It's always good to be reminded that love, sex and political scandals existed well before our own
time. And that when it comes to royals, England's Prince Charles and Princess Diana weren't the first to have a rotten marriage.
"A Royal Affair," a terrific Danish film (with English subtitles), recounts an episode involving blue bloods and political intrigue during the 18th century. It's a corker of a story that is well known in Denmark -- it is taught in school there -- but likely will be unfamiliar to most American viewers.
In 1766, Princess Caroline Mathilda (Alicia Vikander), 15, a member of the British royal
family, was shipped off to Denmark to marry King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), who was
unstable and likely seriously mentally ill. Not surprisingly, the marriage was an unhappy one.
Eventually, the young Queen fell in love with and began an affair with her husband's physician,
Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), who shared her interest in the literature and ideas of the Enlightenment.
Together, the lovers managed to take over power from the pliable King and enacted numerous
major social reforms intended to improve the lives of the common people. This didn't go over well ...