Cultural depictions of Elizabeth I of England
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.
- 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.'
- The novel The Bones of Avalon (2010) by Phil Rickman describes Elizabeth visiting John Dee. It is also about her entourage and about a plot to undermine her reputation and power in order to prepare to have her eventually replaced by Mary, Queen of Scots. John Dee as the book's hero is assigned to prevent all that.
- Elizabeth I (2011) by Margaret George is a novel that tracks the latter years of Elizabeth's life from 1588 until her death.
- Henry Purcell wrote a 1692 semi-opera The Fairy-Queen, an adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. One of Elizabeth's nicknames was "The Faerie Queen", after the poem in her honour by Edmund Spenser.
- Gioacchino Rossini wrote his first Neapolitan opera on the subject of Elizabeth I, Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra, in 1814–15, ultimately based on a three-volume Gothic romance novel, The Recess, by Sophia Lee.
- Elizabeth appears in three operas by Gaetano Donizetti, Il castello di Kenilworth (1829) after Walter Scott, Maria Stuarda (1834), based loosely on Schiller's play; and Roberto Devereux (1837) about her affair with the Earl of Essex.
- Elizabeth is a leading character in Ambroise Thomas' opéra comique Le songe d'une nuit d'été (1850)
- Benjamin Britten wrote an opera, Gloriana, about the relationship between Elizabeth and Essex, composed for the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II.
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. George MacDonald Fraser wrote "no historic figure has been represented more honestly in the cinema, or better served by her players".
- Lynn Fontanne, Elizabeth the Queen, - 1930; a play by Maxwell Anderson
- Diane D'Aquila, Elizabeth Rex, - 2000; a play by Timothy Findley
- Stephanie Barton-Farcas, Elizabeth Rex, - 2008;
In the cinema, Elizabeth has been portrayed by:
- Sarah Bernhardt in the French silent short Les Amours de la reine Élisabeth (1912), dramatising Elizabeth's love affair with the Earl of Essex.
- Gladys Ffolliott in the British silent comedy Old Bill Through the Ages (1924), featuring the character Old Bill created by Bruce Bairnsfather.
- Athene Seyler in Drake of England (1935).
- Florence Eldridge in Mary of Scotland (1936), an adaptation of Maxwell Anderson's play with Katharine Hepburn as Mary, Queen of Scots.
- Gwendolyn Jones in The Prince and the Pauper (1937).
- Yvette Pienne in the French film Pearls of the Crown (1937).
- Flora Robson in Fire Over England (1937) and The Sea Hawk (1940).
- Bette Davis in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) and The Virgin Queen (1955).
- Maria Koppenhöfer in the German film Das Herz der Königin (1940), about Mary, Queen of Scots.
- Olga Lindo in the British time travel comedy Time Flies (1944).
- Jean Simmons in Young Bess (1953), about her early years.
- Agnes Moorehead in The Story of Mankind (1957).
- Irene Worth in Seven Seas to Calais (1962).
- Catherine Lacey in The Fighting Prince of Donegal (1966).
- Glenda Jackson in the BBC miniseries Elizabeth R (1971), and in Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), with Vanessa Redgrave as Mary.
- Jenny Runacre in Derek Jarman's film Jubilee (1977).
- Lalla Ward in Crossed Swords (1977), an adaptation of The Prince and the Pauper.
- Quentin Crisp in Orlando (1992).
- Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth (1998) and its sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), for both of which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
- Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love (1998), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
- Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson both play Elizabeth in the film Anonymous (2011).
On television, Elizabeth has been portrayed by:
- Dorothy Black in the BBC drama The Dark Lady of the Sonnets (1946)
- Mildred Natwick in Mary of Scotland (1951), an adaptation of Maxwell Anderson's play in the American Pulitzer Prize Playhouse series
- Maxine Audley in the BBC series Kenilworth (1957), an adaptation of Scott's novel
- Peggy Thorpe-Bates in the BBC series Queen's Champion (1958)
- Mecha Ortiz in the Argentinian drama Elizabeth Is Dead (1960), about Elizabeth's last hours
- Jane Wenham in the BBC series An Age of Kings (1960), which contained all Shakespeare's history plays from Richard II to Richard III
- Jean Kent in the British adventure series Sir Francis Drake (1961)
- Katya Douglas in The Prince and the Pauper (1962), part of the American TV series Disneyland
- Vivienne Bennett in "The Executioners" episode of the BBC series Doctor Who (1965)
- Susan Engel in the BBC series The Queen's Traitor (1967), about the Ridolfi plot
- Judith Anderson in Elizabeth the Queen (1968), an adaptation of Maxwell Anderson's play in the American series Hallmark Hall of Fame for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award
- Gemma Jones in the BBC series Kenilworth (1968), another adaptation of Scott's novel
- Glenda Jackson in the BBC series Elizabeth R (1971), for which she won two Emmy Awards
- Graham Chapman in Episode 29 of the BBC series Monty Python's Flying Circus, in a spoof of Elizabeth R titled "Erizabeth L" (1972)
- Hattie Jacques in the "Orgy and Bess" episode of the British comedy series Carry On Laughing (1975)
- Patience Collier in the ATV drama series Life of Shakespeare (1978)
- Charlotte Cornwell in the British drama Drake's Venture (1980), with John Thaw as Francis Drake
- Rosalind Plowright in a BBC adaptation of Donizetti's opera Mary Stuart (1982)
- Sarah Walker in an adaptation of Britten's opera Gloriana (1984)
- Miranda Richardson in the BBC comedy series Blackadder II (1986), Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988) and the Millennium episode Blackadder: Back & Forth (2000), where she is portrayed as childish and spoiled. In the last episode the entire supporting cast is killed by Prince Ludwig the Indestructible, who impersonates her.
