The French King

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"The French King"
Characters - The Borgias Fan Wiki

Episode Title: The French King
The Borgias Episode #: 6
The Borgias Season: 1
Original Air Date: 1 May 2011
Writer: Neil Jordan
Director(s): John Maybury
Guest Star(s): Emmanuelle Chriqui as Sancia, Michel Muller as King Charles VIII, Ruta Gedmintas as Ursula,Luke Pasqualino as Paolo, Augustus Prew as Prince Alfonso of Naples, Joseph M. Kelly as King Ferrante
Ronan Vibert as Giovanni Sforza,Mickey Sumner as Francesca, Nicholas Rowe as Baron Bonadeo

Della Rovere reaches France and strikes a bargain with its ruler to invade Italy and install him on the Papal throne in exchange for control of Naples; Rodrigo attempts to thwart the invasion through an alliance by marrying his youngest son Joffre to Princess Sancia of Naples (guest star Emmannuelle Chriqui), but Juan nearly sabotages the plan by seducing his prospective sister-in-law.*Showtime

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Episode 1.6 - The French King

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Pope Alexander VI

Name: Rodrigo Borgia
(Pope Alexander VI)
Played by: Jeremy Irons
Plot connections:-- Continuing efforts to strength his position, he forms a marriage alliance with Naples

Lucrezia and Cesare
Name: Cesare Borgia
Played by: Francois Arnaud
Plot connections:-- Strides headlong into a passionate affair with Ursula Bonadeo

Sancia and Joffre
Name: Sancia of Naples
Played by: Emmanuelle Chriqui
Plot connections:-- Bride sent in bargain with Naples; marries Joffre, sleeps with Juan

Sancia and Joffre
Name: Joffre Borgia
Played by: Aidan Alexander
Plot connections:-- Willing bridegroom to Sancia

Charles VIII
Name: King Charles VIII
Played by: Michel Muller
Plot connections:-- Approached by Cardinal della Rovere to invade Rome; promised Naples in return he agrees

Cardinal Della Rovere
Name: Cardinal della Rovere
Played by: Colm Feore
Plot connections:-- Desperate to depose Pope Alexander, he approaches the French king

The French King - THE  BORGIAS   wiki

Name: Juan Borgia
Played by: David Oakes
Plot connections:-- Still holding out for a royal bride, he gladly beds Joffre's bride
The French King - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Prince Alfonso of Naples
Played by: Augustus Prew
Plot connections: Brother to Sancia, he agrees to the marriage alliance for the independent state of Naples

The French King - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
Name: Lucrezia Borgia
Played by: Holliday Grainger
Plot connections:-- Continues her affair with Paolo, relishing freedom from Sforza
Theo, Vanozza and Cesare

Name: Theo
Played by: David Bamber
Plot connections: Husband of Vanozza, he is beaten by Juan during a visit to her

Cesare and Ursula
Name: Ursula Bonadeo
Played by: Ruta Gedmintas
Plot connections: Lover of Cesare, wife of Baron Bonadeo

The French King - THE  BORGIAS   wiki

Name: Giulia Farnese
Played by: Lotte Verbeek
Plot connections: Mistress of Pope Alexander

The French King - THE  BORGIAS   wiki

Name: Giovanni Sforza
Played by: Ronan Vibert
Plot connections: Husband of Lucrezia

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Supporting Cast

  • French General - Mark Noble
  • French Captain - Edward Akrout
  • Abbess - Lady Anne Lambton
  • Neapolitan Ambassador - Alan Westaway
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When Pope Alexander learns that Della Rovere is seeking to form an alliance with France's King Charles, he decides to forge a union between Rome and Naples by marrying off his youngest son to the older Neapolitan princess. Meanwhile, with her husband laid up, Lucrezia intensifies her affair with the stable boy; and Ursula discovers who was responsible for her husband's death.

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Pesaro, the Sforza Castle – Lucrezia tends to her lord Sforza as he lies in bed, Francesca standing by. She kisses his hand and wants him to believe she is thankful his leg will be saved. He notes that a viper must have startled his horse “Diablo.” Giovanni studies Lucrezia and says that he sees now that her nobility is sprung from her soul – not her blood, of which she pretends to be sorry for the accident of her Borgia blood.

