Good article, Kathy. I saw “Braveheart” once in the theaters long ago and didn’t remember that scene (then again, my memory ain’t a superpower!).
Anyway, as a fiction writer and a person who uses intuition as much as I do anything else to “know” things, here’s my guess: It likely didn’t happen, but fiction writers knew that, in essence, such things did happen behind closed doors so…
They wrote the scene as though it happened in front of everybody to make it more clear how shitty this behind-closed-doors practice was. Now, it’s not entirely fair of the fiction writers of yore, because clearly there’d be an extra layer of serious humiliation to the groom and everyone watching would have been horrified, but I think the writers wanted people to really feel how shitty it is that a lord has this “right” as a way of perhaps getting the peasants to resist this, or at least consider resisting it.
Often, fiction writers use exaggeration of things that are hidden behind closed doors in this way; to get people to think about what we are hiding and to bring it to the surface and maybe hope it can change.
Just my thoughts on this historical mystery!