The strength of the Bourbon brothers in the plot of The Serpent Queen

The first season of the series The Serpent Queen brought an engaged and perfect cast for the new look that it proposed to give to the History of Catherine de Medici. The Italian had to learn to fend for herself in a competitive court, sharp and full of conflicts, marked by religious and family division. The Valois were the kings, but the Guise and Bourbon families exerted their antagonistic forces and the text of the series captured it all very well. While the Catholic Guises were aggressive and arrogant, the Bourbons – of nobler blood even than the Valois – kept themselves at the forefront with political intelligence and financial power. With the “Bourbon brothers”, Antoine and Louis, on the scene, we were sure to have fun and be surprised.

Played by the great Nicholas Burns and Danny Kirrane, the two are responsible for some of the best moments of the series and should grow in the next season.

The House of Bourbon ruled France and Navarre, and its connection to the Crown dates back to 1272 when the youngest son of King Louis IX married the Bourbon heiress. The brothers Louis and Antoine, who lived at the same time as Catarina, are part of the Bourbon-Vendôme branch. Spoiler alert: with the death of the last heir to the House of Valois in 1589 (Henry III, son of Catherine), it will be Antoine’s son who will be crowned King. That’s right, those who followed the story of Queen Margot will remember that she married Henry of Navarre (a Protestant), who happens to be the son of Antoine Bourbon. Because Salic law was adopted in France (which determines that the throne only passes to the male heir), it was up to Henry to be crowned King after Henry III dies. To add to the irony, he later married a cousin of Catarina’s, Maria, but that is much further along.

Princes of the blood, Antoine and Louis wage two internal wars in The Serpent Queen: against the Guises (Catholics) and Catherine (a foreigner). The first season accelerated a bit and ended shortly after the conflict known as The Amboise Conspiracy, a coup d’état that aimed to reduce the power of the Guises and the repressive measures for the Protestants. The conspiracy was led by Antoine and financially supported by Louis, known to history for his ambitions. Catarina, cunning, managed to turn the tables in her favor, becoming regent of the new King and manipulating her enemies.

The second season will see the “Bourbon brothers” gaining more political space. The consequence of the failure of the Amboise conspiracy will be violence and the persecution of Protestants will worsen, even with Catherine de Medici trying a policy of conciliation. Having princes on stage is always a guarantee of intelligence and humor. It’s not worth despising them!

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