Cultural depictions of Elizabeth I of England

Cultural depictions of Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I, by Steven van der Meulen, 1560s

Elizabeth I of England has inspired artistic and cultural works for over four centuries. The following lists cover various media, enduring works of high art, and recent representations in popular culture, film and fiction. The entries represent portrayals that a reader has a reasonable chance of encountering rather than a complete catalogue.


Art, literature, drama and music

  • Elizabeth's own writings, which were considerable, were collected and published by the University of Chicago Press as Elizabeth I: Collected Works.
  • The Portraiture of Elizabeth I glorified her during her reign and masked her age in their later portraits. Elizabeth was often painted in rich and stylised gowns. Elizabeth is sometimes shown holding a sieve, a symbol of virginity.[1]
  • The birth of Elizabeth is proclaimed and her baptism is shown in scenes of William Shakespeare's play King Henry VIII.
  • One of Elizabeth's nicknames was "The Faerie Queen", after the poem in her honour by Edmund Spenser.
  • Elizabeth is a principal character in the play Mary Stuart by Friedrich Schiller (1800).
  • The three-volume Gothic romance novel, The Recess, by Sophia Lee.
  • Elizabeth is a character in the 1821 novel Kenilworth, by Sir Walter Scott.
  • The young Elizabeth is a minor character in Mark Twain's novel The Prince and the Pauper.
  • 20th century American Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Maxwell Anderson dramatized episodes of Elizabeth's life in two of his most popular plays, Elizabeth the Queen (1930) and Mary of Scotland (1933).
  • Margaret Irwin wrote the Good Queen Bess trilogy based on Elizabeth's youth: Young Bess (1945), Elizabeth, Captive Princess (1950), and Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain (1953).
  • Mary M. Luke wrote a definitive Tudor trilogy: Catherine the Queen (1968), A Crown for Elizabeth (1970), and Gloriana: The Years of Elizabeth I (1973), with the latter two books focusing on Elizabeth's youth and reign.
  • All the Queen's Men by Evelyn Anthony (1960)
  • No Great Magic by Fritz Leiber (1963): depicted as a series of time-traveling impostors.
  • Vivat! Vivat Regina! by Robert Bolt (1970)
  • The Queen and the Gypsy by Constance Heaven (1977)
  • My Enemy the Queen by Victoria Holt (1978)
  • Queen of This Realm by Jean Plaidy (1984)
  • Legacy by Susan Kay (1985)
  • Much Suspected of Me by Maureen Peters (1991)
  • I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles (1994).
  • To Shield the Queen, a series of eight books featuring Ursula Blanchard, Lady in waiting to Elizabeth, by Fiona Buckley (1997–2006).
  • Elizabeth's story is told for children in Elizabeth I, Red Rose of the House of Tudor, a book by Kathryn Lasky in the Royal Diaries series published by Scholastic (1999).
  • Author Karen Harper has written a mystery series about Elizabeth. Included in this series are nine fictional novels. They are: The Poyson Garden (2000), The Tidal Poole (2000), The Twylight Tower (2002), The Queene's Cure (2003), The Thorne Maze (2003), The Queene's Christmas (2004), The Fyre Mirror (2006), The Fatal Fashione (2006), and The Hooded Hawke (2007).
  • Beware, Princess Elizabeth is a novel for children by Carolyn Meyer (2001).
  • Author Robin Maxwell wrote three novels figuring Elizabeth: Virgin: Prelude to the Throne (2001); Elizabeth's story is spliced with her mother's in The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn. The story of the historic Arthur Dudley, who pretended to be a son of Elizabeth and Lord Robert Dudley, is embellished in The Queen's Bastard (1999).
  • Author Philippa Gregory portrayed Elizabeth as a character in five out of her six books on the Tudors. She is seen as a baby and a child in The Other Boleyn Girl (2001), a child in The Boleyn Inheritance (2006), a young woman in The Queen's Fool (2003), a young queen in The Virgin's Lover (2004)and as an older queen in "The Other Queen" (2008).
  • A historical fantasy of Elizabeth's life, featuring elven guardians, is recounted in This Scepter'd Isle (2004), Ill Met by Moonlight (2005), and By Slanderous Tongues (2007) by Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis.
  • An aged and dying Queen Elizabeth was a central character in the 2005 Marvel Comics series Marvel 1602.
  • A Storm of Angels, a 2005 Doctor Who audio drama, featured Kate Brown as the Gloriana of a parallel history
  • Queen Elizabeth I: A Children's Picture Book by Richard Brassey (2005)
  • Queen Elizabeth I and Her Conquests by Margret Simpson (2006)
  • The 2007 book Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir about Lady Jane Grey features Elizabeth as a young woman.
  • The 2008 book The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir features Elizabeth as a young girl from the death of her mother to her coronation and her relationships with her half siblings and her father.
  • In the 2007 Broadway musical The Pirate Queen, an Irish chieftain, Gráinne O'Malley, challenges Elizabeth I's takeover of Ireland.
  • Elizabeth Bear's Promethean Age books Ink & Steel and Hell & Earth are set in the final decade of Elizabeth's reign and feature her prominently.
  • Elizabeth the Queen, a play by Maxwell Anderson
  • Elizabeth Rex, a play by Timothy Findley (2000)
  • The Princeling, Volume 3 of The Morland Dynasty, a series of historical novels by author Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. The fictional Nanette Morland is her servant and mentor, having previously been a close friend, servant and confidante of Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn.
  • Virgin and the Crab - Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the Early Life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor, a novel by Robert Parry (2009) speculates on the early relationship between the young Elizabeth and her 'noble intelligencer.'


