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God Save Us from the Queen!

"Off with her head!"
The Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland

The Kingdom: A lovely, wealthy country ruled by a benevolent king, a wise prince, and a fair princess loved by the populace. But what's that? There's a queen? Oh brother, we're in trouble.

While kings and princes can be good or evil and princesses are always good, queens tend to be the royalty version of Always Chaotic Evil. Restrained by a competent king, this usually doesn't show, but once a queen is in charge, things get nasty. Either the king is missing or died in an accident (the queen might have helped things along herself), or he's easily manipulated for some reason. Note that there are good queens in fiction, but they normally don't stay around for very long, or at all. And this trope comes into play whether they are ruling in their own right or as regents for the under-age king. (The latter group tends to fall under My Beloved Smother, as well.)

Subverted pretty much every time the lovely princess becomes queen mid or end-story, or when the queen was a princess in a prequel to the story, and when the princess rules the kingdom much like a queen would, and is only princess in title. Good queens don't need to be listed. They are simply The High Queen.

If the evil queen is in charge of a Hive Mind, she is by definition a Hive Queen. Also overlaps with Matriarchy (particularly the Straw Matriarchy) and sometimes Evil Matriarch.

The idea that "only a fool would want to be ruled by a woman" played heavily into the lives of real life queens in history — even if their rule might have been decent or competent, many queens tended to be viewed with suspicion or contempt by their male underlings. This is particularly true if the queen's manners and sexual habits were similar to those of powerful men. Another reason was that very often queens were foreigners to the countries of which they became queens (through marriage) and therefore became victim to xenophobic prejudices, especially if there arose a conflict of interests or even a shooting war between the queen's native and adopted countries.

In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are The High Queen, The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask, She Is the King, The Good King and President Evil. The next steps down are The Evil Prince, Prince Charming, Prince Charmless, Warrior Prince, Princely Young Man, The Wise Prince, and all Princess Tropes. The next step up is The Emperor.

Sister Trope and Evil Counterpart of The High Queen. Also compare The Caligula.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Sailor Moon has both aversions of this and examples of it.
    • It's averted by the benevolent Queen Serenity (no husband seen) and Neo Queen Serenity (husband seen but she appears to be in charge),
    • Queen Nehellenia of the Dead Moon is the straightest Sailor Moon example, although in the anime she is redeemed.
    • Queen Metaria and her dragon Queen Beryl of the Dark Kingdom are also evil rulers and called queens, but it's not clear that Queen Metaria really counts as a queen. She's just called that because... well, the Dark Kingdom is called a kingdom. Queen Beryl doesn't truly count either, as she was an oracle in her past life.
    • Wicked Lady is explicitly made the Queen of Nemesis in the manga, probably to invoke this trope.
  • In The Twelve Kingdoms:
    • Youko's predecessor Queen Joukaku. Even though her reign only lasted six years, not only she did not want to be Queen in the first place, but she fell in love with her kirin Keiki, killing every other women that crossed their path of jealously. But she redeemed herself by sacrificing herself, to not let Keiki die when her bad rulership literally caused him to get sick. But with Keiki being a Bishounen, it would be expected.
    • Later on in the series, it's mentioned that Kei has had three of these in a row- four if you count a female pretender to the throne. There are some people in Kei who are so used to this trope that they distrust Yoko as "just another lady-king". However, Yoko herself is an aversion, as are the queens of Kyou and Sai. A character even mentions that, after two excellent (and therefore long-lived) female rulers, the people of Kyou "pray that their next ruler will not be a man."
    • In the backstory, there's also the former queen of Hou, Kaka (yes, we know). While the king, Chuutatsu, was bad enough, believing that execution was a fitting punishment for any crime, the queen put this to her advantage, accusing maids and courtiers of whom she was jealous of petty crimes so that they would be killed. For this she and her husband were both beheaded in a citizen revolt.
  • Berserk
    • The Queen Consort joins a plot to assassinate rising star Griffith after Griffith had Guts assassinate her lover. ...which probably qualifies as her sole redeeming trait, in retrospect. Unfortunately, she failed.
    • And her step daughter Charlotte would have been a good Queen... Too bad the nation got invaded by Kushan on her first day, and then things went downhill. Charlotte recently married the love of her life, Griffith. Looks like he finally got his kingdom. And that surely counts as things going even further downhill. For her and her kingdom both.
  • In Dai Mahou Touge, the queen of Magical Land is ruthless, domineering and just plain evil. Her daughter Punie, also known as the heroine of the series, is following in her tracks.
  • Maestro Delphine of Last Exile, in all but name. Sadistic, Finger-Lickin' Evil and then some. On the other hand when Sophia, who was First Officer on the Sylvana becomes Empress, she's got the hallmarks of a good ruler, though she had the princess thing going for her.
  • Queen Himiko in the Dawn arc of Phoenix is portrayed as an insane tyrant whose only goal in life is to find the Phoenix and gain immortality.
