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The series follows Mary’s (Adelaide Kane) rise to power when she arrives in France as a 15-year-old, betrothed to Prince Francis (Toby Regbo), with her three best friends as ladies-in-waiting. The drama is described as the secret history of survival in the French Court amid fierce foes, dark forces and a world of sexual intrigue.
“In each episode, we’ll educate people on what element of history helps our story,” executive producer Laurie McCarthy told reporters Tuesday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour. “There is a certain amount of latitude in terms of dramatizing events.”
While Reign will focus on the key moments in history, it will also offer a glimpse beyond what was depicted in history books — i.e. what the castle would look like on a Tuesday morning and how the royals were dressed when they weren’t being photographed.
“It’s TV, so we can take creative license. It’s not the History Channel. Of course we’re going to dramatize events and have fun,” said Kane, who did a hefty amount of research for the role.
McCarthy stressed that while the show would have its fair amount of history, at its core Reign is a couple of love stories — between Francis and his mother as well as between Francis and Mary.
“The layer we’re adding on to it is unbeknown to anyone; Francis had grave political objects what it meant to wed another country and take on a nation’s problems,” McCarthy said. “I’m not sure Francis did have those objections but it was something he and his family did weigh.”
“We’re not telling Mary’s story … we’re telling a fictionalized accounting of Mary, Queen of Scots,” McCarthy stressed of the creative liberties her series was taking. “I don’t feel bound by [history], I feel liberated by it.”
Star Kane noted during the often-contentious panel that she looks at history as a jumping off point for the series, which she hopes catches on with viewers because of its core romance.
“How many teenage girls do you know that are obsessed with history? I know I wasn’t at that age,” Kane said of the show’s decision to take liberties with Mary’s story rather than tell her factual story.
Reign premieres Oct. 17 at 9 p.m. on the CW.
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