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Series / Charles II: The Power and the Passion

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"We have a pretty witty king,
Whose word no man relies on;
He never said a foolish thing,
Nor ever did a wise one."
Earl of Rochester

A 2003 BBC series about the life and reign of Charles II. Rufus Sewell plays the titular monarch. Diana Rigg, Rupert Graves, Martin Freeman and Shirley Henderson also play substantial roles.

This show provides examples of:

  • Arranged Marriage: Most royal marriages were this. The one between Henriette-Anne and Philippe of France is particularly unhappy.
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  • Bastard Bastard: The Duke of Monmouth.
  • Betty and Veronica: Queen Catherine and Castlemaine to the king. Later also, Nell Gwyn and the Duchess of Portsmouth to a lesser extent.
  • Brainless Beauty: Louise de Kerouaille.
  • British Series
  • Brother-Sister Team: Charles and Henriette-Anne.
  • The Conscience: Queen Catherine
  • Costume Porn: Though not as extreme as what came in the decade afterward.
  • Culture Clash: England and France. It's clear that Charles's family all got 'corrupted' by French influences to different extents. This was very suspect in England at that time, because France was the Ancient enemy and Catholic.
    • Even worse with Portugal and England. Queen Catharine and her attendents get mocked for their clothes and habits.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nell Gwyn.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Philippe of France and his lover.
  • Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: Philippe of France again.
  • Evil Matriarch: Queen Henriette-Maria
  • Face Death with Dignity: Charles I, in the opening scene.
  • Fanservice
  • Foregone Conclusion: Well, it's an historical drama for one.
    • Charles has also concluded, correctly, that his brother won't last on the throne for four years.
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  • Honorary Uncle: Edward Hyde to Charles.
  • Honor Before Reason: The Duke of York and his openness about being a Catholic.
  • Idiot Ball: James, Duke of York, ranting hysterically about protestant icon Elizabeth I to protestants who already suspect him. Never mind that she died more than half a century before.
  • Ill Girl: Henriette-Anne.
  • I Love the Dead: When Barbara Villiers and the Earl of Rochester visit the body of a man who died centuries ago.
  • In the Back: Charles making a secret alliance with France against the Dutch, while still being allied with the later. Since France is seen as a Catholic threat by most English, this causes much disapproval.
  • Kick the Dog: Henrietta Maria when she refuses to see her son Henry, even though he's on his deathbed, since he's a protestant.
  • Malicious Slander: Titus Oates does this against Catholics.
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  • The Mistress: Lots.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Barbara Villiers and Nell Gwyn
  • One-Liner: The Earl of Rochester
  • Pet the Dog: Though duplicitous in his politics, Charles is often kind to his family, mistresses and friends.
  • Pimped-Out Dress
  • Rags to Royalty: Snow White style.
  • Really Gets Around: Charles.
    • Barbara too.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: Charles makes good use of these when dealing with a hostile parliament.
  • Self-Deprecation: "I am the Protestant Whore!"
    • Nell Gwyn is good at this in general.
  • Shotgun Wedding: The Duke of York tries to get out of this, but Charles and the bride's father insist he stays married to her.
  • Standard Royal Court
  • Witch Hunt: After Titus Oates makes his accussations, a lot of innocent Catholics get prosecuted.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Queen Catharine
  • Your Cheating Heart: Charles II, Barbara Villiers and Philippe of Orleans all have spoused, but sleep with others.


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