Queen Anne’s feuding favourites

For a few years during the reign of Queen Anne, women dominated the political arena – from biting satirists to MPs' powerful wives. Hannah Greig, historical advisor on a new film about Anne's turbulent inner circle, celebrates a golden age of female influence

Queen Anne, based on a work by Sir Godfrey Kneller, c1702–10. Anne's reign saw women take centre stage in fierce political debates. (Photo by Bridgeman/National Trust Photographic Library)

This article was first published in the January 2019 edition of BBC History Magazine

For a few years during the reign of Queen Anne, women dominated the political arena – from biting satirists to MPs’ powerful wives. Hannah Greig, historical advisor on a new film about Anne’s turbulent inner circle, celebrates a golden age of female influence

“May I remind you, you are not the queen!” When Robert Harley utters these words to Sarah Churchill in one of the most memorable scenes in Yorgos Lanthimos’s new film The Favourite, he is undoubtedly right: Churchill is not the queen. But, as Harley has just discovered to his cost, she might as well be.

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