Olivia Ross as Queen Joan
“Knightfall” star Olivia Ross said that Queen Joan is “very relatable” because she’s “someone who is in love and for love.” History/Larry Horricks

Actress Olivia Ross said that Queen Joan is a “very relatable” character despite being the most powerful woman in France on History’s new series “Knightfall.”

“I think Queen Joan is very relatable because love is always relatable,” Ross said of her character in a featurette recently released by the network. “Someone who is in love and for love and whose heart is broken, there’s nothing more relatable than that, really. She wants to stay with her daughter (Sabrina Bartlett’s Princess Isabella) and be a great mother and at the same time she wants to be a great queen. You can’t all have these things at the same time. But all of us, somehow, want different things which are opposing in nature and yet you can’t help but want all of them.”

Although Ross pointed out that Queen Joan has two main goals — to be a good queen and to be good mother to her daughter, previous episodes of the period drama proved that her love for her daughter comes first before her love for France. In Season 1, episode 2, Queen Joan supported Princess Isabella’s decision to marry Prince Lluis of Catalonia (Marcos Franz) even though the Queen knows that it would be better for France if the Princess marries Prince Edward of England.

Even though Queen Joan prioritizes Princess Isabella’s personal happiness over politics, Ross still thinks that the Queen is “very astute politically.” “She understands very well what’s going on [between France and other countres].” Ross said of her character. “She is a strong adviser to her husband King Philip (Ed Stoppard). Even though their personal relationship isn’t going so well, she’s so much present in the room.”

In fact, Queen Joan’s shrewdness on politics was one of the things that attracted Ross to the role. In an interview with Us Weekly, Ross said that it’s important for her that the characters she plays are not “empty headed.” “You want them to be rich and full and have depth and be dimensional,” she explained. “I met with [‘Knightfall’s’] showrunner and director and said that I was interested in being more than just a love [interest on the show]. I felt straight away that that’s what they had in mind. That’s what [Queen Joan] is.”

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ross even called Queen Joan “a medieval feminist icon” who, unfortunately, “like so many female leaders of the past, tend to be underwritten by history.”

“Knightfall” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on History.