War and Peace: Downton Abbey historical adviser calls out costume error
Downton Abbey historical adviser Alastair Bruce has called out War and Peace for a “baffling” costuming blunder early in the miniseries’ first episode.
During the premiere’s opening sequence, French aristocrat Vicomte de Mortemart (Laurent Maurel) is shown wearing the Legion d’honneur, an award Napoleon established after overthrowing the monarchy — but de Mortemart, who fled to Russia during the French Revolution, voices contempt for Napoleon’s ideals.
“Napoleon has utterly destroyed his own country,” says de Mortemart. “France is no longer a place where civilised people can live.”
Bruce expressed his disappointment with the error on Twitter.
On Monday, Bruce told The Daily Telegraph that the mistake was “the equivalent of making a historical political drama and putting Margaret Thatcher in a red rosette.”
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War and Peace‘s adviser on military history, Dominic Lieven — a professor of Russian history at the London School of Economics — took the blame. “I must have missed that one,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “To be honest, I didn’t look that carefully enough at their chests. I should have noticed it; it’s my fault.”
Over its run, Downton has been no stranger to complaints about historical inaccuracy — including the notorious plastic water bottle visible in the background of a season 5 promotional photo — but Bruce says that those errors had “nothing to do with [him].”
The war is over, but intrigue, crisis, romance, and change still grip the beloved estate.