Rome, the Vatican throne room – Ferrante’s ambassador presents blessings and hopes of betrothing her to Juan, the duke of Gandia. The portrait of Sancia is unveiled, Juan pauses entranced, but to no avail. Juan starts to scoff when the pope cuts him short with a warning glare and assures the ambassador that Ferrante’s suit will be considered shortly, as he does indeed support the independence of the Aragonese kings of Naples.

The woods near Pesaro castle – Lucrezia and Paolo the groom on horseback in the woods. Enjoying the pleasures of the summer day, everyone and every deer is happy that the Lord Sforza is abed, laughs Lucrezia.

Rome – in the pope’s private chambers Juan talks ill of the thought of marrying a second rate duchess of “Squillace. Juan, Cesare and their father discuss a union with Naples, who will it be? Juan or Cesare, the pope decides on Joffre.” Juan asks Cesare if he would go to Naples to accept the terms, Cesare declines, saying he has business in Rome and cannot leave. Juan taunts him playfully while lifting the hem of his robe saying indeed there must still be a man under these cardinal skirts.

Paolo and Lucrezia discover a spring, and speak of Narcissus and his love for his own reflection – Lucrezia kisses the surface of the pond, and notes how she has actually found sweetness in her new life, being with Paolo. Paolo takes her in an embrace and lovingly kisses her for the first time. Ursula and Cesare walk in the courtyard of Cesare’s palace. She compliments him on his spare tastes and he notes how only one ornament is needed in his home – implying herself. She resists, he pulls her near and she is utterly conflicted between desire and shame. Meanwhile back in the woods near Pesaro castle, Lucrezia and Paolo make love under the trees. Back in Cesare’s rooms, him and Ursula enjoy their first lovemaking by the light of the glowing hearth, in the dark shadowy bedchamber. Both lovers’ passion for each other is fully embraced in the moment, though she has her fears of her husbands’ long absence. Cesare reminds her he may be having an affair of his own.

Pope Alexander and Juan finalize the plan to wed Joffre to Sancia, and her 200,000 ducat dowry, sneers Juan – the pope tells him they need the alliance more than the riches, as “wolves are bearing down on the Papal States.”

Naples – the splendid royal city appears in the distance as Juan and his entourage ride on to meet the king and his illegitimate daughter, Sancia. At the banquet where Ferrante sits being spoon-fed by Alfonso, Juan talks of his prowess and that he leads the papal armies, Alfonso laughs wildly as his father spits out his food. Sancia tells Juan that her illegitimacy has always given her a sense of license to do whatever she likes, and she squeezes Juan’s thighs. Later, in the museum of embalmed enemy corpses, she asks what feelings her own widespread reputation inspires in others, and Juan tells her “lust.” She makes advances and Juan takes her in the heat of the moment, on the table among the dead.

The pope’s bed – Rodrigo and Giulia at leisure, she notices that politics, rather than love, occupies him. He makes a sensual descriptive metaphor of Italian politics by tracing the states along her pelvis and thighs, reaching the calf and foot that are Naples, the stability upon which all stands. He says playfully that he will now invade fair France, and begins caressing her.

France – army encampment. Della Rovere is brought before the king and his advisers. He begins with humility but the hardened Charles demands straight talk – will della Rovere, in return for deposing the pope, place the crown of Naples on his ugly head? The king asks his general, do I not have an ugly head The man replies to all, “I can hardly bear to gaze on it” The king knows he has all the graces of a carnival dwarf, and will stop at nothing to conquer Naples if he goes ahead with the invasion. They agree, and della Rovere stresses that his aim is to reform the papal office. King Charles says he will help della Rovere, but if only he places the crown of Naples on his ugly “noggin.”

Rome – naked in bed, Cesare and Ursula discuss her husbands prolonged absence. She starts to feel like he is a different man, and she points out how blasphemous he is being such and a cardinal. She fears the worst and is pulling away from him in the shame of her deed.

