Where and What Year Does The Serpent Queen Take Place?

Starz’s ‘The Serpent Queen’ is a period drama that follows the story of Catherine de Medici, tracing her rise from an unlucky orphan to the Queen of France, who left an indelible mark on the world. The show captures the aura of the sixteenth century perfectly with its beautiful locations and intricate wardrobe. While its storytelling does enjoy the modernity of the fourth-of-wall breaking, at its core, it remains a political chess match, with a lone woman caught in the middle of it to ensure her survival with whatever means possible. The story moves forward pretty quickly, making it easy to lose track of time. If you want to know when and where the show’s story takes place, we’ve got you covered.

A Journey Through Time in The Serpent Queen

Image Credit: Shanna Besson/Starz

‘The Serpent Queen’ is split into two timelines. The first one begins in 1560 when Catherine de Medici is in her early forties. This is the year when her second son, Charles IX was coronated, and the show begins around that event. The preparations for the coronation are underway and Catherine is looking for a maid who can keep her occupied with a good conversation during this time, indulging in activities that she finds terribly dull. By this time, Catherine has already attained the status that puts her in an incredible position of power. She is the queen, and from the way the guards and other maids react to her name, it seems like Catherine has also garnered the reputation that bestowed the title of the Serpent Queen on her. The maid, Rahima, is reluctant to accept the orange that Catherine gives her to eat, which means that the maid has already heard the stories of the queen poisoning people left and right.

It is in conversation with Rahima that Catherine starts to talk about her past. She was born in the year 1519, and in a quick succession of events, we discover how misfortune has followed her since her birth. The show takes a breather in the year 1536, where we meet the seventeen-year-old Catherine, who is still in the convent, being raised by the nuns. This is the second timeline of the show, where we follow Catherine’s story from the beginning. With the difference between the two timelines, we see a marked contrast between the two Catherines, and over the course of events, we’ll see the younger, more innocent version get hardened by her experiences and become the cunning, confident Catherine who is the Queen of France now.

The Serpent Queen Takes Place in France

Image Credit: Stefanie Branchu/Starz

Catherine de Medici was the queen of France, and it only makes sense that her story should begin in France. We meet her at the time when she is enjoying the peak years of her power, as well as her reputation as a dangerous woman. The show takes its time to reveal more of 1560 France to us, especially regarding the events taking place outside the palace walls, the ones that will eventually change the course of Catherine’s reign.

In the young Catherine’s timeline, we are taken back to Florence, only if very briefly. This is where she was born and orphaned almost a month later. The streak of her misfortune continues with the death of her grandmother, who was the only person left to take care of her. With no one to take over her guardianship, she is left in a convent in Tuscany, which is where she spends the next few years of her life until eventually, she is captured by the rebels and then rescued by her uncle, Pope Clement VII, who marries her off to the King of France’s second son. From here, the story of Catherine revolves within the court of France, and this is where she remains until her dying breath.

Read More: Where is Starz’s The Serpent Queen Filmed?