The Oscar Winning Bawdy Costume Drama That Could Have been a Rare Disease Film.

“The Favourite” is a scandalous version of the reign of Queen Anne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain starring three Oscar winning actresses. Anne (Olivia Colman in her Academy Award winning performance) was in ill health and while this isn't the focal point of the plot it does set up key opportunities for the palace intrigue. Anne most likely suffered from Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), also called Hughes syndrome. A key symptom is clotting of veins and arteries. It is thought to be the reason Queen Anne had no successful pregnancies. But this disease isn't named in the film, nor should it be since Hughes syndrome wasn't named until 1983. The film, set in 1710, instead refers to her illness as gout. Gout by the way has been called the “disease of kings”. Anne spends much of the film in a wheelchair.


Anne's symptoms create the opening for Sarah Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) to ingratiate herself as a care giver, massaging her legs. Later Marlborough's cousin and rival Abigail (Emma Stone) concocts and herb salve that soothes the Queen's leg wounds. Abigail seizes the opportunity to care for the Queen's ailments and gain favor. So while this could have been a story of the intensely personal role of caregiver to her patient both Sarah and Abigail advance from attending to the Queen's medical needs, to her emotional, and on to her sexual. And the sexual politics trump the global politics and this film becomes a love triangle tale as Abigail and Sarah vie for power and leverage over their Queen.