  • In Kiyudzuki Satoko's manga Shoulder-a-Coffin Kuro, one of the short stories in the second volume features an incredibly spoiled princess who orders travelers to expand upon her favorite storyteller's fairytale featuring her. If she doesn't like where the story goes, she orders the traveler's beheading. However, this is eventually subverted when Kuro and the twins' story brings her to her senses, and her courtiers reveal that they've been using the guillotine to chop up pumpkins to fool her and let the travelers escape.
  • Queen of MÄR is this, as well as Snow's Evil Stepmother and Dorothy's sister. King is there as well, but he's evil also and he didn't participate in the first war. Snow's father is supposedly trapped or something.
  • Crown: The heroine may be the rightful heir to the country of Regalia. Unfortunately, the current incumbent is one of these, and she's proactive about eliminating the competition.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, there is a story wherein the Host Club acts out Alice in Wonderland... And Kyouya (in the manga) / Haruhi's mother (in the anime) is the queen.
  • In Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, Miyuki meets up in her dream with a (feared and in the same light idolized by her subjects) Dominatrix queen who rules over her queendom with an iron whip, which she invariably tries to use on Miyuki. who then wakes up
  • Interestingly played with in the Mai-HiME manga, where the Big Bad summons 3 girls called QUEENs. One of whom is his sister Mai, one of the main protagonists, who are evil and more powerful HiMEs.
  • Averted by Houki from Fushigi Yuugi, who started as a kind Hot Consort and after the death of her husband Hotohori was a rather good regnant Empress for the sake of the heir, their son Boushin aka the soon-to-be Emperor Reizeitei.
  • Done full on with the Queen of Shaluda in Knight Princess (Not the same manga as Princess Knight). She ordered the first prince to be tried for treason on trumped up charges and killed an entire tribe of secret guards for fear they would harm her son, the second prince. But averted with Yaxi's mother, Queen Weisha. She just has to deal with power hungry adviser.
  • Queen Iono from Iono the Fanatics. She's a nice enough person, but she's really bad for the country.
  • Shogun Tsunayoshi (a Gender Flip of the Real Life Tsunayoshi) is seen as this in Ooku The Inner Chambers due to the economy tanking, her very unpopular Edicts for Compassion for Living Beings (which made it a crime to harm dogs, who ran wild and brought disease), her equally unpopular ruling on The 47 Ronin's actions (compounded by the fact that they were mostly men in a Japan where the male population was only a quarter of the female population), being surrounded by ineffective councilors, hoarding men to serve as her concubines even after she was past the age to conceive, and finally delaying her decision on who to name her heir because her father disagreed with the popular choice on the grounds that she was the granddaughter of his hated rival. The sad thing is Tsunayoshi knows she's hated, and would have welcomed someone to kill her. It's unclear if she got her Mercy Kill or if another trope motivated her murder.
  • In Space Pirate Mito, The First Queen Hikari, who founded a galaxy-ruling dynasty that wore Powered Armor built in her image as part of their mystique, was a Physical God who was capricious and self-centered to the point of destroying entire planets if something about them irritated or bored her. Her reign is described as an age of terror and she is brought back to life in the second series to serve as the Big Bad.

    Comic Books 
  • The Dream Queen, from Alpha Flight. Think sort of a combination of The Joker and Freddy Krueger; her father was Nightmare.
  • Queen Marea from Megalex is an evil tyrant like her husband and daughter, and an ancient, withered harridan to boot.
  • From the X-Men the Brood, aliens much like xenomorphs who breed and destroy everything in their path, usually have a Queen leading them.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The unnamed witch-queen note , tried to murder a 14-year-old girl for being pretty, among other things.
  • Zira, the main villainess of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride was actually implied to be a queen somewhere about halfway through the first film, back when Scar was still in power. She was immediately removed from the throne after Simba took over as king (and Scar being dispatched by his own hyenas).
  • Another classic example is The Queen of Hearts of Alice in Wonderland. She has a huge temper and has anyone who upsets her executed.
  • Queen La from The Legend of Tarzan, who basically looks like an evil version of Princess Kida from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. (Word of God even confirmed that as in the original novels, La too is an Atlantean.)
  • Played with in Frozen. Elsa, the elder sister, has dangerous ice powers and she is the one who is made queen. When these powers are discovered, she has to flee which brings an endless winter. However, this is unintentional on her part; she is not even aware she is causing it. Ultimately averted, as she remains queen and is much beloved after she learns to control her powers.
  • Played with in The Prince of Egypt. The Queen is a loving mother to both Ramses and Moses, and doesn't care at all that Moses was a Hebrew child that washed up in a basket. On the other hand, from the perspective of the Hebrew slaves, none of the Egyptian royal family is particularly sympathetic or kind.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Trek: First Contact: The Borg Queen, who is probably a “queen” as a reference to queen ants , queen bees, and queen termites, since The Borg operate with a hive mind. She and her kind try to assimilate every living being the come across.
