It's Margot Robbie's turn to wear the crown! When "Mary, Queen of Scots" hits theaters on Dec. 7, 2018, the Australian star will join a long list of women (and a man!) who've taken on the role of Britain's Queen Elizabeth I. As we gear up to see the monarch's rivalry with cousin Mary Stuart (played by Saoirse Ronan) unfold on the big screen, Wonderwall.com is rounding up the other actors who've played the regal leader. Keep reading for more…
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The first time Queen Elizabeth I was portrayed onscreen? Way back in 1912 in the silent film "Queen Elizabeth." Actress Sarah Bernhardt took on the role of the royal in this silent film that told the tale of the queen's relationship with Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. It was a hit and actually ended up being the most successful film of Sarah's career.
Cate Blanchett might be Australian but she played a very convincing Queen Elizabeth I in 1998's "Elizabeth." The film was set in the period before the royal took the throne and focused on all the trials and tribulations that followed. Cate earned an Academy Award nomination for best actress for her work, and the film took home the Oscar for best makeup. Like many other stars, Cate couldn't get enough of Queen Elizabeth, as she would later reprise the role nearly a decade later…
Florence Eldridge starred as Queen Elizabeth I in "Mary of Scotland." This 1936 film saw Florence play the royal opposite Katherine Hepburn's Mary, Queen of Scots. Unfortunately for Queen Elizabeth I, this film painted Mary in the better light.
"Shakespeare in Love" tapped Judi Dench to play Queen Elizabeth I. She starred alongside Joseph Fiennes (as William Shakespeare) and Gwyneth Paltrow in the film about the legendary author and playwright. Judi's performance earned her an Academy Award for best supporting actress and the film picked up six other trophies that year as well.
Bette Davis played Queen Elizabeth I once more almost two decades later. She returned to the role in 1955 for "The Virgin Queen." This time, the monarch was infatuated with Walter Raleigh, whom she makes the captain of her personal guard. Richard Todd plays Walter, who eventually betrays her for one of her ladies in waiting. The flick picked up an Academy Award nomination for best costume design.
Our next actress loved playing Queen Elizabeth I so much, she actually did it twice! Yep, Flora Robson first played the legendary royal in 1937 in "Fire Over England." The film is fiction, but the historical drama takes place during Queen Elizabeth I's reign, particularly at the time of England's victory over the Spanish Armada. Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh starred in the film, with Flora going on to play Queen Elizabeth I again three years later…
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" tackled the period toward the end of Queen Elizabeth I's reign. Though mostly fictitious, the film was a critical darling. Cate Blanchett took on the role once more, playing a more mature Elizabeth and earning herself yet another Academy Award nomination for best actress — making her the first actress ever to receive a second Oscar nod for reprising the same role. This time at the annual awards ceremony, the film took home the trophy for best costume design.
1962's "Seven Seas to Calais" saw Irene Worth playing Queen Elizabeth I. Like others, this film was set during the time of the Spanish Armada. Her love interest in the film was Sir Francis Drake, who was played by Richard Todd.
Young Queen Elizabeth I was brought to life in 1953 by Jean Simmons. "Young Bess" gave fans another perspective on the royal's life, which included her tumultuous childhood after being sent away by her father, King Henry VIII. The film portrays her relationship with Thomas Seymour but also jumps forward in time ahead of Elizabeth becoming queen of England.
A two-part series called "Elizabeth I" debuted in Britain in 2005 before finding its way over to the States, where it aired on HBO. The critically acclaimed series featured Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth I when she was about 20 years into her reign and centered around her relationships with the Earl of Leicester (played by Jeremy Irons) and the Earl of Essex (played by Hugh Dancy). Helen won a Primetime Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie for her work on the show.
The 2011 film "Anonymous" delves into who might have actually penned William Shakespeare's plays. It also features two different actresses playing Queen Elizabeth I during different periods. One fun fact? They tapped real-life mother and daughter duo Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson for the part. Joely played the young Queen Elizabeth I, a smaller role (seen here).
Vanessa Redgrave, who actually played another royal (she had the titular role in 1971's "Mary, Queen of Scots"), starred as an older Queen Elizabeth I in "Anonymous." Like many of these period pieces about the monarch, this film nabbed an Academy Award nomination for best costume design.
1992 marked the first time a man had played Queen Elizabeth I in a major production. Quentin Crisp took on the role in the flick "Orlando." The film, which starred Tilda Swinton in the titular role, begins during Queen Elizabeth's reign. It picked up two Academy Award nominations for both art direction and costume design.
Glenda Jackson followed in the footsteps of many actresses who've played Queen Elizabeth I and reprised her role! She starred as Elizabeth once more the same year in 1971, this time on the big screen in "Mary, Queen of Scots" opposite Vanessa Redgrave, who played Mary Stuart.
Flora Robson's second time playing Queen Elizabeth I came in 1940 in "The Sea Hawk." The black-and-white film starred Errol Flynn in a fictitious tale of English privateer Geoffrey Thorpe, who was set on defending his nation ahead of the Spanish Armada. This flick was a major hit in its day, earning four Academy Award nominations.
Queen Elizabeth I got the BBC series treatment in 1971 with "Elizabeth R." Glenda Jackson starred in the six-part series that chronicled the royal's life from when her brother, Edward VI, reigned all the way through to her death. The project was lauded as one of the most historically accurate depictions of her life.
Next up is another star who loved portraying Queen Elizabeth I. Bette Davis first took on the role in 1939's "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex." She starred opposite another veteran of a Queen Elizabeth film, Errol Flynn. Errol played Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, the Queen's love interest in the tale, which was based on the successful Broadway play "Elizabeth the Queen." It was a hit at the box office and even picked up five Academy Award nominations.