- Helen Baxendale in the "An Evil Business" episode of the Granada Television drama documentary series In Suspicious Circumstances (1996), about the death of Amy Robsart
- Josephine Barstow in another adaptation of Britten's opera Gloriana (2000)
- Imogen Slaughter in the drama documentary Elizabeth (2000), in which Karen Archer played her as an older woman and Saskia Blackwell as a child
- Margot Kidder in the "Her Grace Under Pressure" episode of the American science fiction series Mentors (2001)
- Lorna Lacey in the Granada Television serial Henry VIII (2003)
- Catherine McCormack in the BBC series Gunpowder, Treason & Plot (2004)
- Anne-Marie Duff in the BBC series The Virgin Queen (2005)
- Helen Mirren in the miniseries Elizabeth I (2005), for which she won an Emmy Award
- Angela Pleasence in "The Shakespeare Code" episode of Doctor Who (2007), appearing in the closing scene and claiming that the Doctor (David Tennant) is her sworn enemy. It is later revealed in The End of Time (2009) that the Doctor marries and has a sexual relationship with her right after his adventure in "The Waters of Mars". In "The Wedding of River Song" (2011), the Doctor says that "Liz the first is waiting in a glade to elope with me" suggesting a romantic as well as sexual relationship. Scenes in "The Day of the Doctor" (2013) depict the Doctor seducing Elizabeth (played by Joanna Page) in the hopes of foiling an alien plot. He eventually goes as far as marrying her, before leaving her at the altar.
- Kate Duggan (Series 2) and Claire McCauley (Series 3) in the Showtime series The Tudors (2008) as a child. Laoise Murray in Series 4 of The Tudors (2010) as a teenager.
- Martha Howe-Douglas has appeared in all series of CBBC's Horrible Histories (2009-) as Queen Elizabeth.
- In the popular real time strategy video game Age of Empires III, Queen Elizabeth is the AI personality for the British civilization.
- Elizabeth has been the leader of the English civilization in all of Sid Meier's Civilization computer games; she is joined by Queen Victoria in Civilization IV and Sir Winston Churchill in the Warlords expansion to that game.
- In the strategy games Europa Universalis and Europa Universalis II, Queen Elizabeth appears, as with all other monarchs of the realm, at her historical time. Her diplomatic, administrative and military skills are remarkable.
- In Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series, Queen Elizabeth held one of the Golden Apple variety of the pieces of Eden during her reign.
- In Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, modern day adventurer Nathan Drake discovers that Queen Elizabeth had sent explorer Sir Francis Drake to the lost city of Ubar to discover the supernatural properties of the Djinn, which would give her the opportunity to expand her empire and enslave the world.
- The queen of the video game Anno 1701 has the same features and bears the same style dress to that of Queen Elizabeth I.
- 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 also celebrates aspects of the life of Elizabeth, as does the New York Renaissance Faire.
- 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), bears 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.
- For a catalogue of contemporary portraits, see: Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I by Roy C Strong, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1963.
- FilmCrunch: Cate Blanchett to Reprise Royal Role
- Famous People and their Lives: Queen Elizabeth I
- Fraser, George MacDonald: The Hollywood History of the World, Fawcett, 1989, p. 69–70
- Neil Genzlinger, NY Times review.Retrieved January 17, 2009
- 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
- Sue Parrill and William B. Robison, The Tudors on Film and Television (McFarland, 2013). ISBN 978-0-7864-5891-2.
- Starkey, David. Elizabeth (2000) ISBN 0-09-928657-2
- Watson, Nicola J., and Michael Dobson. England's Elizabeth: An Afterlife in Fame and Fantasy (2002) ISBN 0-19-818377-1.