Talks

Early modern queens on screen: victors, victims, villains, virgins and viragoes
by Dr Ellie Woodacre

Date: Tuesday 22 November 2022

This talk highlights the range of typologies or stereotypes employed to depict the lives of early modern queens on film

Early modern queens on screen: victors, victims, villains, virgins and viragoes
Early modern queens on screen: victors, victims, villains, virgins and viragoes

This talk brings together a large corpus of films and television series which feature the queens of the early modern period, arguing that these productions effectively categorize these women into five typologies: Victors, Victims, Villains, Virgins and Viragoes. Examples are drawn from works across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries which demonstrate the five typologies, from the classic films of 1930s Hollywood, such as Katherine Hepburn’s starring role in Mary of Scotland to recent films such as highly praised The Favourite and the more controversial Mary Queen of Scots (both 2019). This talk will ultimately argue that these typologies or stereotypes reflect modern society and gender constructs rather than the realities of early modern queenship and the lives of these particular queens.


Dr. Elena (Ellie) Woodacre is a Reader in Renaissance History at the University of Winchester. Elena is a specialist in queenship and royal studies and has published extensively in this area including her monographs, The Queens Regnant of Navarre: Succession, Partnership and Politics, 1274-1512 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), Queens and Queenship (ARC Humanities Press, 2021) and Joan of Navarre: Infanta, Duchess, Queen, Witch?  (Routledge, 2022). She has also edited several collections on queenship and royal studies including A Companion to Global Queenship (ARC Medieval Press, 2018) and The Routledge History of Monarchy (Routledge, 2019). Elena is the organizer of the ‘Kings & Queens’ conference series, founder of the Royal Studies Network (www.royalstudiesnetwork.org), Editor-in-Chief of the Royal Studies Journal (www.rsj.winchester.ac.uk) and the editor of two book series: Gender and Power in the Premodern World (ARC Humanities Press) and Lives of Royal Women (Routledge).

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