Antonia Clarke says she loved being the woman who said no to a king, playing the real historical figure Frances Stewart in ITV’s epic The Great Fire (Thursdays).

Frances was the Duchess of Richmand and Lennox, considered one of the great beauties of her era and, although the married King Charles II was in the middle of political turmoil and then facing the tragedy of the Great Fire of London, he still found the energy to pursue Frances.

Antonia told What’s on TV: “I loved rejecting a king, I don’t think I’ll ever get to reject a king again! [Frances] became really well known for her virtue and I think it was that virtue that enflamed the King’s passion for her and he kept on pursuing her. It was fun playing a woman who was using her sexuality almost chastely. Rather than sleeping around to get power she was secure in her position to not sleep with people, which was great for me.”

Watch Antonia discuss the pain of wearing period costume and the pleasure from playing Frances in The Great Fire, above.