Margaret, Henry and Catherine's youngest daughter. Unlike Claude, who was Catherine's favorite, Margaret was a famous beauty who had affairs and was punished for what her parents considered bad behavior.
- Creepy Child: Implied to have killed her baby sisters as a child out of jealousy. Subverted when it's revealed that Claude had nothing to do with her sisters' deaths.
- Hello, Nurse!: Her Establishing Character Moment has her getting the attention of the palace guards and clearly enjoying it.
- Historical Beauty Update: Historical Claude was hunchbacked and had a club foot. This iteration seems more like your classic bratty prom queen.
- Historical-Domain Character: Claude of Valois.
- Ms. Fanservice: Wears tight, low-cut dresses.
- Princesses Prefer Pink: One of two princesses shown (the other, her sister Elisabeth, was married in the pilot) and to emphasize how insouciant and girly she is we see her in a pink prom dress, a pink fur coat...
- Really Gets Around: Implied as much when we see her schmooze a bishop and allude to a previous relationship with Bash.
- Royal Brat: A flighty, petty, slightly immature princess.
- The Unfavorite: She believes Catherine sees her as this, unaware that Catherine is just trying to protect her.
Charles and Henry de Valois
- Played by: Peter DaCunha and Spencer Mac Pherson (Charles) and Jackson Hodge-Carter and Nick Slater (Henry).
Henry and Catherine's youngest sons.
- Age Lift: The historical Charles was only ten years old when he assumed the throne after his brother's death, but is a teenager here.
- Arranged Marriage: Charles is betrothed to a nobleman's daughter early in the series.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: They seem to get along swimmingly.
- Children Are Innocent: Both of them. Charles in particular is friendly with Clarissa.
- Doomed by Canon: Charles' storyline in Season 3 centers around Mary and Francis trying to keep him from falling under Catherine's influence, when history tells us that he eventually did after becoming king, being manipulated into arranging a massacre of the Hugenots that caused him to have a mental breakdown from the guilt and die at age 23.
- Drug Addict: When his girlfriend drips opium, she has a fit. Charles, on the other hand, has apparently injected opium so frequently that he's not even slightly woozy.
- Historical-Domain Character: Charles IX and Henry III of France.
- Morality Pet:
- For Catherine. For their sakes, she's willing to play nice with Mary.
- For Bash, who, despite some misgivings, makes it a point to be nice to them despite displacing them in the line of succession.
- Sanity Slippage: In Season Four he's... not entirely sane.
Emone and Henrietta de Valois
- Played by: Madison Oldroy (Emone) and Ava Preston (Henrietta)
The young twin daughters of the royal family, who tragically died as infants.
- Always Identical Twins: Averted. They were fraternal twins. Even as babies Catherine could see the differences between them. Their personalities are also different, with Emone being the quieter twin and Henrietta being the more outspoken one.
- Creepy Child: They're ghosts who look like young girls and want to kill their older sister.
- Daddy's Girl: They spent a lot of their time with Henri's ghost and he tells Catherine to forget about their living children in favor of the twins.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: They're based on Joan and Victoria, the historical Valois twins who died in infancy.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Though dead, they aged like normal children and can appear to Catherine whenever they please.
- Sadistic Choice: They told Catherine to kill Claude or they would do it for her.
The French Court
Sebastian "Bash" de Poitiers
- Played by: Torrance Coombs
Henry's bastard son with Diane, who lives at court with his favor. At the onset of the series, he and his younger half-brother Francis are extremely close, but Mary's arrival drives a wedge between the two of them.
- Arranged Marriage: Henry eventually forces him to marry Kenna.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Isobel.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: Is very skilled with both.
- Butt-Monkey: He's the one who suffers most because of Nostradamus' prophecy. Mary and Diane plot to make him king, which he doesn't want to be. Francis becomes bitter and angry with him and Catherine makes several attempts on his life. The pagans become increasingly dangerous and he has to be the one to deal with it because he most understands them. His young cousin dies in childbirth and he has to hide the child or people will think she's his. Mary, whom he fell in love with, came close to marrying him, but then marries his brother anyway and his father forces him to watch their consummation. Then he's exiled to protect him from French nobles who are angry at him for trying to displace Francis in the line of succession. He doesn't leave, however, because his father forces him to marry Kenna at swordpoint.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: He always helps innocent people in distress, whatever the risk.