  • The Dark Queen in MirrorMask. Also happens to be extremely pushy.
  • The White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia is the primary villain. She turns dissenters to stone and causes the country to be forever winter.
  • The Wizard of Oz: The Wicked Witch of the West, in all but name. Although being a Card-Carrying Villain helps.
  • The entire plot of Outlaws of Gor was subduing the one dominant female character, the queen. Which sums up Gor's main theme about how all women should know their place, and that place is being slaves to men.
  • In The Lord of the Rings Galadriel is most definitely The High Queen and a good gal, but she refuses to go by that title; or even be acknowledged as the ruler of Lórien. The reason she refuses royal titles is because she and her husband feel that Lórien is merely a place they are guarding, not ruling. The only moment when she does call herself a Queen is the moment of her temptation by the Ring. She resists it when she realizes she'll become one of these.
  • In Ran, King Hidetora thought it was a good idea to kill the father of his sons wife Kaede and make his new home in the newly conquered castle. Years later the King is thrown out of his home and his throne taken over by his son, making his wife the new Lady of her families old castle. May the Gods have mercy on the kingdom.
  • Queen Ravenna in Snow White & the Huntsman, a thoroughly psychotic Smug Snake who murdered her way to the throne and steals the youth and beauty from younger women so that she might stay young and pretty forever.
  • Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter from the point of view of her husband Henry II and at least some of their sons.
  • The general response to the Empress in Legend Of The Black Scorpion. There were those who had misgivings about her at the beginning, but by the end virtually everyone hates her.

    Literature 
  • Several sovereigns in Tales of the Branion Realm, particularly Melesandra III who terrifies her son and heir and has orchestrated more than a few massacres of her enemies.
  • The Queens of the Winter and Summer Courts, from The Dresden Files. Neither is truly "evil" as they have their own version of morals.
    • Mab, The Spock and Queen of Winter, is generally considered more evil because she wouldn't care about doing things in a cruel pragmatic manner. In one book, she sends out a kill order on a child because her enemies could capture her and increase their power to very bad levels, rather than sending forces to defend the child. In another, she tortures her traitorous Knight Lloyd Slate for years to the point he is a shell of a man, and she casually notes, "To be sure, the White Christ never suffered so long or terribly as did this traitor. Three days on a tree. Hardly enough time for a prelude. When it came to visiting agony, the Romans were hobbyists."
    • Titania, The McCoy and Queen of Summer, can pretty damn vicious when she wants to be much as a summer day beating down with heat. When Harry killed her child, the Lady Aurora, to save the world, she acknowledged it as the right and logical choice. That said, she still wanted to kill Harry, to ground him up into dust and use him to fertilize her garden, and all while he is still alive. She could do a whole slew of things which made what Mab did to her traitor look tame.
    • Mother Winder, Mab's mother, is another Queen to be wary of. She is the final end and has no qualms about doing what is necessary and actually considers Mab to be more The McCoy for some of her emotional displays. She once nearly ate Harry because he summoned her at an inconvenient time. While he freed himself of here binding and proved himself to her, she notes that either way she got something out of it: a hard working mortal or dinner.
  • Mercedes Lackey generally averts this, but she plays it straight in her book The Black Swan, in which the evil queen Clothilde used a love potion on the king to gain her position, encouraged him in dangerous hobbies until he offed himself, kept her son completely unfit to rule, and plots to distract or, if necessary, kill her son in order to keep the throne when his 18th birthday (and thus the end of her regency) is on the horizon. Unusually for this trope, she's a good ruler otherwise; Lackey even gives her at least one Pet the Dog moment.
  • Queen Cassiopeia in One Good Knight is a dead-straight example, up to and including causing horrific storms and shipwrecks to increase her wealth. Her daughter is horrified when she realizes that is going on.
  • The bloodthirsty Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. It may be a coincidence, but Tenniel's illustrations of her make her look more like the traditional Queen of Spades, a card in a suit associated with death. Perhaps taking this trope even further, in contrast to her the King of Hearts is a sympathetic character, who pardons everyone who's been sentenced. Not so much in the films though.
  • In the Star Trek Novel Verse, the Ruling Queen, T'Rehu - Romulus' first and only dictator. The trope is perhaps particularly appropriate here, because while it's never made explicit, there is the possible implied suggestion that Romulans fear single female rulers more than male ones - simply because of T'Rehu. Both sexes serve in government and in the senate, in more or less equal numbers, yet interestingly the praetor is usually male. Possibly female senators find it harder to ascend to the position due to a bias connected with this trope. This is likely only subconscious - there are no actual legal restrictions and we do see some female praetors, but the disparity is interesting in a culture that otherwise demonstrates equivalence between genders at all levels of government. See in particular Star Trek: Vulcan's Soul.
