Belgravia writer reveals ‘tragic’ true story that inspired ITV period drama as family torn apart by fake wedding – The Sun

BELGRAVIA writer Julian Fellowes has revealed the 'tragic' true story behind the drama.

The first episode of a six-part series based on the novel of the same name aired on ITV last night to mixed reviews.

Now the Downton Abbey creator and writer of the novel, Julian Fellowes, has revealed how the period drama is based on real-life events.

Belgravia centres on the upmarket area of London in the 1840s, although the story begins 25 years earlier on the eve of Napoleon’s battle against the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo as British society came together on for a ball.

The first episode saw Sophie Trenchard (Emily Reid) procure invites for her social climbing father, James (Philip Glenister), who was once a humble market trader, and wife Anne (Tamsin Greig) – a move which would haunt them for years.

During the Ball, the men had to leave earlier than expected and Sophia was upset to have to say goodbye to Lord Edmund Bellasis (Jeremy Neumark Jones), who she loved.

Later, when Sophia learned he had been killed in battle, she confessed to Anne that she had fallen pregnant after being tricked into believing she had married Bellasis. 

Speaking to, show creator Julian explained he’d been inspired by the real-life story of Lord Barclay.

Julian said: “He eventually married but it’s a rather tragic story actually, because he, first of all, seduced his wife with a false cleric pretending to marry them, and all the rest of it, and then they were very happy. 

“And after they'd had about three children, he married her for real. And of course, what it meant was that their third son was the heir to the title and not their eldest son.”

Julian explained Lord and Lady Barclay wanted their eldest children to inherit the title despite him being illegitimate. 

He added: “They carried on with this fiction and pretended that the eldest son was the heir and eventually it was tried by the House of Lords.

“The youngest son was sort of not educated so that he wouldn't steal the thunder, it was all ghastly in the end and indeed, there is no Lord Barclay. 

“But nevertheless, that was a true story upfront, you know, just about this period and so it seemed to me to be what they call fair enough.”

Julian also discussed the inspiration behind the novel. He said: “It was just an opportunity to write about things that interested me.

“I’ve always been interested in the creation of Belgravia because it's one of the few parts of London that was built entirely as one.

“It was all thought of as one unit and apart from a few war losses, it’s as it was built now. 

“And it's never really changed its role. Admittedly, now, a lot of the houses or most of the houses are divided into flats, but nevertheless, it's remained a fashionable part of London.”

The first episode prompted a mixed reaction from viewers, with some claiming they were hooked and others claiming criticising the ‘clunky’ dialogue.

One wrote on Twitter: “Is it just me or is the dialogue in Belgravia execrable? I feel sorry for the actors.”

Another agreed, saying: "As usual Fellowes has thrown every cliché the book at Belgravia. Predictable dialogue – but it looks wonderful.”

Others were baffled by Tamsin Greig's character's ageless appearance despite a 26 YEAR time jump.

One wrote: "What moisturiser is Mrs Trenchard @TamsinGreig using?! Twenty-six years and she’s barely aged a day! #Belgravia."

Belgravia continues on Sunday on ITV at 9pm.

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