- Deadpan Snarker: The worst things get for him, the more sarcastic he seems to become.
- The Exile: After Francis and Mary wed, they arrange for him to be spirited away to Spain, never to return. He doesn't follow through.
- Heroic Bastard: The son of Henry and his mistress.
- Love Triangle: With Francis and Mary. Doubles as Sibling Triangle.
- Odd Friendship: With Francis.
- Reluctant Ruler: He only takes on the role of Dauphin to save Francis's life and so he can have a chance with Mary, but he clearly doesn't enjoy it.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With Francis.
- Suddenly Suitable Suitor: Courting Mary would cause plenty of repercussions because he's illegitimate and she's a queen. Now, if he were legitimized...
- Unable to Support a Wife: As a bastard, he's landless, without a title, and only lives as he does due to the king's favor, making him a very unsuitable suitor. After he marries Kenna, he gets an estate and a (granted, imaginary) title.
- Unexpected Successor: There are attempts to have him replace Francis as heir apparent so Mary can avoid marrying him and causing his death. Francis eventually takes backs his place as crown prince, so ultimately subverted.
- We Used to Be Friends: He and Francis begin the series very close, but events change that.
- Killed Offscreen: According to The Wordof God in an article after the series finale aired the reason why Bash didn't help Mary escape her ultimate fate was because he died prematurely while with the dryads. If the show would gotten another season then Bash wouldn't had this fate.
Diane de Poitiers
- Played by: Anna Walton
The King's mistress and Bash's mother. Due to her status, she is considered as much a fixture at French court as Catherine is. Like Catherine, she is cold and pragmatic — and will do anything for her son.
- Age Lift: She was well into her fifties at the time the show is set.
- The Bus Came Back: Returns in Banished after being invited by Bash.
- Character Death: Catherine murders her in a fit of rage after realizing that Diane had murdered her twin daughters.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: In the past, she considered herself and Bash to be Henri's real family, and Catherine and her brood purely political hangers-on. So after Henri had plenty of heirs, she was not happy to learns that he was still sleeping with Catherine. After learning that Catherine had given birth to Emone and Henrietta, Diane opened the nursery window while Henri took the nanny to bed so that the infant princesses would freeze to death.
- Historical-Domain Character: Diane de Poitiers
- Historical Villain Upgrade: Oh so much. Historically, her greatest crime was to be the mistress of another woman's husband, and there is no proof of any jealousy on her part toward Catherine; in fact she helps settle this particular marriage, and even pushed Henry to visit his wife's bed and treat her with respect.
- I Have No Son!: Inverted. After figuring out that she killed Catherine's twins, Bash cuts her off and commands her to leave the castle because he never wants to see her again.
- Mama Bear: Set up both Catherine and Francis to be killed in order to protect Sebastian.
- Manipulative Bitch: She doesn't get as many chances to show it, but she's just as scheming as Catherine. She was the one who informed Vincent that the king would be away, allowing for his hostile takeover, and she plots to make him king.
- The Mistress: To Henry.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Catherine beats her to death with a coal scooper and then strangles her to death for killing her children.
- Pet the Dog: Catherine offers her the opportunity to get rid of Kenna by poisoning her. She destroys the poison. Unfortunately Clarissa poisons the drink anyway, resulting in Aylee's death.
- Revenge by Proxy: She wanted to make Henri suffer for sleeping with Catherine again by killing his youngest daughters.
- Unbalanced by Rival's Kid: Bash recalls how she shattered a window in a fit of rage when she learned that Henri got Catherine pregnant again despite already having plenty of heirs.
- Would Hurt a Child: Turns out she is responsible for the deaths of Emone and Henrietta, Catherine's daughters, due to jealousy of the fact that Henry continued to sleep with his wife after promising not to.
- Played by: Rossif Sutherland
The court magician and go-to guy for any illness or injury. He sometimes receives visions that predict the future.
- Age Lift: The real Michel de Nostredame was in his fifties at the time the story was set.
- Blessed with Suck: Seeing the future means seeing terrible thing happen to people and inadvertently causing a lot of drama.
- Carpet of Virility: Subverted. He has one, but he's in no way sexual or lecherous.
- Exact Words: His prophecy to Catherine stated that Mary's presence would cause the death of Catherine's firstborn, causing Catherine to attempt to get rid of Mary for Francis's sake. But Clarissa was born before Francis however, he gets another vision that tells him Francis will die anyway.