  • Cersei Lannister, in A Song of Ice and Fire, is a cruel and paranoid despot who isn't quite as cunning as she believes she is. She quickly alienates her strongest allies and turns her kingdom into "a feast for crows." By the end of the first book, she's murdered her incompetent but well-meaning husband, and she goes on to become regent for her beloved sons. Fortunately, Cersei starts to run herself into the ground the second the checks on her power are removed and, three books later, has been arrested for treason, adultery, and incest by the very Church Militant she resurrected. Nice going, Cersei.
  • :Discworld
    • The Queen of the Elves in Lords and Ladies. Subverted somewhat in that the King of the Elves, with whom she doesn't get along too well, actually has the same goals — he's just more patient than she, or possibly smarter, and therefore approaches them differently.
    • Lady Felmet from the earlier novel Wyrd Sisters ought to qualify as well; she actually secures her position as queen by having her frail-minded husband Duke Felmet murder the King of Lancre, then proceeds to rule the kingdom with an iron fist from behind her husband (since the character is a parody of Lady Macbeth (See Theater, below), this is hardly surprising).
    • Lilith Weatherwax, who rules over Genua in Witches Abroad with an iron fist and makes sure that Happiness Is Mandatory. Anyone who isn't smiling and quiet, or doesn't abide by typical story archetypes, is fed to stories.
  • Queen Arrabel from Tanya Huff's "A Woman's Work" is highly competent, beloved by her people, treats her staff well... and is utterly ruthless to her enemies (and her friends, if she had any). She's the type of person who wears understated, sensible clothing while her son wears flashy, extravagant uniforms because she knows who assassins would instinctively aim at. And then she marries him off to a neighbouring country's princess (sole survivor of the royal family), the Queen expecting that the princess will quickly produce an heir, following which the prince is likely to have a fatal accident. Not that she minds, as she thinks the princess has the right stuff to inherit the job of Queen.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • In The Magician's Nephew, Jadis (who later becomes the White Witch) is the Queen of the most powerful nation in her world, so what does she do when her sister attempts to overthrow her? She uses her magic to kill every other living being on the planet, then sits around waiting for someone to take her to another world so she can presumably do it all over again. Harsh. Even more blatant when you consider that she is the Satan to Aslan's Golden Feline Jesus. And while it was mentioned that while Aravis and Shasta/King Cor quarreled quite a lot after they were married, the fact that the kingdom remained prosperous for so long would indicate that she was a subversion as well.
    • The Lady of the Green Kirtle from The Silver Chair is sometimes called the Queen of Underland, though given how her "subjects" were basically gnomes that she kidnapped, brainwashed, and enslaved and her "kingdom" was more or less a palace under the ground, it's uncertain how certifiable her claims for the title are. Still, she would have become that had her plan succeeded.
  • In the Tamír Trilogy, Queen Agnalain of Skala fit this trope, since she became so paranoid she was about to have her son and baby daughter executed for treason (after having numerous others killed), but she's treated as an aberration in a long line of warrior queens and her son killing her in self-defense and then taking the throne instead of his sister is presented as even worse, since the god in charge only approves of female rulers. Up to you whether this is an aversion or a straight example.
  • The Lovecraftian version of Queen Victoria presented in Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald" is a particularly squicky variation on this.
    She was called Victoria, because she had beaten us in battle, seven hundred years before, and she was called Gloriana, because she was glorious, and she was called the Queen, because the human mouth was not shaped to say her true name.
  • Played with in Fred Saberhagen's Swords and Lost Swords series. Even though Kristin's father held the title of King, Kristin rules Tasavalta as Princess Regnant, not as Queen. Yambu, of course, holds the title of Queen, and is a bad guy, but abdicates her throne after she does a Heel-Face Turn.
  • The Dark Queen in Connor Kostick's Saga. With a title like that, how could she be otherwise?
  • Redwall's Tsarmina, Silth, and Vilaya are examples. Lantur would have been one had she held onto the crown long enough to actually use the power. (Cruel people would suggest that Ublaz is a borderline example.)
  • Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures
    • Subversion: Queen Hemlock is rumored to be greedy, ambitious, and cut-throat (literally; rumors abound that she murdered her parents to gain the throne). When we finally meet her, she is ambitious...but is also very down-to-earth and cunning, immediately seeing through the disguise that Skeeve is using to impersonate the king. And then she says that she'd rather marry a powerful magician than a king anyway.
    • Late in the book, Skeeve tricks Hemlock into marrying King Roderick by giving them magic rings which he claims link their lives together; if one of them dies, they both do. Much later in the series, Skeeve receives a package from Hemlock...a severed feminine finger, ring intact, leading him to assume that Hemlock cut off her own finger just to escape the magic, then killed Roderick. In the end, it's revealed that Roderick died of illness, at which point Hemlock realized the deception; the finger was his, not hers, and overall she wasn't upset with Skeeve for the trick.
