Let Me introduce the Duchess…

How I love thee let me count the ways…

Being a monarchy/aristocracy obsessed hopeless romantic trapped in the body of a cynical nymph I was instantly to drawn to the newest costume, period drama thing to hit the big screen. I am of course talking about

The Duchess

Keira Knightley brings to life the world of Georgiana Spencer, Duchess of Devonshire the glamour girl of the seventeen-hundreds. Gee, as they often called her on screen (the historical accuracy of this I’m still unsure of) indulged in all that was decadent and fabulous: from drinking and gambling to fashion and politics; the Lady was a charismatic marvel.

However, not being a time of equality there was the small matter of her husband the influential William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire played by the talented Mr Ralph Fiennes (who managed to express the deepest emotions through mere grunts). Cavendish is supposed to be much older than the sixteen year old Georgiana, though we are never given an exact age, and has only two requirements of Gee and they are the old favourites a son and loyalty.

Unfortunately for Georgiana she seems to only produce girls and dead sons…. Keira’s portrayal of a mother is the sweetest most emotive thing I have seen in a long time and even though I was wearing non-waterproof mascara and had to look fabulous for my own knight in shining armour I still cried feeling everything Georgiana was going through.

Far from being the only tragedy Georgiana had to endure there was also the betrayal of her best friend (we get to see a little bit of lesbian love in the film – nothing too pornographic so there is no need to bring the pitch forks) from Lady Elizabeth Forster a woman separated from a husband who not only beat her but also took her four sons away! Without going into the little details we eventually see Elizabeth Forster embark on an affair with Cavendish and become the third person in Gee’s marriage…breakfasting and everything together!

Now before we hate the female as is our usual state of play (I don’t know why but the female is always the one to blame for infidelities and the dissolution of marriage – how does that work in a lesbian marriage?? Oooo maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to get married as a lesbian because we can’t work out who to blame if it fails!!) Anyway back to the Duchess, the way they depict the lives of both women we understand why Elizabeth Forster does betray Georgiana, to get her boys back but as she explains to Gee (and as Gee learns later on; a woman will do anything for her children, no matter how many people get hurt in the process!) Perhaps it is the wonderful portrayal both women give as they face their plight but I felt lost in their world wanting Georgiana to be happy but at the same time I could not bring my self to hate Elizabeth Forster.

Now for the extra bit of scandalicious, yummyness there is the ever present character of Charles Grey yes that’s right the guy who became prime minister!! Well as is perfectly natural he is in love with Georgiana (who wasn’t) and she was in love with him! They of course try to keep a platonic relationship for as long as their lustiness could hold out but when Cavendish makes his move to install a third party into their marriage Gee sees that it is only fitting that she should be aloud to feel love (especially once she has fulfilled her responsibility to William!) The affair being propelled by Elizabeth (only wanting to see her friend happy of course.) Needless to say this love affair was not going to end happily and once Cavendish finds out he does the old patriarchal trick your man or your children….

I’ve found it so hard not to give too much away in this film because I absolutely loved it, going so far as an hour after the film finished I bought the book, but I hope at the very least you can feel some of the passion I feel for the film and full equally in love!

I suppose I should do a quick final note though you probably know this already… Georgiana SPENCER is a descendent of DIANA SPENCER and therefore there are the obvious parallels between the women and the three people in the marriage (Camilla) and the charismatic main lady (Diana) bur don’t just think about this I implore you fall in love with Gee for the person she is not modern person she is associated with !!

Enjoy guys I’m about to squeeze myself into a corset and put some flowers in my hair!