- Historical-Domain Character: Michel de Nostredame, aka Nostradamus.
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies: He sends Olivia to the New World to protect her from court.
- The Lost Lenore/Outliving One's Offspring: He had a wife and family once, but they died.
- The Medic: Pretty much serves as this for the French court. He concocts several herbal remedies and poisons.
- Second Love: He gets one in Olivia, whom he nurses back to health after her attack.
- Seers: Has visions.
- Undying Loyalty: To Catherine, to whom he gives advice and visions and who he breaks out of prison. Subverted, in that its more about fear than genuine loyalty.
- Played by: Luke Roberts
An English diplomat residing at French court.
- Played by: Yael Grobglas
A former lover of Francis's who returns to court.
- The Baby Trap: Catherine tells her to get pregnant with Francis's child so he won't leave her.
- The Bus Came Back: Until Nostradamus sent her away to the New World to start a new life, at which point she's Put on a Bus again.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: To Francis.
- Dirty Coward: Her role in Episode 7's escape plot was to stand in a hidden passageway to the underground tunnel to let everyone in. She let in Francis and the servants but lost her nerve waiting for Mary and her ladies and attempted to flee. Part of it was jealousy over Francis's feelings for Mary.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Her and Nostradamus's talks about reclaiming her body and rejoining society.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: She falls in love with Nostradamus after he nursed her back to health from the Darkness's attack on her.
- The Mistress: Attempts to become this for Francis, but he politely declines.
- New Old Flame: She and Francis were involved prior to the series, and Catherine has her brought back in order to invoke this trope.
- Old Flame Fizzle: Catherine's plot doesn't work because Olivia acknowledges that Francis loves Mary more.
- Romantic False Lead: Brought back to court by Catherine to distract Francis from Mary. Doesn't work.
- Put on a Bus to Hell: When she ran away from her post, she dropped her candle and disappeared. She was apparently found and tortured by the pagans to the point of insanity. She gets better.
- Played by: Kathryn Prescott
A servant girl who wins the annual "Queen of the Bean" contest — any woman who finds a bean in her cake becomes queen for a day. However, Henry quickly becomes fond of her, and she becomes a fixture of the court for far longer than one day — much to everyone's embarrassment.
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: She becomes haughty and patronizing after Henri makes her "queen". Before, she was a reasonably nice servant girl.
- The Baby Trap: Attempted, but it doesn't work because Henri just plans for her to be sent away. She wasn't even really pregnant.
- Bound and Gagged: She's a BDSM enthusiast. It's how she got Henri so interested in her.
- Break the Haughty: Catherine brings a bishop to walk in on her and Henri while they're in a particularly blasphemous position. Because France needs the Vatican's support, she is sent back to the kitchens.
- Insistent Terminology: Queen Penelope.
- The Mistress: King Henry's newest squeeze.
- Princess for a Day: Queen for a day, rather — she's a servant girl who wins a contest to become this. She's reluctant to return to her servant life, causing her to pull stunts in order to avoid this.
- Put on a Bus: Catherine sends her to Italy in order to learn proper upper-class behavior so she can become a member of Catherine's "flying squad."
- Rags to Royalty: It was meant to be a one-day thing, but Henri became obsessed with her and made her a fixture at court.
- Small Name, Big Ego: A servant girl who won Queen of the Bean, she quickly becomes full of herself. Catherine is not pleased.
- Smug Snake: She thinks she can take on Catherine at court intrigue, but her schemes are hardly even worth the effort of trying to stop.
- Played by: Katie Boland
A mysterious woman who resides in the castle's secret passage.
- Ambiguously Evil: On the one hand is protective of Mary. On the other hand is willing to kill an innocent lady-in-waiting as part of that protective instinct.
- Bastard Bastard: Although portrayed (mostly) sympathetically, she's still Catherine's illegitimate daughter willing to murder and turn on her biological family.
- Big Sister Instinct: To Mary, for reasons unknown. And to her half-brothers, the Princes Charles and Henry, at least before she turns on Catherine.
- Character Death: Mary hits her in the head with a rock to stop her from killing Queen Catherine's younger children, and they left her for dead. However she gets killed off for real a season later.
- Doorstop Baby: To Nostradamus's family.
- Due to the Dead: Averted. The guards tasked with burying her body toss her over the side of a hill hoping the snows will cover her however she wasn't dead that time. After being killed off for real it's assumed Bash buried her somewhere
- The Faceless: Wears a burlap sack over her head.
