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  • Costume style icon Natalie Dormer fences, plays poker, seduces kings


    I got to visit the Royal Armories on my trip to England before the exhibit of costumes from Showtime's The Tudors closed. It was really cool being able to see the costumes up close, as the detail and skill they were created with is amazing. Still, that Anne Boleyn dress looked best with Natalie Dormer in it. With her unusual features and penetrating eyes, I would love to see someone costume Natalie Dormer really deathrock for a role, but The Tudors still gets pretty close and is just shot so beautifully. Natalie Dormer is an interesting actress. She got her first real notice in the period piece Casanova opposite Heath Ledge and then, of course, she was so convincing as the medieval homewrecker on The Tudors. You could believe that Jonathan Rhys Myers as King Henry would change the course of history for a girl that compelling. In real life, Natalie Dormer's hobbies include fencing and poker. She has been a member of the London Fencing Academy and trained with top level fencing coaches and she has competed in the PartyPoker.com Womens World Open. In most recent costume drama news, Natalie Dormer plays noblewoman Margaery Tyrell in HBO's Game of Thrones.


    (Image from Showtime's The Tudors Courtesy of Blue Blood)

    The costumes’ loan has been made possible by the generous support of costume designer Joan Bergin, plus the creator and writer of The Tudors Michael Hirst and the Mary Rose Trust in Portsmouth – the only previous exhibitors of the costumes in the UK.

    To film the series, about 500 costumes were made and countless others rented and modified. The degree of skill employed can be seen in the costumes’ every detail – from fabric to braid to button. The show netted costume designer Joan Bergin the 2010 Emmy for Outstanding Costume for a Series, along with wardrobe supervisor Susan Cave.


    In an interview with the LA Times, Bergin described The Tudors’ costumes as authenticity with a twist. She wanted viewers to say, “Look how sexy and foxy,” – rather than, “Oh! Who would wear that?” Balenciaga corsets and the Degas ballerinas were her inspiration.
    The Royal Armouries Creative Director Peter Armstrong said,
    “The Tudors are possibly the most flamboyant and well known of the Royal Houses and are popular with all ages, particularly children, who are always captivated by the romance, treachery and sheer audacity of Henry VIII and the stories of his ill-fated wives. Where better to stage these costumes than alongside Henry’s famous horned helmet, which has its permanent home at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds?”
    The eight costumes were worn by a star-studded cast in The Tudors, as follows:

    • King Henry VIII, played by Jonathan Rhys-Myers, during the Siege of Boulogne.
    • Katherine of Aragon, played by Maria Doyle Kennedy, during the opening episode.
    • Anne Boleyn, played by Natalie Dormer, as she was beheaded at the Tower of London.
    • Jane Seymour, played by Annabelle Wallis, during the opening titles of Series Three.
    • Anne of Cleves, played by Joss Stone, as she met her husband, the King, for the first time.
    • Catherine Howard, played by Tamzin Merchant, during a service of thanksgiving.
    • Catherine Parr, played by Joely Richardson, when questioned on charges of heresy.
    • Princess Elizabeth (later crowned Queen Elizabeth I), played by Claire MacCauley, during the christening of her half-brother, Prince Edward, and her introduction to Anne of Cleves