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Penshurst Place plays leading role in Hollywood film Mary Queen of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan

A medieval stately home will have a starring role in a Hollywood blockbuster set for release in the UK next year.

Penshurst Place, near Tonbridge, was picked as the perfect setting for a range of scenes in the new Mary Queen of Scots film.

Saoirse Ronan plays Mary Stuart in the depiction of the charismatic queen with many scenes filmed in the Baron's Hall and the Inner Courtyard.

Saoirse Ronan stars as Mary Stuart in Mary Queen of Scots Credit: Liam Daniel / Focus Features
Saoirse Ronan stars as Mary Stuart in Mary Queen of Scots Credit: Liam Daniel / Focus Features

The film has already been released in the US but UK audiences will have to wait until January 18 to see Penshurst Place on the big screen.

Based on the book ‘Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart’ by Dr John Guy, the movie explores the turbulent life Mary, Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, who defies pressure to remarry.

Instead she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of her cousin Queen Elizabeth I, played by Margot Robbie, and before long Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth’s sovereignty.

Jack Lowden stars as Lord Darnley, Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart and James McArdle as Earl of Moray in Mary Queen of Scots. Credit: Liam Daniel/Focus Features
Jack Lowden stars as Lord Darnley, Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart and James McArdle as Earl of Moray in Mary Queen of Scots. Credit: Liam Daniel/Focus Features

Filming in Penshurst took place in October 2017.

The Baron’s Hall is shown at the start of the official trailer for Mary Queen of Scots, providing an atmospheric backdrop for Mary’s execution, one of the pivotal scenes in the film.

Meanwhile the Inner Courtyard was used to showcase the solemn procession of spectators waiting to witness Queen Mary’s execution.

Penshurst Place at Christmas (5096970)
Penshurst Place at Christmas (5096970)

This is the latest in an impressive list of film and television roles for Penshurst Place which includes Wolf Hall, The Other Boleyn Girl and The Hollow Crown.

Ben Thomas, general manager at Penshurst Place and Gardens, said: “It is a great honour for Penshurst Place to be featured in the new Mary Queen of Scots film.

"We enjoyed welcoming the actors and film crew last year, and it’s always exciting to see locations such as the impressive Baron’s Hall really step back in time when transformed by the production team.

"The Baron’s Hall was visited by the director and her assistant on many occasions prior to filming, and was the perfect size to create a grand yet intimate scene for what will surely become one of the film's most pivotal moments.”

Penshurst Place is a 4th century manor house, surrounded by 11 acres of walled Tudor gardens.

It is open to the public on select dates in February and March and daily from April to October.

It was originally built as a country retreat for the Lord Mayor of London, Sir John de Pulteney. It has since been owned by a succession of royalty and nobles including King Henry VIII.

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