- The Grotesque: Due to experiments to remove a port-wine stain on her face which made her look far worse than she originally did.
- Madwoman in the Attic: Implied to be somehow deformed or horrific of appearance (thus the burlap sack and hidden existence).
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: She just wanted Catherine to love her and invite her into the family, but when Catherine harshly rejects her, Clarissa decides to kill her two youngest brothers so Catherine will know what it's like to be alone. Fortunately for the boys, she doesn't succeed.
- Mysterious Protector: To Mary, whom she looks out for and saves from dangerous situations. She lives in the secret passages in the castle and most of the court don't even know she exists.
- Mysterious Waif: She's a young girl.
- Neck Snap: Does this to an unfortunate servant girl she found cavorting in Catherine's chamber.
- Strong Family Resemblance: She has a port-wine stain like her father, which is why Catherine sent her away.
Lord Stéphane Narcisse
- Played By: Craig Parker
A powerful French nobleman who comes into conflict with Mary and Francis. He first appears in season 2.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Willing to let the whole country starve to get more power over Francis.
- Break the Haughty: After having a crisis of conscience, he ends up Francis's prisoner, having to do what Francis commands in hopes of not getting executed.
- The Bluebeard: People wonder what happened to his three — later four — dead wives. But then subverted when it turns to be a regular Cartwright Curse. He appears to have genuinely cared about his wives and mourns his fourth wife, Estelle, even though she tried to run away from him.
- The Lost Lenore: All of his wives counts but Lola holds more of an special place regarding this title.
- The Dreaded: None of the other nobles will stand up to him or doing anything he might not like. Even his wife is terrified of him.
- Hidden Depths: He muses on all the loss in his life with Lola, showing a very vulnerable side for once.
- Jerkass: It's as if he only speaks in veiled insults/threats.
- The Rival: To Francis. Francis holds power as king, but his power derives from the fealty of his nobles, all of whom fear Narcisse.
- Ship Tease: He starts taking an interest in Lola, of all people, after a tender moment over the body of his fourth wife.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: He believes Francis and Mary's ideals of treating everyone fairly and always being just will bring France to ruin.
- You Killed My Father: Mary had his son thrown into a cell filled with plague victims after he murdered an entire household to hide the secret of his dirty dealings with Vatican. Narcisse was determine to bring her and her husband down. However he focused his vengeance on Elizabeth after Lola's murder even succeeding in murdering Gideon.
Louis de Bourbon
Prince of Conde
- Played by: Sean Teale
A French prince of the blood and cousin to Francis who befriends Mary in the second season.
- Adaptational Heroism: Played with. The real life Louis Bourbon may have been behind the plot to abduct Francis to get him away from the influence of the House of Guise.
- Adapted Out: Not Louis, obviously, but his real life wife and children — it is heavily implied Louis is single in the series, whereas his real life counter part had four children by 1559.
- Age Lift: A slight one, but the historical Louis was 28-29 during the 1558-1559 period, whereas in Reign, his actor is 22.
- The Confidant: He helps Mary with many of her plans and is always available to help her. More so than Francis even, as of season two.
- False Confession: Despite being Catholic, he claims to be a Protestant to stall an edict that would force all French citizens to proclaim their faith and to inspire actually Protestant nobles to do the same. It's not enough to stop the edict though.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Hardly anyone calls him Louis. His last name is actually Bourbon. Prince of Conde is actually his title although his descendants took it as their family name.
- Historical-Domain Character: Louis de Bourbon was an actual person.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Toyed with. From the Valois perspective, the real Louis de Bourbon, a Huguenot leader who fought against the crown was a traitor. From the Huguenot perspective, he was indeed a hero of the cause. The series shows him to be rather a tad bit more heroic than his historically duplicitous self, as he loyally serves the crown for a while, and frequently aids Mary before falling in love with her.
- Ladykiller in Love: After falling for Mary, he finds it hard to be involved with any other woman.
- The Mole: He was sent to spy on Francis, but as his feelings for Mary grew he couldn't bring himself to align against her countries and loved ones.
- Nice Guy
- Platonic Life-Partners: With Mary. Not so platonic on his side as it turns out.
- Really Gets Around: Never shown with the same girl on his arm twice.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: As Francis's cousin, he's a "prince of the blood" but not adverse to getting his hands dirty if need be.
