by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz
One of the benefits of being fluent in more than one language is that it allows you to watch hoity toity stuff from abroad. You know the type – soap operas wrapped around history/period pieces, like The Tudors and such, only in languages other than English.
After the success of The Tudors – where Henry VIII was gorgeous but shorter than the real-life Henry – the Spaniards have come up with a TV series on Henry’s mother-in-law, Queen Isabella. The series, Isabel, is as visually appealing as The Tudors, filmed on beautiful locations and sets, and stars not only a lovely girl as Isabel but very handsome men, who greatly add to the appeal. Behold, the cast of Isabel:
I came across Isabel while flipping channels a couple of weeks ago, and started to watch the episodes on line (in Spanish, no subtitles). As it turns out, I finished watching the first season just as Hillary Clinton’s new book came out.
Hillary could learn five things from the young Isabel:
1. It’s not about you, it’s about your country: The young Isabel wanted to be queen not because it was her due as kin of the powerful, but because she was determined to make her people more prosperous (materially and spiritually) and to better her realm.
2. Don’t ask “what difference at this point, does it make?” Isabel fully realized that she was there to make a difference, and that it was her responsibility to do so.
3. Treat your bodyguards with respect and consideration. Young Isabel learned from an early age that good help is not only hard to find, but that her life depended on them, unlike Hillary, who confused the Secret Service with porters.
4. Don’t let your hair down in public. While young Isabel wore her hair down in the TV series, she was scrupulous about protocol. No leading the conga line while on a junket for her!
5. Don’t hang on your husband’s coattails. Isabel, when her brother the king died, placed the crown on her head and became chief justice through her own initiative. She didn’t wait for Ferdinand to get back in town. Indeed, the point was that she didn’t need to wait because it was she who was in charge.
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog, and is fond of pretentious TV soaps disguised as docudramas.