Mary & George: Did King James I really have gay affairs?

Mary & George brings us the story of King James I's affair with George Villiers. Was the king gay, or is this a dramatization of speculation?
Mary & George -- Courtesy of Starz
Mary & George -- Courtesy of Starz /

Historical fiction likes to speculate and dramatize. As you’re watching Mary & George, you may wonder if the story of King James I and George Villiers has any historical weight. Was King James I gay?

One thing to point out is that historians don’t know all the facts. It’s not like people were there in the bedroom to hear all the stories and see everything that happened. There are speculative elements to history. Let’s just look at the fact that Anne Boleyn and her brother George were accused and found guilty of incest. Some historians take that as fact, but did that really happen, or were people of the time just able to get two powerful people out of the way quickly?

So, is it possible that the story of King James I and George Villiers is fabrication to make someone look worse than they were? Was it a way to bring someone down in power as others wanted to gain that power?

There is evidence of King James I’s affairs with men

There are elements of Mary & George that are based on some factual evidence. There is evidence of King James I having intense and exclusive romantic affairs with men.

Does this mean they were sexual affairs? That part isn’t all that clear. Romantic affairs could mean anything but the full sexual act. We have to remember that King James I viewed sodomy on the same level as witchcraft at the time. They were sinful acts.

Of course, James could have been a hypocrite. While he viewed gay relations as sodomy, that doesn’t mean he didn’t take part in them. There was also the view of the time that the king couldn’t do any wrong. He was chosen by God so would be forgiven by God.

Is Mary & George based on fact?

There are elements of Mary & George that are factual. A lot of the story is also dramatized for the story. There are likely elements that didn’t happen. One thing none of us know is what actually happens behind closed doors. Some conversations have to be fabricated for the sake of the story, but they are based on things that could have happened.

When it comes to James I and George, there are elements of history that point to this being fact. How much of it is dramatized isn’t clear.

A lot of the information about James came after his death. These facts could have been fabricated or embellished by his enemies. However, I always say that even rumors and lies have an element of truth to them. So, what is the truth that ignited everything?

Is Mary & George based on a true story?. dark. Next. Is Mary & George based on a true story?

Mary & George airs Fridays on Starz.