Warning: Stop reading if you haven’t seen the movie yet! Really, you should not read this before if you want to enjoy all the details of the movie!


Abigail is expulsed from countryside and looks for a job at the court. She meets her cousin Lady Marlborough who employs her as kitchen servant. Abigail helps the Queen and after learning about her lesbian passion she became her mistress (as her cousin already is). Then starts the competition between the two women and the desperate, emotionally unstable queen in the middle. Furthermore, England is in a war with France and the queen has to decide whether to give up and save money and lives or set out to expensive offensive with uncertain gains. The power groups in the government use Lady Marlborough and Abigail as lobbyists for their respective causes. Eventually, Abigail is more successful (and also exploits the Queen for her private profit), she attempts to defeat Lady Marlborough who is expelled from the country and the war ends.


The Queen Anne

  • older lady who is in power
  • she has various health issues and is mentally/emotionally unstable
  • she gave birth to 17 children but none survived long
    • maybe she killed them (final symbolic scene) not in reality
  • her decisions are affected by their assistants, she likely realizes that but does not care as long as she is cared for
  • she is lesbian/bisexual

Sarah Marlborough

  • assistant of the queen, pro-war lobbyist
  • ambitious, optimizes for her goals
  • patriot?

Lord Marlborough

  • husband of Lady Marlborough
  • army officer, deployed abroad
  • waiting for orders from homeland

Abigail Hill

  • cousin of Lady Marlborough
  • her father lost her in cards (whist), rough childhood and adolescence
  • employed as servant by Lady Marlborough
    • she uses “company” horse for private purposes
  • when she learns about queen’s weaknesses she exploits them in her favor
  • succeeds lady Marlborough as queen assistant,
  • same selfish behavior but she’s anti-war lobbyist

Lord Gadolphin

  • prime minister, pro-war
  • fan of duck races and customer of brothels
  • manipulates the Queen through Lady Marlborough

Lord Harley

  • anti-war activist
  • manipulates the Queen through Lady Abigail
  • seems like the only sane character until we see him enjoying “stoning” a naked fat guy with oranges
  • succeeds lord Gadolphin as prime minister

Samual Masham

  • friend of Lord Harley
  • marries Abigail, they have unbalanced relationship


  • slum quarters with shit on the streets – they call it political commentary
  • scenes not fitting the era
    • disco dance at ball
    • oranges bombing of a naked guy
  • unclear who is good and bad, perhaps everyone is rotten
  • symbolism
    • the key from the Queen’s chamber as the access to the queen
    • shooting competition – real competition between the cousins
  • single point of failure
    • the queen who is in power is easily manipulated
    • Abigail tapers with the Queen’s mail


At first, it was difficult to get the grasp of the parties and relate to them. When we learnt about the Queens intimate relationships it became clearer and we could enjoy the competition between the two mistresses. Abigail seemed to be the more just one initially but as her position changed she was as selfish as Lady Marlborough. She might have been better for the country because she lobbied against the war. But as she said, her private interests just coincided with the interests of the anti-war group.

Addition after reading the real story

The characters are real historical persons and also the plot matches what happened in 18th century. Just the intimate relationships between the queen and her favourites and the negative personal traits are exaggerated to make the movie more scandalous and popular.