- Your Cheating Heart: Known for having affairs with married women.
Jean-Philippe de Valois-Angouleme
Baron of Vallie
The infant bastard son of Francis and Lola.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Oh, so averted. His birth complicates a lot of things and his parents aren't even together anymore, though they are still friends.
- Birth/Death Juxtaposition: He's born in the same episode that a plague ravages France, killing off thousands of people.
- Chocolate Baby: Averted. Lola was worried that he might inherit some of Francis's features, but that's rendered null when Francis publicly claims him.
- Dead Guy Junior: Subverted. Lola initially called him Robert after her deceased brother, but Francis renamed him at his christening.
- Protectorate: To his mother and father.
- Walking Spoiler: More like Crawling Spoiler, but the very fact that he was born spoils a significant part of the show.
Other Nobles and Royals
Prince of Portugal
- Played by: Manolo Cordona
A legitimized bastard of the King of Portugal who seems to have an eye for Mary.
- Bad Boss: To his servants.
- Bastard Bastard: There are rumors of how he abuses his servants. That is just the tip of the iceberg.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He appears kind, charming, and suave, but is really abusive, possessive, and manipulative.
- Character Death: Francis kills him during a fight.
- Domestic Abuse: He becomes cruel to Mary after their engagement is finalized, and it's implied he would have gone on to do this had he lived to marry her.
- Romantic False Lead: Appears to be everything Mary needs when Francis can't provide, and it gets to the point where Francis himself advises Mary to marry Tomas for Scotland. It doesn't work out.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Revealed to have this attitude.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He shoots a servant and rationalizes it by this trope.
- Played by: Michael Aronov
An Italian count who has less than savory reasons for visiting the French court.
- Played by: Michael Therriault
A nobleman heavily involved in the spice trade who falls for Greer.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Does everything within polite bounds to get Greer to like him.
- MayDecember Romance: Is visibly older than Greer is. And he actually has a daughter her age, who unluckily enough takes up with Greer's ex.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Said daughter ended up dead after taking shelter with the wrong family during the plague outbreak due to being poisoned
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: He offers Leith an apprenticeship on Greer's behalf, knowing it will make her happy, and gracefully accepts her engagement. He also pleads with Henry to reduce Leith's sentence when he is caught with Greer.
- Put on a Bus: In season two, after He's revealed to be Protestant. This indirectly leads to Greer becoming a madam... and taking up with Leith again.
- The Bus Came Back: After learning of Greer's pregnancy and knowing she was still married. Mary organized a jail breakout for him.He accepts Greer's daughter as his own and even moves to Scotland with them however knowing that he and Greer grew apart while he was in prison. They quietly separate.
- Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: The Rich to Leith's Poor.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Pepper. Mary's ladies claim he can redirect any conversation topic to the spices. They're probably right — Greer brings up Virgil, and he manages to make the conversation about pepper.
- Uncle Pennybags: According to him, he's "too rich to care" about Greer's situation. When they become engaged, he provides a substantial dowry for all of Greer's sisters.
Marie de Guise
Queen Regent of Scotland
- Played by: Amy Brenneman
Mary's mother, who rules Scotland in her stead.
- Balancing Death's Books: She dies in Francis's place due to a spell cast by Delphine. To make it even more tragic, Francis doesn't last much longer before some Protestant radicals kill him.
- Damsel in Distress: Her castle is besieged by Protestant rebels.
- Deadpan Snarker: Gets in a witty line or two despite only appearing in one episode.
- Historical-Domain Character: Mary of Guise.
- Manipulative Bitch: On par with Catherine even! She bribes a messenger to claim Mary Tudor had died in order to force Henry to Altar the Speed with Francis and Mary, and willingly sells out Scotland to France so that she can have money to help stave off her own Protestant enemies.
Lord Julien Vartos
- Played by: Giacomo Gianniotti
A Hungarian nobleman that Greer's family attempts to set her up with.
- Arranged Marriage: With Greer. However, he spurns her after he catches her with Leith, and later marries Lola.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: Apparently his family are bad people and that's all he's saying on the matter. It's also why he cut ties with them, resulting in him being disinherited. Except that's a lie, and the real reason they fell out of contact was that Lord Julien had actually died.
- Dead Person Impersonation: The real Lord Julien has been Dead All Along, and the one we see is actually his secretary Remy, who'd taken over his identity when Julien died in a fire.
- Death by Childbirth: Both his previous wives died this way.
