I admit it, I am totally a (historical) royals geek. Of course, I understand that royalty are just people, some of whom aren’t very interesting or nice. But especially when I was younger, I read numerous “Queens of England” books and biographies of various queens. I always think about doing social media theme days with images of different queens, then get disappointed when I realize that there aren’t enough movies/TV series to make it worthwhile. So instead, I’m compiling a bunch of the lesser known/depicted queens into a series of three posts, focusing on the medieval era, then the Renaissance through the 19th century, and finally the 20th century.
BEFORE YOU FREAK OUT, I am consciously skipping these people who are worthy of (or already have) their own posts:
- Eleanor of Aquitaine
- Elizabeth Woodville
- Anne Neville
- Elizabeth of York
- Catherine of Aragon
- Anne Boleyn
- Jane Seymour
- Anne of Cleves
- Catherine Howard
- Catherine Parr
- Henrietta Maria
- Jane Grey
- Mary I
- Elizabeth I
- Catherine of Braganza
- Mary of Modena
- Elizabeth II
I’m mostly working with Wikipedia data here, so if you know of a movie or TV series that has included any of English/British queens, please feel free to add it in the comments! If they’re not listed here, it’s because I can’t find any onscreen portrayals. Also, I don’t wanna hear any bitching about the term “lesser.” I mean “less frequently depicted.” Breathe.
Here’s my post about medieval English queens and about Renaissance through 19th century English/British queens. Onwards!
Alexandra of Denmark (1901-10)
Daughter of Christian IX of Denmark, she married the future Edward VII. She was incredibly fashionable and a real style setter. She wasn’t given any political powers, so was mostly focused on her children and charitable works.
She was played by Ann Firbank in Lillie (1978), but I can’t find any pics.
She was played by Julia Blake in Passion (1999), but I can’t find any photos.
Mary of Teck (1910-36)
Born and raised in England, although her father was the Duke of Teck; her mother was Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, granddaughter of George III. She was married to the future George V, and was mostly notable for supporting her husband through World War I, ill health, and major political changes.
She was played by Rebecca Slater in Edward the Seventh (1975), but I can’t find any pics.
Phyllis Calvert played her in The Woman He Loved (1988), but I can’t find any pics.
Played by Margaret Tyzack in, but no photos, in Wallis & Edward (2005).
Valerie Dane has an uncredited part as Mary in Downton Abbey (2010-15) — maybe in the court presentation scene?
Queen Elizabeth (1936-52)
Daughter of Claude Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis (later the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in Scotland), she married the future George VI (who took over as king after his elder brother, Edward VIII, abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson). She was a major inspirational figure during World War II, and the matriarch of the British royal family until her death at age 101.
Marion Bailey will play her in the next season of The Crown (2016- ).
Who’s your favorite on-screen 20th century British queen/empress?