Theatre, film and television portrayals

There have been numerous notable portrayals of Queen Elizabeth on stage, film and television; in fact, she is the most filmed British monarch.[2][3] George MacDonald Fraser wrote "no historic figure has been represented more honestly in the cinema, or better served by her players".[4]



In the cinema, Elizabeth has been portrayed by:


On television, Elizabeth has been portrayed by:

Video games


  • Different incidents from the life of Elizabeth are re-enacted at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire each year in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The faire, which has been an annual celebration of Tudor history for over twenty years, takes place at the Mount Hope Estate and Winery, and is one of the largest and most critically acclaimed of its kind. The North Carolina Renaissance Faire in Raleigh, North Carolina als celebrates aspects of the life of Elizabeth.
  • In the anime Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, which is set in an alternate time line, Elizabeth (who remained single throughout her life even in this alternate history), beares an illegitimate son. The potential fathers — Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester; Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex; and Carl, Duke of Britannia — gain influence and power with this knowledge. After Elizabeth's death in 1603, the Golden Age of the Tudor Dynasty begins when her son, who would become Henry IX, ascends to the throne.

See also


  1. ^ For a catalogue of contemporary portraits, see: Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I by Roy C Strong, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1963.
  2. ^ FilmCrunch: Cate Blanchett to Reprise Royal Role
  3. ^ Famous People and their Lives: Queen Elizabeth I
  4. ^ Fraser, George MacDonald: The Hollywood History of the World, Fawcett, 1989, p. 69–70
  5. ^ Neil Genzlinger, NY Times review.Retrieved January 17, 2009

Further reading

  • Fraser, George MacDonald. The Hollywood History of the World. Fawcett, 1989. ISBN 0-449-90438-5.
  • Howard, Maurice. "Elizabeth I: A Sense Of Place In Stone, Print and Paint," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Dec 2004, Vol. 14 Issue 1, pp 261–268
  • Starkey, David. Elizabeth (2000) ISBN 0-099-28657-2
  • Watson, Nicola J., and Michael Dobson. England's Elizabeth: An Afterlife in Fame and Fantasy (2002) ISBN 0-19-818377-1.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cultural depictions of Henry VIII of England — Henry VIII of England and his reign has been depicted in art, film, literature, music, opera, plays, and television PLEASE NOTE: Those with Wikipedia articles are cited only Contents 1 Art 2 Film 3 Literature 4 Music …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural depictions of Mary I of England — Mary I of England has been depicted in popular culture a number of times. Contents 1 Literature 2 Film and television 3 Audio 4 Footnotes …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural depictions of Edward VI of England — Edward VI of England has been depicted in popular culture a number of times. Literature Edward VI is a central character in Mark Twain s novel The Prince and the Pauper, in which the young prince and a pauper boy named Tom Canty, who bears a… …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural depictions of Henry VII of England — Henry VII of England has been depicted a number of times in popular culture. Literature As a youthful Earl of Richmond, Henry is a character in the play Henry VI, Part 3 by William Shakespeare. He is also a character in Shakespeare s play Richard …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural depictions of James I of England — James I of England has been depicted a number of times in popular culture. Literature James is a character in the novel To Have and to Hold by Mary Johnston (1900). James acts as something of the antagonist in the comic series Marvel 1602 and its …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural depictions of Richard III of England — Late 16C portrait of Richard III (National Portrait Gallery, London), copied from an early 16C one in the Royal Collections. This version features in Josephine Tey s novel The Daughter of Time. Richard III of England has been depicted in popular… …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural depictions of Charles II of England — Charles II of England has been portrayed many times in popular culture. Contents 1 Literature 2 Film 3 Television 4 References Literatu …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural depictions of Edward II of England — Fictional portrait of King Edward II of England. The scene on the lower part shows the king being murdered. Ca. 1700 AD Edward II of England has been portrayed in popular culture a number of times. Contents …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural depictions of Charles I of England — Charles I of England has been depicted in popular culture a number of times. Literature Twenty Years After, by Alexandre Dumas, gives a fictionalized account of Charles I s downfall, trial and death. The book s fictional villain, Mordaunt, is… …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural depictions of Richard I of England — Richard I of England has been depicted many times in romantic fiction and popular culture. Contents 1 Robin Hood 2 Other literature 3 Opera 4 Film …   Wikipedia