  • Invoked, sort of, in Robin Hobb's Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies, where during the time between them, Kettricken has been a fair, just, and intelligent queen overseeing a time of much-needed peace for the Six Duchies... But because she's a foreigner who was married for political reasons and her husband is dead, her political enemies love to spread these kinds of rumors about her. Queen Desire, on the other hand, who was queen at the beginning of the first book, is a decidedly unpleasant if minor character. Kettricken escapes being evil through the "princess first" clause, as she doesn't marry a king till the very end of Assassin's Apprentice.
  • Usually doesn't occur in the Tortall Universe, but there is one straight example in the Daughter of the Lioness books: Imajane of the Copper Isles. Her husband is nasty and ruthless too, but Imajane has a particularly sadistic streak and is a bit worse than Rubinyan. Mostly because insanity runs in the Rittevons—her father was worse, and her relative Princess Josiane was awful too.
  • Two queens in Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy. The first book is about a nameless brat who rises to Mother of the Heir via slavery and soldiery with divine guidance. Her ambition is to use her son as a 'Hammer' to take over the world. The second book is about a Princess whose father and two brothers die, and she must fight to become Queen in her own right. 3rd book, both queens get to duke it out.
  • Honor Harrington has two major examples.
    • Queen Elizabeth III of Manticore in the Honor Harrington novels is very much the good constitutional monarch, justly admired by most of the population (even those who have issues with the rest of the aristocracy), except that she has a ferocious temper and is said to hold grudges so long she has them stuffed and mounted. When it comes to the People's Republic of Haven, she could be totally unreasonable and would be quite happy to see them all shoved into a black hole, what with that aforementioned anger issue and them having assassinated her father and all...
    • Eloise Pritchart, the President of the restored Republic of Haven from the tenth book on, is very much Elizabeth's counterpart. She's a brilliant, enormously capable leader, well-loved by most of her people, but her fiery temper, combined with some subtle manipulations by a mutual enemy of the Star Kingdom and the Republic, leads to a totally unnecessary and tragic resumption of hostilities between the two star nations, culminating in the near-total destruction of both their navies at the cataclysmic Battle of Manticore... just when their real enemy is about to unleash its campaign of conquest on all of human-settled space.
    • As of Mission of Honor, the twelfth book, both have been informed of said mutual enemy and have formed a military alliance. What's worse than facing one hardcore determinator Queen with a badass military that's been hardened and trained in the crucible of decades of war? Facing two.
      Elizabeth: Eloise, you and I have to be the two stubbornest, most bloody-minded females in the galaxy. If the two of us can agree on anything, it’s going to happen.
  • Arthur's sister, Morgan, is married to King Uriens in Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. She kills a young servant for bowing too low and accidentally touching her knee. She continues to entertain her guests as the servants clean up the mess left after she stabs the boy. And death isn't the only Disproportionate Retribution she deals out. When a peasant slights her, she takes him from his wife and five children and locks him up in her dungeon for twenty-two years, giving him a view of his house from his cell. She then orchestrates five fake funerals at intervals, leaving him to agonize over which of his family still lives. His crime? Saying she had red hair.
  • Queen Lionstone XVI, the "Iron Bitch", in Simon R. Green's Deathstalker series, fits the trope quite nicely. She's even set up a holographic 'playground' of a throne room which has claimed quite a number of courtiers, just for her own amusement.
  • David Eddings's Belgariad/Malloreon brings us Queen Salmissira of Nyissa, the craziest and most dangerous person in her whole country of drug-addicted snake worshippers. At the end of her first appearance she is turned into a giant, immortal, highly venomous snake, which markedly improves her personality and her governance of the country.
  • The Queen of Attolia in Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series is played almost-straight in book 1, and then averted completely in following books. It's gradually revealed that although she rules with an iron fist, the conditions of her monarchy demand fair but stringent behavior to maintain power and security. Attolia has a particularly bloodthirsty grudge against the protagonist Gen that tellingly exceeds her normally fair and politic judgement. And then she goes and marries him anyway. Go figure.
  • L. Frank Baum's Oz was founded by a Fae Queen, who is revered through most of the land, and her descendant Ozma is just and reasonable ruler, as are the Good Witch of the North and Glinda, but you get plenty of rotten apples such as the East and West Witches, Princess Langwidere, Jinjur, and Coo-eh-oh.
  • In The Looking-Glass Wars series, the main antagonist is a woman named Redd, who believes that she was robbed of her right to the throne even though it was for the perfectly logical reason of her reckless, uncaring attitude. When she finally takes over, Wonderland becomes a place where people are encouraged to spy on their neighbours, among other more evil actions.
  • The queen in Robin McKinley's Deerskin is universally beloved until she starts dying (of her own will, because she feels she's suddenly not the World's Most Beautiful Woman). Everyone but her husband very quickly winds up completely terrified of her, regarding her almost like she's some kind of witch. The really terrible consequences of what she does don't happen until several years after she's dead, though.
  • From Gail Carson Levine is Fairest's Queen Ivi, a foreigner who disbands the country's parliament, imprisons people for minor slights, obsessively seeks approval, and would have probably started killing people if Aza hadn't saved the day.
