The first time Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie saw each other in character was during the scene where they meet for the first time. They rehearsed separately, and Robbie's scenes were completed the day Ronan began hers.
Director Josie Rourke had to convince the studio not to delete the scene where Queen Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) has her period. She stated that "those were instructive discussions about how honest we were being about women's bodies and what they do, women's pleasure and what that is, and a Queen's body as a political canvas." She added that "it happens to half of us", so "we need to show this stuff. It does need normalizing."
David Tennant played John Knox, the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Tennant's father, Alexander MacDonald, was the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Margot Robbie was initially reluctant to accept the role of Queen Elizabeth I. She accepted after receiving a letter from director Josie Rourke about why she wanted Robbie in the role.
Queen Elizabeth I never ruled Scotland, which has led to protests about the sitting British monarch being called "Elizabeth II". In the 1950s, after Elizabeth ascended to the throne, a post box in Scotland marked "EIIR" was blown up, and lawyer Ian Hamilton fought a court case against the use of "Elizabeth II" in Scotland. The lyrics of the folk song "Coronation Coronach" include the lines "Hou can ye hae the Second Liz/Whan the First yin's nivver been?"
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Josie Rourke said that the meeting of the two Queens was also inspired by the nineteenth century Friedrich Schiller play ''Maria Stuart'', in which Mary and Elizabeth I talk face-to-face on-stage. "The whole conception of the film for me was around that meeting. We really wanted to have our version of that famous scene, with these two women looking at each other and being confronted with their choices - their personal choices, their political choices. It's a moment that's deeply personal."
Saoirse Ronan was trained to ride for the first time by horsemaster Camilla Naprous who had earlier worked with Gal Gadot for her role as Wonder Woman (2017), using the same horse.
John Knox is buried under a car park behind St. Giles', the High Kirk of Edinburgh.
This movie was based on Dr. John Guy's biography "Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart", which centered on the theory that Queens Mary and Elizabeth may have met face-to-face and looked each other in the eye as they contemplated their kingdoms' fates. History buffs have objected to Guy's theory, since it is commonly accepted that they only corresponded via letter. Guy told Deadline Hollywood that six years ago, "an auction house possessed documents that indicated the two complicit, yet warring, cousins had a meeting that was in the cards." However, there is no known evidence for this premise.
Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie competed together in 2018 for many Best Actress awards, including the Academy Award, for their roles in Lady Bird (2017) and I, Tonya (2017), respectively.
It's not mentioned in this movie, but Queen Elizabeth I also claimed the throne of France.
Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan cried during their scene together, although it wasn't scripted for them to do so.
During their meeting, Mary predicts Elizabeth will have her killed "as Henry killed your mother." Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, had two of his six wives beheaded for treason, including Anne Boleyn, her mother.
This is the second time that Saoirse Ronan and Vanessa Redgrave were cast as the same characters on-screen. Redgrave played Mary Stuart in Mary, Queen of Scots (1971). She also played the older Briony Tallis in Atonement (2007). Ronan played Briony Tallis, aged 13.
Margot Robbie is the second Australian actress to portray Queen Elizabeth I. The first was Cate Blanchett, in Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007).
Queen Mary speaks to a man who says, in Gaelic, that he comes from Thurso in Caithness. Caithness had Gaelic-speaking communities into the twentieth century. Gaelic speakers were recorded from the parish of Thurso in the nineteenth century.
In August 2012, it was announced that Saoirse Ronan would play Mary Stuart. On April 21, 2017, Margot Robbie entered negotiations to play Queen Elizabeth I.
The crew included Academy Award winners costume designer Alexandra Byrne, hair and make-up designer Jenny Shircore, and editor Chris Dickens; Emmy Award-winning production designer James Merifield; and BAFTA Award-winning director of photography John Mathieson.
David Tennant starred in Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor (2013), in which The Doctor marries Queen Elizabeth I.
Joe Alwyn is also in The Favourite (2018), about Queen Anne's attachment to Sarah Churchill and Abigail Masham.
Margot Robbie and Guy Pearce are both alumni of the Neighbours (1985) main cast - she played Donna Freedman 2008-11, and he played Mike Young 1986-9.
The Discworld novel "Monstrous Regiment" takes its title from "The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women" - the 1558 misogynist tract by John Knox, who of course was railing at Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.
Joe Alwyn and Ismael Cruz Cordova appeared in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016).
In real life, David Rizzio was Italian. Ismael Cruz Cordova was born in Puerto Rico.