A long lost lost portrait by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens of King James’s gay lover George Villiers, the First Duke of Buckingham has been found after more than 400 years.
The portrait was rediscovered hanging in a property in Glasgow, where it had been assumed it was a copy.
However the painting, was verified to be real by antiquities expert Dr Bendor Grosvenor during BBC Four show Britain’s Lost Masterpieces.
The same-sex personal relationships of King James are much debated, with Villiers the last in a succession of handsome young favorites the king lavished with affection and patronage. James’s nickname for Buckingham was “Steenie”, after St. Stephen who was said to have had “the face of an angel.
Historian David M. Bergeron claims “Buckingham became James’s last and greatest lover” but his only evidence comes from flowery letters that followed 17th century styles of masculinity.
In a letter to Buckingham in 1623, the King ends with, “God bless you, my sweet child and wife, and grant that ye may ever be a comfort to your dear father and husband”. Buckingham reciprocated the King’s affections, writing back to James: “I naturally so love your person, and adore all your other parts, which are more than ever one man had”, “I desire only to live in the world for your sake” and “I will live and die a lover of you”.
Restoration of Apethorpe Palace in 2004–8 revealed a previously unknown passage linking Villiers’ bedchamber with that of James.
Buckingham remained at the height of royal favor for the first three years of the reign of King Charles I, until a disgruntled army-officer assassinated him.
The First Out Cafe, central London’s oldest gay cafe, is going to be shuttering its doors in two weeks. The cafe, which open in 1986, is only one of a number of business being affected by the construction of a new Crossrail line.
The cafe has long been a haven for young people coming to grips with their sexuality. From the BBC:
Director Maria Tejada said it provided “a safe place for people to be themselves, without any fear”.
“Lots of people say it was a haven,” she said.
“It was a place where they felt totally relaxed. They felt welcome.”
She said many people made friends or met their first partners there, and for others “it was part of their growing up”.
Ms Tejada spoke of a number of people for whom the cafe provided support.
“You have a young person trying to come out, and you almost feel protective towards them. They feel they have someone who can understand them.
Indian authorities are deciding weather or not to censor “Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyun”, an Indian gay romance movie directed by Sanjay Sharma and compared by critics to Brokeback Mountain, because of two gay kisses and a gay sex scene between stars Kapil Sharma and Yuvraaj Parasher.
“Why should the censors be scandalised if two men are kissing and making love? Said Sanjay Sharma. “The ones in my film are very aesthetic. And so what if it’s two men making love? Love is love regardless of gender.”
Bollywood has rarely mentioned homosexuality in the past and even heterosexual kisses are still unusual. But since the Indian capital Delhi legalised homosexuality last year, homosexuality is very slowly becoming more accepted in culture.
One of “Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyun”‘s stars, Yuvraaj Parasher has been disowned by his family and thrown of of the family home in Agra because of his role in the film. His father Satish Parasher told the newspaper:
“I feel what he has done is against the culture and tradition of our country and it challenges the purity of the relationship between a man and a woman. He kept us in the dark right from when he signed the film and told us that he is acting with a girl. When we heard about the poster and the things he has done in the film, we were shocked, hurt and humiliated. People will make fun of us and we won’t be able to live peacefully ever again.” and added. All the dreams and hopes we had built around him are over. For just a film role, he has lost out on his blood ties. We don’t want to see his face ever… not even when we are dying.” The family claim that no woman will consider marrying him after playing a gay man on-screen.
A recent film, Dostana, showed two men pretending to be gay in order to win over a female love interest, but Dunno Y . . . Na Jaane Kyun is the first big release to tackle the issue of homosexuality seriously. And is having a serious impact within the Bollywood film industry.