  • In The Once and Future King, Queen Morgause is empty-headed at best and downright treacherous at worst. She enchants and sleeps with Arthur for a grudge held between their deceased parents, completely ignores her children who worship the ground she walks on, (unsuccessfully) attempts to seduce Sirs Grummor and Palomides and King Pellinor, and eventually seduces King Pellinor's much-younger son, which leads to her death when her sons find her in bed with him. Her first appearance is killing a cat in a boiling pot of water and putting the bones in her mouth, just because she's bored and wants to try an invisibility spell. On the other hand, while Guinevere inadvertently screws up Camelot, she still is a good person who cares about her husband and tries her hardest to defy Mordred at the end of the book. The daughter of the Queen of Flanders presumably also subverts this trope (after she marries King Pellinor of course), since the two are completely in love with each other and she is remembered fondly by all after her death.
  • In Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned, the titular queen, Akasha, is the first vampire. Back when she was the queen of Kemet (Anient Egypt), she instituted harsh reforms on the people simply because she didn't like certain customs, like eating the dead by their loved ones (she didn't see a difference between honouring the dead this way and cannibalism). She then has her troops kidnap the witch sisters Maharet and Mekare just to see what they're all about. The troops slaughter anyone in their way. After she doesn't like their display of ghosts, she has them publicly raped by a servant and sent home on foot. Her tyrannical rule eventually causes her own subjects to fatally wound her. This allows a bloodthirsty spirit to inhabit her body, turning her into a vampire. This doesn't improve her disposition. Then she has the witches kidnapped again. After she doesn't like their explanation of her new existence, she has one blinded and the other one to have her tongue cut out. She then forcibly turns the same loyal servant, who turns the witches and tries to build an army to fight the queen. She catches them, puts them into coffins and sends them to the opposite corners of the world. The twins wouldn't see each other again until modern times. After waking, she proceeds to slaughter most of her progeny and has human women murder any man they see in order to create an all-female paradise. Her last act is to demand the remaining vampires to join her or die. Luckily, she gets Karmic Justice.
  • In the Emberverse, Queen Hallgerda manipulated her husband Mad King Charles, placed her stepsons Princes William and Harry in harm's way in the hope that they would be killed, and finally murdered Charles when he refused to disinherit Wills and Harry in favor of her own children by him. She also murdered or imprisoned anyone she perceived as a threat to her power.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", Salome as the Fake King. All the worse in that the sister whose throne she usurped was the Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • In Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series, the Seelie Court is ruled by the evil queen Andais, a sexual sadist.
  • In The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, queens ruling alone are usually evil, ranging from My Beloved Smother to monstrous.
  • In the Vanity Publishing children's fantasy Lundon's Bridge and the Three Keys, jellyfish Queen Darlina is described as "the best of the best" queens of the ocean, BUT as the story begins an adviser brings her the news that husband and daughter have been killed in the Decayed Sea that humanity's pollution has created. She vows revenge on humans, imprisons subjects who object to her plan, and kidnaps a human scientist (the heroine's dad) to steal his body so she can take human form. From there she orchestrates the kidnapping and brainwashing of human children, turning them into half-insect creatures to destroy their world as humans destroyed hers. As it turns out, the king and princess aren't dead — the evil adviser kidnapped them, intending to take over the kingdom once her plans were carried out. When they are reunited, she frees/restores all her victims and is forgiven.
  • The Black Papess in The Orphan's Tales. Granted she's justified in wanting revenge after she was used as a political pawn and punished for it, but she more or less wants to tear down Al-a-Nur from the inside centuries later when the current residents have done nothing to her.
  • Arpazia, the resident wicked queen of the Snow White retelling White as Snow.
  • The Three Musketeers:
    • Anne of Austria, who's neglect and pettiness after the death of Richelieu nearly caused the nation of France to implode in civil war and bankruptcy.
    • A more straight example of the trope occurs in Alexandre Dumas's La Reine Margot with the French dowager queen Catherine de' Medici. This novel was also adapted into movies twice.
  • Queen Elizabeth II and the entire Royal Family are some sort of reptilian overlords according to the published conspiracy theories of David Icke. Or werewolves. Werewolves are cool.
  • The Otherworld Series has Queen Lethesanar, the cruel and opium-addicted ruler of Y'Elestrial.
  • Zig-Zagged with in regards with the Big Bad of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. when she was called a queen, she was a benevolent and competent Good Queen Mallow. When she returns as a tyrant, she goes by "Marquess", while still being the ruler.
  • In Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Changeling, this would be Queen Oleander of the Lower Lands in the little girls' "Tree People" sustained fantasy game. Shy Martha does most of the character development for her, reflecting that it gives her a chance to do a lot of shrieking and ordering people around.
  • In Andre Norton's Ice Crown, Ludorica, as soon as she gets her hands on the title crown. It's a Mind-Control Device, and she listens to the man who had abducted her, and condemns to death the men aiding her.