France – The king and his advisers show della Rovere the new cannon and proceed to demonstrate the new technology that will alter warfare forever. The king tells della Rovere that war is ugly, and what he wants Charles to do is a far cry from the traditional “show of force” warfare that Italians are used to. The king says his war will ravage Italy and it will be a new era of grisliness. They continue their dialogue about the hell that war creates, impressing della Rovere with the terror he is about to invite into his motherland. Charles tells della Rovere that the French soldiers have been hardened by years of battle with the English, and will utterly crush these fancy feathered peacock condottieri of Italian warfare. War is unjust and pits armor against armor where one side ends in death or surrender.

Pesaro – the castle walls lighted by torch and candle, Paolo meets Lucrezia in her room. Francesca covers for them while Giovanni sleeps in his sick room elsewhere. They make love in a fit of passion, and later, Giovanni wakes to the sound of squeaking. He goes to investigate, and just before he ascends the stair to her bed chamber her looks into where Francesca and a maid are churning butter, making a squeaking noise. He passes it off and goes back to bed.

Rome – Vanozza and her boys at supper. Joffre asks about his betrothed, and Juan tells him dryly that Sancia has neither beauty nor is she kind. Joffre accepts his lot and goes quiet – then Juan scoops him up playfully and cheerfully tells him in truth, she is an angel, beautiful and sweet beyond measure. Juan says he would marry her himself if little Joffre does not. Vanozza and Cesare share a knowing look, Juan and his escapades are easily guessed. Meanwhile, in the streets, a body is discovered and found to be Baron Bonadeo. Later Theo pays Vanozza a visit and becomes the punching bag for Juan to vent his fears and anger at his own illegitimacy.

In St Peter’s Ursula seeks out Cesare and tells him he husband’s body has been found floating on the banks of the Tiber. She immediately knows he was killed by Cesare and she accuses him of murder. He tells her it was a fair fight and Bonadeo lost. She rails against Cesare and proclaims she will repent and retire to a nunnery, where he says he will find her. He broods – I have upon me the mark, not of Cain – but of my father. She calls him a monster and tells him that she will never be free of him. The anguish consumes Cesare as he stands in the vast basilica watching her run away from him.

Vatican hall – Rodrigo derides Juan for shedding Theo’s blood, and risking their mother’s reputation, which the pope has spent years trying to rehabilitate – for the good of the family. Juan must cease these antics or else the pope might decide to forget whose son he is.

Scenes rapidly flash - the pope lies asleep in his bed, he sees Lucrezia’s face and asks if he is in heaven or still dreaming, and she lays in his arms and gives him a kiss. Della Rovere informs the French king about the wedding of Sancia and Joffre, now is the time to move. Cesare and Lucrezia meet at the Vatican in the courtyard, sit down for a reunion and talks about their present lives. Lucrezia bears her sorrows well, and tells him at first it was not well, but has grown sweeter. Cesare tells her his heart has been broken by a nun, and Lucrezia jokes about poor Abelard and Heloise and forbidden love. Cesare will find his love. We find Ursula in the shadowy convent getting her hair shorn by the head nun. The nun tells her that she must renounce her earthly beauty. She is now a bride of Christ and she weeps in sadness and shame.

St Peter’s basilica - in state for the wedding of Joffre and Sancia. Lucrezia tells Cesare she hates Sancia because she is too beautiful. Vanozza sneaks a sidelong glance at Giulia, who does not deign to acknowledge her existence. Ascanio Sforza and Juan preside over the ceremony.

Later that evening, Sancia and Juan speak in her bedchambers about Squillace. The duchy was given to her as a dowry, though she has never been there. Juan and Sancia make hasty passionate love while talking about it. Her child-husband Joffre awaits his bride and drinks a glass of milk. She walks in, and says “good night pages, unless you would join us…no, that is a step too far, even for a duke and Duchesa of Squillace.” She asks if he is ready and he nods expectantly, she drops her gown.

