Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots

Saoirse Ronan plays Mary Queen of Scots opposite Margot Robbie as Elizabeth 1. (Photo: ScreenCap)

Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, probably two of Hollywood’s hottest actresses at the moment, put together a stirring performance as British royalty in “Mary Queen of Scots,”, back when it meant something to be king or queen of England.

Mary Stuart (Ronan), known as Queen of Scots becomes involved in a heated rivalry with her half=sister, Elizabeth I, (Robbie) that was rooted in religious and political divisions.

On the death of King Edward VI in 1553, Mary, a devout Roman Catholic, was declared queen. Elizabeth was jailed for allegedly supporting Protestant rebels.

Elizabeth succeeded her in 1558 and declared the establishment of Protestantism as the official religion of England. Eventually, it became the Church of England. Mary was considered the legitimate queen by English Catholics, and an intense rivalry ensued.

The Scottish queen plots to overthrow Elizabeth I and re-establish Catholicism as the official religion. But her coup failed and she landed in prison. Eventually, Elizabeth ordered Mary executed.

Oddly, Elizabeth, childless during her reign, was succeeded by Mary’s son, James VI of Scotland.

The film also stars Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, Gemma Chan, Martin Compston, Ismael Cordova, Brendan Coyle, Ian Hart, Adrian Lester, James McArdle, David Tennant and Guy Pearce.

Beau Willimon adapted the screenplay based on John Guy’s biography “Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart.” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Debra Hayward are producers.

“Mary Queen of Scots” hits theaters Dec. 7. Check out the trailer below.