As cliche as it seems, I completely love stories about royalty. Double awesome are stories about real historical royals - the history lover inside me is always stoked for different portrayals! Since the lives of queens are often shadowed in mystery, I find it interesting to see their lives fleshed out onscreen. Here are the first seven portrayals of queens who really lived (or probably really lived) that I enjoyed:
14 Favorite Portrayals Of Real Queens, Part 1
Favorite Portrayals: The Young Victoria
Why I Like Her: As a strong woman who ruled England by herself for six decades, Victoria’s reign and personal life has always been fascinating. Emily Blunt stars as Victoria in The Young Victoria and I personally think she was perfection in this role bringing vulnerability, intelligence, and strength to the role. Victoria and Albert’s romance is the highlight to the film – so utterly sweet and perfect.
Country: Yuan (China)/Goryeo (Korea)
Year: died in 1365
Favorite Portrayals: Faith (also The Great Doctor)
Why I Like Her: Queen Noguk grew up in China during the Yuan Dynasty when China was ruled by Mongolians descended from Kublai Khan. During this time, Yuan kings ordered Goryeo (Korean) princes to marry their Yuan princesses. Borjigin Budashiri married King Gongmin and became Queen Noguk. Though they had no children, they are said to have been very close. After her death, King Gongmin withdraw from politics and would often stare at a painting of his deceased wife. In the K-drama Faith, Gongmin and Noguk’s romance is portrayed beautifully. Park Se-Young brings a fantastic icy dignity to the queen as well as a gentler side that she keeps hidden.
Country: Shilla (Korea)
Favorite Portrayals: Queen Seondeok
Why I Like Her: Possibly my favorite queen, Queen Seondeok/Princess Deokman succeeded her father King Jinpyeong in 632 as ruler. There are many legends surrounding her intelligence. She was interested in astronomy and successfully quelled an uprising that formed against her because she was a woman ruler. Lee Yo-Won wonderfully portrays Princess Deokman from her early days of naivety and simplicity to her eventual gutsy take of her kingdom’s throne.
Queen Elizabeth I
Favorite Portrayals: Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Virgin Queen, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
Why I Like Her: Another dynamic queen, Elizabeth I ruled without a husband during an era that made such an act seem implausible. Who better to portray this queen with “the heart and stomach of a king” than the amazing Cate Blanchett who easily embodies the imperious leader? Anne-Marie Duff also plays Elizabeth in a 2005 BBC miniseries The Virgin Queen. While Cate is my favorite portrayal, Anne-Marie brought emotion to the role as a queen who struggled with her feelings for the passionate Essex. Bette Davis also portrays her in a 1939 film with Errol Flynn. Though Bette Davis was about 31 in the film, she was committed to play the queen who was supposed to be 63 years old and even shaved her hairline to look older.
Favorite Portrayals: The Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask
Why I Like Her: Queen Anne was a Spanish princess married to the French King Louis XIII. Her life was mainly known for her troubled relationship with the king and her regency when her son was a child on the throne. Alexandre Dumas’s novel The Three Musketeers is the biggest reason that many people know of the queen. Of course the book (and adaptations) are heavily fictionalized. Anne Parillaud portrays Queen Anne later in life during her son’s reign and elaborates a fictional romance with her and musketeer D’Artagnan. In the BBC The Musketeers series, Alexandra Dowling is lovely and sympathetic as a young Queen Anne, who has an affair with musketeer Aramis.
Queen Heo Hwang-Ok
Country: India/Geumgwan Gaya
Year: 48 AD
Favorite Portrayals: Kim Su-Ro the Iron King
Why I Like Her: Queen Heo Hwang-Ok’s life is filled with mystery and legend. Living in India, Hwang-Ok’s parents dreamed that Kim Su-Ro was looking for a wife so they sent her to Gaya to be his bride. Su-Ro and Hwang-Ok had 12 children with two of her sons taking on her surname. While I would’ve preferred an Indian woman to portray Hwang-Ok, I understand why the directors chose an easier route and instead used Korean actress, Seo Ji-Hye.
Country: Joseon (Korea)
Favorite Portrayals: Masquerade (Korean 2012 film)Why I Like Her: Han Hyo-Joo portrays Queen Munseong, wife of the eventually deposed Gwanghae, with elegance, grace and a quiet sadness that makes her impossible not to sympathize with.
To be continued next week!