Catherine the Great: Did the Queen really know Voltaire? – Express

Posted: October 9, 2019 at 9:45 am

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Catherine the Great is a new mini-series exploring the life of the Russian ruler (played by Helen Mirren). Available to stream in full on Now TV, the show follows the life of the monarch, as well as her long-lasting love affair with Grigory Potemkin (Jason Clarke). Another interesting moment of her life is how she found herself as a pen-pal to French philosopher Voltaire - heres everything you need to know about that.

HBO and Sky mini-series Catherine the Great is currently airing on Sky Atlantic on Thursday evenings at 9pm.

The series is also available to stream on Now TV in full for subscribers to the platform.

The Helen Mirren-fronted show follows the later years of her rule, including the love she shared with Potemkin.

Based on the real story of the Russian monarch who ruled from 1762 until 1796, the series chronicles a number of events in her life.

READ MORE:Catherine the Great location: Where is series filmed?

However, one thing that was not really explored in the series was her intellectual friendship with French philosopher Voltaire.

Voltaire is best known as a French enlightenment writer and philosopher who was famous for his wit and advocacy for freedom of speech.

Across his life he wrote more than 20,000 letters to various people of note, including Catherine.

The pair had a long-lasting correspondence over her rule, which showed echoes of the friendship they had.

READ MORE:Catherine The Great: How queen had affairs despite Potemkin romance

They wrote to each other for 15 years before Voltaires death in 1778, with mutual admiration for their respective fields.

Voltaire in particular approved of Catherines secular policies, given his advocation for a separation between church and state.

Alongside this were a great deal of references to the classic wit of the philosopher who called her an enlightened despot in one of their exchanges.

He also wrote to her of his wish to have been part of the Russia that she created, according to the New York Times.

In a letter to the ruler, he reportedly one said to her "If I were younger I would make myself Russian.

READ MORE:Catherine The Great: Who was her husband? How did he really die?

Much of the show has been based on historical research, with many of the cast and creators studying her letters.

However, it is only in recent times that this correspondence has been made available for wider use.

For years it was kept in a private collection before it was sold by a Moscow art dealer who retuned it to Russia in 2006.

The mini-series also covers a number of real events that happened during her rule, including how her lover Potemkin lost his eye, as well as her liberal reforms.

Part of the purpose of the series is to portray an accurate representation of her life, aside from the rumours that plagued her legacy.

READ MORE:Catherine The Great: How did she die? Are horse sex rumours true?

She was often criticised for her sexual liberation, which was constantly used as a tool to tarnish her reputation by her rivals.

However, getting past some of these salacious tales to the real truth of her story was a big part of the new mini-series, according to fellow actor Gina McKee who played Countess Bruce.

She spoke to and other media about this in an interview before the launch of the show.

McKee said: I think weve got to move away from that b*** s*** havent we?

The way powerful women were treated historically and even now - its got to be changed.

Catherine the Great is airing on Thursdays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic and is also all available to stream on NOW TV.

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Catherine the Great: Did the Queen really know Voltaire? - Express

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October 9th, 2019 at 9:45 am

Posted in Enlightenment