When I went over to England for the first time over a year ago, my parents and I stayed in a Mariott on the opposite side of York from the University. I remember turning on the TV the night after arrival before literally passing out due to the inevitable jet lag resulting from such a long trip. One channel covered the selection of a new leader for the "oppostion" party, the Tories, by vote; the later result being David Cameron. On another, I saw for the first time bits and pieces of a recently completed series, Elizabeth, about the latter stage of the Tudor queen's life starring Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons. At first, I compartmentalized it as "wow, these English folks really ARE obsessed with her reign." However, a few months later, I got to see the whole series for the first time from beginning to end when it re-aired. Apart from being well-acted and well-written, and, God forbid, well-researched, at least a portion of the focus struck me.
The first part centers on Elizabeth's relationship with Robert Dudley, and although there isn't much discussion on the matter between characters in such a way as to actively explain it, the acting between Mirren and Irons adds a third dimension that truly allows the viewer a new insight into that relationship in such a way as I have never seen in any other drama. The definition of this partnership ironically is colored by Elizabeth's decision to pursue a marriage with the Duke of Anjou. For perhaps the first time in her reign, she seriously considered the idea of marriage, and therefore, by extension, for the first time, Robert Dudley had to consider the idea of being without her primary affections and attentions. What she could not, because of circumstance, have with Robert Dudley, she realized she could have with the Duke and perhaps it was the first time she actually considered having it rather than continuing on without it entirely, or with it in a different form that wasn't entirely fulfilling for her with Dudley. If the English people had not objected to her marriage to the Duke, I wonder what decision she would have ultimately made for herself.
Gave me some food for thought, although I will leave my personal take on that subject to myself.