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, the Queen of The Fair Folk is this — unsurprisingly, as the race is the cruel and treacherous folk of folklore.
  • The Nightmare Queen in Terra Mirum Chronicles. Her title really says everything, though it's worth also noting that she murdered her predecessor and brainwashed the Dream court into arresting the prince.
  • Elemental Blessings features Alys, the third queen of the Kingdom of Welce. It's gotten to the point where 99% of the people with power, such as the other queens, the Five Primes, and the king's chief advisers don't believe a single word that comes out of her mouth, and actively work to limit her influence.
  • Andrei Belyanin's Jack the Mad King reveals that the current queen of the land plotted to kill Jack, the rightful ruler, so that his brother (and her as his wife) would ascend to the throne. Jack's brother is a good man and wasn't happy about how he became king, but he's blind when it comes to his wife. Jack ends up defeating the queen but decides to leave his brother on the throne and go on adventuring.
  • In Belyanin's The Redheaded Knight, the Big Bad is an evil sorceress who is also the queen of a kingdom that was defeated long ago and banished.
  • Queen Cinder from Chronicles Of Magic is a fourteen year-old version of this. Trained to kill without respect or remorse when she was five, she now tortures and executes her subject for pure entertainment.

    Live Action TV 
  • Queenie in Blackadder II is a ludicrously exaggerated version of Elizabeth I, using the extremes of anti-Elizabethan propaganda to produce a Psychopathic Womanchild who orders executions on a whim. Miranda Richardson went on to play Queen Mab and the Queen of Hearts.
  • Morgana, at the end of season 3 of season of 'Merlin'' after she seizes the throne, she throws Uther in the dungeon and starts executing his knights. And again at the end of season 4.
  • An interesting variation in I, Claudius, where resident Magnificent Bitch Livia would fit this trope perfectly, in an I Did What I Had to Do sort of way, except she's not allowed to rule directly, so she rules vicariously through her husband Augustus, and later through her son, Tiberius.
  • In Tin Man, the heroes are on the run from the Sorceress-Queen Azkedelia, who seems (at first blush) analogous to the Wicked Witch of the West and certainly has the attitude to match. However, like everything else in this version of Oz, things aren't exactly as they seem. For one, she's a descendant of Dorothy Gale, just like her sister, DG. Second, she's not exactly doing the driving. There's also the "good" lavender-eyed Queen who is being held prisoner.
  • ABC's Once Upon a Time:
    • The Evil Queen/Regina. She's trapped every known fairy tale character in a dead-end town in Maine and made herself mayor so she can control their lives. Anyone who stands up to her ends up miserable or dead.
    • The Red Queen in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is not very nice, though she doesn't actually want to kill Will and possibly still loves him. She's definitely a Smug Snake with some kind of plan, but she's easily better than Jafar. (Which is not saying much.)
  • Margaret of Anjou in the BBC/Starz series The White Queen is depicted as having been an evil tyrant and all around bad person, and is referred to, by the Neville sisters at least, simply as "The Bad Queen." In reality, Margaret was a bad ruler, but it was more because she was out of her depth and just did not know what she was doing than out of any particular desire to cause harm. Arguably a subversion, since the reason Margaret ended up running the country in the first place was that her husband had some sort of mental disease that made him all but catatonic for long stretches of time, and unable to rule, so really this was a case of a bad king, and only secondarily a bad queen.

    Music 
  • Bal-Sagoth worked this into musical form in their song "To Dethrone the Witch-Queen of Mytos K'unn (The Legend of the Battle of Blackhelm Vale)" on their album Starfire Burning Upon the Ice-Veiled Throne of Ultima Thule. In brief, a witch queen of a powerful empire sends her army of questionable humanity to invade her neighbors, until said army is met in battle by heroic barbarians in the titular battle. Yes, this is all described in lyrical detail - and further elaborated on in the lyric book itself.
  • The Queen of the Forest in The Decemberists' Rock Opera "The Hazards of Love". To be expected, really, as said Queen is a faerie queen not unlike Mab and Titania.
  • The 14-year-old queen in the Vocaloid song "Daughter of Evil" killed an entire kingdom of people because her crush loved one of its citizens and not her. Played with in that you actually feel sorry for the Queen later in "Regret Message" where she's shown to have been spoiled Jerk with a Heart of Gold who didn't understand the pain of losing someone.
  • "March of the Black Queen" by... Queen.
  • On the note of association between theme and band name, "Queen of the Reich" by Queensrÿche.
  • "The Queen And The Soldier" by Suzanne Vega, overlapping to some extent with The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask.
  • "Queen Of The Dark Horizons" by Rhapsody of Fire.
  • Subverted in Jonathan Coulton's "The Princess Who Saved Herself", where the Princess befriends the evil queen by giving her a makeover.

     Professional Wrestling 

    Religion and Mythology 
  • The Bible has a few of these:
    • Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab (who himself was weak-willed and something of a spoiled brat).
