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Recap / Blackadder S 1 E 4 The Queen Of Spains Beard

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With kingdoms all over Europe joining forces and waging wars with each other, Britain needs to find a new ally quickly. The best way of doing this, of course, is through an arranged marriage. Unfortunately, the only heir to the throne, Prince Harry, has already been engaged to several princesses (and one prince). With no way to forge a new alliance, all hope seems lost for the House of York...

Wait, the king has another son?!


With another prince, another alliance is made possible. The royal officials quickly make plans for wedding between Edmund Blackadder, Duke of Edinburgh, with the Spanish Infanta. Only as it turns out, the deal might not be as beneficial to Edmund as it seemed...

  • Abhorrent Admirer: The Infanta isn't exactly what the tales made her out to be, to say the least.
  • All for Nothing: Baldrick succeeds in bedding the Infanta... except it turns out she already wasn't a virgin, and anyway, only one of them has to be one for the marriage to be valid.
  • Altar Diplomacy: King Richard's attempts at diplomacy via political marriage drive the plot. Edmund is forced to marry the Infanta, and later Princess Leia of Hungary, in order to secure key alliances. Harry's multiple engagements likely exist for similar reasons.
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  • Altar the Speed: Edmund attempts to marry a peasant woman to get out of the marriage, only for her to be already married to an Ax-Crazy farmer.
  • Arranged Marriage: Edmund and the Infanta, then Edmund and Leia. Oh, and Harry and nearly every other princess (and one prince) in Europe.
  • Bed Trick: Baldrick goes to the Infanta letting her believe he's Edmund, in order to see to it she's not a virgin.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: The Queen reveals an embarrassing habit of Englishmen while chatting with the Infanta.
    "Well, they spend most of their time with animals, you know, and with other men."
  • Camp Gay: The Earl of Doncaster, apparently.
  • The Casanova: Harry. Mostly because the King has betrothed virtually every eligible princess (and one Duke) in Europe to him, but his wives-to-be don't seem to mind it too much. After all these are purely political marriages without any personal factor.
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  • Comically Missing the Point: During the wedding ceremony the Archbishop gets annoyed by Don Speekingleesh's loudly translating the vows into Spanish, and yells at him to shut up. Speekingleesh then turns around and yells "Silencio!" at the crowd.
  • Deus ex Machina: Just as Edmund and the Infanta are about to be pronounced man and wife, the messenger bursts in, announcing that Spain has already made peace with the Swiss and allied with France, leaving England without allies in Europe, unless they make an immediate pact with Hungary.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Edmund tries to feign homosexuality, with predictable results.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Played for laughs. Edmund is repeatedly told how attractive the Infanta is, when in fact she's so unappealing that given the choice, Edmund would probably have married Don Speekingleesh over her,
  • May–December Romance: Edmund ends up with Princess Leia (no, not that Leia!) of Hungary, who is supposedly very young and beautiful. Unfortunately for him, by "young", they meant 8 years old, though no one means this to romance, it's just a political marriage and Edmund seems to view Leia as a younger sister and not a wife.
  • Old Man Marrying a Child: Edmund is a good twenty years older than Leia. Played for Laughs, as Leia seems more accepting and eager to get married than he is, and leads him to the altar, with a little skip in her step. Also doubles as a Pet the Dog moment for Edmund, as he is genuinely kind to her. And very much Truth in Television at the time, as royal marriages were typically made for political benefits first, and all other considerations far down the list.
  • Pet the Dog: Edmund reading a bedtime story to Princess Leia at the end. On their wedding night, no less.
  • Skip to the End: The Infanta urges the priest to hurry the ceremony.
  • Sleeping Single: Edmund and Princess Leia, quite sensibly.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Twice. Once, when Edmund tries to marry another woman to get out of marrying the Infanta, and her husband objects at the right moment. Then, at his wedding to the Infanta, no one objects.
  • Translator Buddy: Don Speekingleesh is this to the Infanta, to the point where he translates the Infanta's pillow talk to "Edmund" (actually Baldrick), and her lover's agonized cries for help.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Jim Broadbent later confessed that he had no idea at the time what a Spanish accent should sound like, and improvised with "a very bad cod Italian accent" - which turned out in the end to be a very successful comedic strategy. Richard Curtis remarked that it was an "astonishing technical feat, to get the rhythms of the English language so completely wrong."


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