SPECULATION has been mounting that Saul Dibb’s new film The Duchess is a representation of the life of the late Princess Diana. Yes, the Duchess of the film’s title, Georgiana Spencer, played by Kiera Knightley, was an ancestor of the Princess and like Diana, was loved and adored by the public, but there the parallels end.The Duchess tells the story of Georgiana, an 18th Century noblewoman who embarks on a loveless marriage to the fifth Duke of Devonshire, played by Ralph Fiennes.
Famed for her fashion, charm and charisma, Georgiana was quite the celebrity of her day – gambling, drinking and dancing. She was also involved in politics, even though as a woman, she could not vote.
Although adored by her friends and the public, Georgiana fails to gain the love of her husband who’s main concern is conceiving a male heir.
As the story unfolds it is revealed that the Duke has had numerous affairs but it all comes to a head for the couple when he takes Georgiana’s best friend Elizabeth as his mistress.
Distressed at the situation of her marriage, Georgiana falls in love with the young, idealistic politician Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper).
The pair have an affair but when the Duke finds out Georgiana is forced to make an unbearable decision.
The film’s honest depiction of what life was like for this incredible woman, trapped in a loveless marriage is striking.
Knightley shines as the fascinating Georgiana, her portrayal was not only believable, it was touching.
This is not just another costume drama and Knightley is not playing just another English Rose, it’s a powerful story of love, betrayal and forgiveness.
Review by Andrea Clarke
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