French camp – king Charles tells della Rovere, “You will have your war, but it will be fought the French way.”
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page logo BEST QUOTES
  • "I see now that nobility springs from the soul, not the blood." ~ Giovanni to Lucrezia
  • "And I thought I would never know sweetness." ~ Lucrezia to Paolo
  • "Call me...Cesare." ~ Cesare to Ursula Bonadeo
  • "You would entice me to battle but do you understand what that means?....No war is just, war is chaos; brute force mastered against brute force until one side is destroyed, utterly….There is no honor in war.…there is blood, death, armor against armor until one side surrenders in death or domination.…be careful what you pray for Cardinal; if you pray for war, you will find yourself in a place beyond prayer itself.” ~ King Charles VII to Cardinal della Rovere
  • "I was born with a stain, a mark: like the mark of Cain which is the mark of my father, my family, the mark of Borgia. I’ve tried to be other than I am and I have failed. If I failed you in the process I am truly sorry." ~ Cesare Borgia to Ursula Bonadeo
  • "You have the devil’s insight, Cardinal: you read what my heart wanted and you gave it to me." ~ Ursula to Cesare
  • "I will search you out, like Abelard and Heloise. You may find a nunnery cell but you will never be free of me." ~ Cesare to Ursula
  • "We would have a wedding only to once again see our dear Lucrezia." ~ Rodrigo
  • "You will have you war, but it will be fought the French way." ~ King Charles
  • "I feel for you still, but I know not this man beside me." ~ Ursula
  • "Is it murder to defend your mother's honor?" ~ Cesare
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Who died?
How did they die?

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  • Shock - Juan and Sancia having sex in King Ferrante's 'Last Supper' room
  • Best - Joffre preparing for his wedding night
  • Shock - Juan and Sancia having sex just outside the wedding night suite
  • Best - Francesca using the butter churn to mask the sounds of Lucrezia and Paolo making love
  • Best - Pope Alexander confronting Juan for beating Theo in Vanozza's home
  • Best - Alfonso bursts out laughing when Juan tells him he is in charge of the Papal Armies.
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  • Why was Vanozza allowed at Joffre's wedding and not Lucrezia's - was it based on the pedigree of
    Sancia or that she was from Naples and didn't know Vanozza's background?
  • Why was Theo visiting Vanozza?
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  • Squillace is an ancient seaside town situated on the east coast of Calabria in southern Italy. The modern town is known today as one of Italy's most important archaeological sites as well as a popular resort. Production of highly prized terra cotta has been an important part the local economy for centuries.
  • The Order of Saint Michael (Ordre de Saint-Michel) was a French chivalric order, founded by Louis XI of France in 1469. In the episode, king Charles wears his chain signifying his membership in the Order of Saint Michael which he would have worn for ceremonial occasions, but probably not in battle. King Louis XII conferred membership of the order upon Cesare Borgia when he married into the French royal family in 1499.
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How did this episode differ from actual events? Compare the facts with the fiction below!
  • The King of France, Charles VIII is older, wise, and seems unconcerned by della Rovere's urgent desire to reform the papacy, as long as the pope invested him the kingdom of Naples.
  • Joffre and Sancia's wedding took place in the Vatican and was presided over by Juan Borgia and (a not so happy) Cardinal Ascanio Sforza.
  • Sancia appears to be in her twenties, significantly older than her child husband Joffre, who seems about 12 or 13
  • Sancia is called the Duchesa of Squillace
  • Juan is afraid he is not of the Borgia line.
  • He was in his twenties, rash, inexperienced, easily influenced by advisers, and was intent on claiming Naples for his glory to stage a Crusade to the Holy land, and to reform the papacy in the process.
  • The wedding was in Naples (11 May, 1494), and took place four days after the crowning of King Alfonso II of Naples (7 May, 1494) The new king was Ferrante's son, and Sancia's father.
  • Sancia (born 1478) was 4 years older than Joffre (born 1482) at the time of their marriage.
  • Squillace was a fortified feudal city, commonly called a principality, not technically a duchy
  • It was rumored that Joffre was the one sired by someone other than Rodrigo.

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