- Gold Digger: It's at first heavily implied, and later confirmed, that he married for money.
- Impoverished Patrician: He supposedly married Lola for her money because he cut ties with his family and thus had no money. Subverted when it's revealed he's not even noble at all.
- Red Herring: For a few episodes, it's hinted that he married his other wives for money before killing them and planned the same fate for Lola, prompting Kenna and Bash to investigate, but he turns out to be a decent person. He did marry Lola for her money, but he didn't plan to hurt her because he grew to love her.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Subverted. He planned to leave Lola because he didn't want to face the shame of admitting his poverty to her, but he manned up, told her the truth, and swore to stay by her side.
- Social Climber: Remy took over the real Julien's life when he died because of the money, title, and distant family.
- Understanding Boyfriend: Agrees to marry Lola despite her pregnancy because he has a past of his own.
Queen of England
- Played by: N/A
The current queen of England. Her death threatens to spark a Succession Crisis, and without her sister Elizabeth (declared a bastard in the eyes of the Catholic Church), the next blood relation (or the only relation that is Catholic) capable of inheriting England is Mary Stuart herself — something King Henry is very aware of.
- The Ghost: She never appears on-screen.
- Historical-Domain Character: Mary Tudor.
- Ill Girl: She's dying throughout the first season, and finally does die near the end.
- One Steve Limit: Averted, she and Mary Stuart share a first name; she is always referred to as "Mary Tudor" in dialogue to differentiate the two.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Actually no role, big impact. With her death close at hand Mary has a claim to the English throne and Henry wants her to marry Francis as soon as possible so the French have a reason to bring England under their rule.
- Succession Crisis: Staunch Catholic Mary is ill and without issue. Upon her death, the throne would pass to her younger sister Elizabeth — but the Catholic Church won't stand for a Protestant bastard inheriting the throne, so they put pressure on her cousin Mary to stake a claim. note
Christian de Guise
Duke of Guise
- Played by: Gil Darnell
A maternal uncle of Mary's and commander of one of Europe's largest armies. Mary enlists his help in aiding her mother.
- Ambition Is Evil: He was cast out of French court prior to the series. He agrees to help Mary because he gets to become Francis's second-in-command when he becomes king.
- Back for the Dead: He reappears in The End of Mourning only to be assassinated by Catherine on the false evidence that he was the one who poisoned King Henry, having been framed by Narcisse.
- Badass Army: He created his own private army of soldiers loyal only to him.
- The Bus Came Back: He reappears in The End of Mourning with the explanation he ran from the plague to safety in another part of the country.
- The Dreaded: He has a fearsome reputation both militarily and politically.
- Historical-Domain Character: Francis, Duke of Guise.
- Manipulative Bastard: He plays both Mary's desperation and Henry's paranoia to the hilt in order to come out on top.
- Number Two: The price for hiring his army is becoming this to Francis when he becomes king.
- One Steve Limit: Played straight. The historical Duke of Guise at the time of Henry's rule was named Francis, but is named Christian here.
- Put on a Bus: He disappears in the first episode of the second season without a reason.
- The Scapegoat: He was framed by Narcisse for poisoning King Henry, an act which was actually committed by Antoine of Navarre, in order to get him out of the way of Narcisse's plans to bring down Francis.
- Thicker Than Water: Subverted. Family loyalty wasn't enough to get him on Mary's side, a fact she was already well aware of.
House of Medici
- Played by: Nancy Palk (Francesca), Evan Sabba (Pietro), Matthew McFadzean (Roman), Shauna MacDonald (Hortenza)
Catherine's family, an illustrious and influential Italian clan. Some of their members appear over the course of the series, often to pay visit to Catherine.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: When it becomes clear that Henry isn't going to let up in attempting to divorce Catherine, Francesca and Pietro give her poison and tell her to end her life, telling her that it would be more dignified than being executed by Henry.
- Brutal Honesty: They're quick to speak their minds no matter how insensitive the topic is.
- Face Death with Dignity: Francesca and Pietro mention this trope when talking about Catherine's imprisonment and probable execution.Pietro: They say one or two of Henry VIII's wives practiced laying their head on the block so they could practice facing the end with dignity.
- Historical-Domain Character: They are based on the real-life House of Medici, although the members who appear do not seem to be based on any specific historical figures.
- Love Triangle: Catherine alludes to Hortenza being upset that Henry married her instead of Hortenza.
