After exploring the rise and fall of British politician Jeremy Thorpe in A Very English Scandal, Amazon Prime is reeling fans back in with an intimate look at Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll—an iconic figure in British high society. Claire Foy stars as the gorgeous debutante turned royal in the follow-up series A Very British Scandal, which debuts this Friday on the streaming service (after previously airing on the BBC). And to say that her performance is unforgettable is an understatement. Foy truly captures the dazzling duchess, from her glamor and elegance to her unapologetic personality—especially when it comes to her romances. But aside from her captivating performance, this series also does a brilliant job of highlighting Britain's toxic tabloid culture, the double standards women endure and Margaret’s incredible resilience.
For example, episode one begins with a brief glimpse of the highly publicized divorce case, when the 11th Duke of Argyll sued his wife on grounds of adultery. At this point, some of her most intimate photos were exposed and she was heavily criticized (and demonized) by the press. Not to mention the angry mobs who hurled insults at Margaret when she appeared in public. But this level of backlash was never directed at the duke, who committed adultery against his previous wife, Louise (Sophia Myles), and even faced allegations of violence. It was quite common (and arguably still is today) for men to have extra-marital affairs, but when women did the same, they fell victim to slut shaming and got shunned by the public.
Still, the duchess continued to carry herself with dignity and confidence. Even as Ian tried to wear her down, insisting she didn’t have the “guts” to go through with this court case. And just when he expected her to give in, she hit him back with a cold stare and said, “You better take your seat.”