- Off with His Head!: Hortenza is beheaded so Mary can cover up her kidnapping of Catherine.
- Rich Bitch: They're very rich and very haughty.
- The Scapegoat: When she is kidnapped, Catherine demands that she'd pay the mercenary double if he'd bring her the mastermind's head. Desperate to cover this up, Mary orders Hortenza killed and a forged letter incriminating her.
- Those Two Guys: First Francesca and Pietro, and then later Hortenza and Roman, hang around Catherine and comment on the state of her affairs.
- Played by: Rachel Skarsten
Mary Tudor's younger sister. Elizabeth is a Protestant, declared illegitimate by the Catholic church. note However, Mary Tudor declares her next-in-line to the English throne. That coupled with Henry's mad desire to rule England makes him announce that he will back Elizabeth's cousin Mary Stuart's claim instead.
- The Ghost: Since the story is set in France, Elizabeth is only mentioned in dialogue. until she appears at the end of the season 2 finale.
- Historical-Domain Character: Elizabeth I.
- Really Gets Around: The "Virgin Queen" image is very much just for publicity in this show, as she had several dalliances in her youth and is carrying on an affair with a married courtier.
- Spoiled Brat: She cares far more about hanging onto her current lover than running the country.
Antoine de Bourbon
King of Navarre
- Played by: Ben Aldridge
Brother of Louis, Prince of Condé, and husband of Jean III of Navarre, Antoine is the King of Navarre by marriage and the head of the House of Bourbon, making him a French prince of the Blood, and in line for the French throne after the House of Valois.
- Age Lift: In 1558-1559 (when the second season is presumably set), the real Antoine was 40 years old. His actor is 30.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Appears in France in order to gain aid for French Protestants who fled to Navarre, when in reality its to spy on the French court himself. It also turns out he poisoned King Henry.
- Historical-Domain Character: Antoine, King of Navarre.
- Revenge: His motivation against King Henry and Bash in particular is because of the murder of his brother, Marcus, which essentially boils down to the Valois-Bourbon feud.
- Revengeby Proxy: Wants to get back at Bash for killing his brother, Marcus, and seduces Kenna to do this.
- Played by: Jonathan Kelz
A kitchen boy who befriends, and eventually falls in love with, Greer.
- Beta Couple: With Greer.
- Entitled to Have You: His interactions with Greer in the season finale have shades of this — he pressures her to ditch Castleroy, her fiance, and marry him even if he cannot provide for her. When she says she can't, he takes it harshly and basically dumps her and tells her he'll become rich and powerful to spite her.
- Nice Guy: Friendly and caring — at least before his Took a Level in Jerkass moment.
- Rescue Romance: After being rejected by Greer, he starts a romance with a woman he'd saved from an aggressive guardsman, unaware that she's actually the daughter of the man he just lost out to.
- Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: The Poor Suitor to Castleroy's Rich Suitor.
- Satellite Love Interest: Is given very little characterization besides "the servant Greer fell in love with."
- Suddenly Suitable Suitor: Played with. After gaining lands from Francis he sees himself as this to Greer. She sets him straight — it's still not enough to pay her family's debts and ensure good marriages for her sisters.
- A Taste of the Lash: After he is caught kissing Greer he's subjected to a whipping.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: While he was mostly friendly and unassuming before, on his return from Calais he gets some of this; see above.
- Uptown Girl: Greer's from a wealthy family and he's a servant. Then later Claude
- The One That Got Away: Both to Greer and Claude although only Claude is aware of him being married while Greer has left France and hasn't talked to him since their slightly ugly breakup
- Played by: Amy Forsyth
Sebastian's maternal cousin, a young pagan woman whose father and lover (and father of her daughter) were killed for being traitors.
- Death by Childbirth: She gives birth to a daughter, but dies shortly after due to excessive bleeding.
- Imperiled in Pregnancy: The carriage she, Bash, and Mary are in is attacked. She lives to give birth, though.
- Instant Birth: Just Add Water!: It doesn't seem to take that long.
- Maternity Crisis: Her water breaks on the way to the midwife — most inconveniently, too, as they were riding through the blood wood at the time.
- Motherly Side Plait: She wears her hair in one while not giving birth; fitting due to her pregnancy.
- Protectorate: Both she and her baby are this to Bash.
- Played by: Lucius Hoyos
A young boy attacked by "the Darkness" whom Bash later finds in the woods.