    • Queen Athaliah, who tried to murder the entire house of Judah so her sons could take the throne. She missed one.
    • The Bible in general didn't have nice things to say about kings who 1) married foreign wives and 2) succumbed to worshipping said wives' foreign gods.
    • In the New Testament, when Herod Antipas asks his unnamed stepdaughter (Christian tradition and some historical evidence indicates it as "Salome," and she was also his niece) to name any reward ("up to half his kingdom") for her dancing, her mother suggests "John The Baptist's Head on a Platter", thus trope-naming a popular expression. In both cases it's claimed that Herod Antipas enjoys John's preaching and is only forced to have him killed because he gave his word to a treacherous woman.
    • There are good queens, though: such as Bathsheba, Esther, and the Virgin Mary (she is the Queen of Heaven in Catholicism; the Book of Revelation does have the mother of the Messiah be exalted in Heaven). As noted above, it tends to be that the poor girls who are awarded the title tend to be good, the ones who were born royalty tend to be evil.
    • Vashti, possibly. The Book of Esther only says that she refused to appear before her husband when he demanded it, and was put to death as punishment. This alone makes her sympathetic or even proto-feminist, though Jewish tradition paints her as a tyrant who abused her Jewish servants. In this version her refusal to appear before the king was because the Archangel Gabriel punished her with some kind of disfigurement.
  • Guinevere cheated on Arthur with Lancelot, leading indirectly to his defeat at the hands of Mordred.
    • And that's the modern, sympathetic version! Older, Welsh versions had it that she cheated on him with Mordred and actively betrayed him. (In some regions of Wales, "Guinevere" is a euphemism for whore.)
    • Geoffrey Chaucer either plays this straight or averts this in "The Wife of Bath's Tale," depending on whether your sympathies lie with the knight whose life she saved (and whom King Arthur would rather have executed), or with the women he could potentially rape.
  • Older Than Dirt: Tiamat's turn as an Omnicidal Maniac following the death of her husband makes her the Ur Example.
  • The Unseelie Queen Mab/Maeve/Queen of Air and Darkness is almost always portrayed as evil, even though a lot of the same books that mention her also mention that the Faerie don't think of good and evil the same way humans do. She's nasty by any standard, apparently. And the Seelie queen is usually portrayed as good...ish.
  • This is cited as the "moral" of the Ulster Cycle story Táin Bó Cúailnge, or The Cattle Raid of Cooley, where Queen Medb, eager to prove an arrogant boast that she is equal to her husband, touches off a terribly destructive war in an attempt to acquire a bull the equal of the best of his.
  • Hera from Classical Mythology in any story about Zeus's affairs. She even scares him at times, but cannot do much so she takes her rage out on his lovers. A perceived insult can result in harsh punishment. She aided in the destruction of Troy because she lost a beauty contest. Many modern adaptations of portray Hera as having gone insane from jealousy. Zeus is needed to restrain her. The more sympathetic portrayals have her as someone easily angered and not to cross lightly.
  • Christianization turned Persephone/Proserpina into the Queen of Hell; you can find her referenced in a few medieval knight novels. (File Venus in "Tannhäuser" or later depictions of Hel under this point too.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chess. There is only one Queen, and she is the most powerful piece. She effectively serves as The Dragon for the King, being able to move as many spaces as she wants, in whatever direction she wants. Only the Knight can attack the Queen without directly risking itself and, worst of all, any Pawn that reaches the other side of the board can become another Queen.
  • Exalted's Scarlet Empress. Ruthless, rules over The Empire, sends her minions on a seek-and-destroy mission to hunt down new PCs, keeps her subordinates backstabbing each other to maintain her own power...on the other hand, she did save the entire world from obliteration by The Fair Folk in the backstory, and is currently being held prisoner by The Legions of Hell. Then comes Return of the Scarlet Empress. You thought she was bad before? Now she's the Ebon Dragon's sweet baboo/hand puppet.
  • The Queen of Aundair in Eberron is like this. She's convinced it's her destiny to rule the entire world. Since she lacks the military power to pull it off, she's mostly scheming. She's got no problem with starting another world war, as long as she knows she'll come on top. The funny thing? The rules say she's Neutral Good. Compare the King of Karnath, a Vampire who pulled off a My Grandson Myself combined with a Man in the Iron Mask to for the sole goal to save his country from ruin and famine, free it from the clutches of an evil church, fight a terrorist organization AND is one of the major architect of the continent-wide peace treaty that ended the century-long world war. His alignment? Lawful Evil. Word of God on this matter says that Aurala is a genuinely nice and decent person, but was raised to have an outdated, culturally myopic view of seeing war as the "game of generals", naively believing that resuming the Last War won't be so bad. King Kaius, on the other hand, knows just how utterly naive this viewpoint is, and while he is incredibly selfish and amoral, he's also quite honorable and actually gives a shit about his general image. In other words, Aurala is Naive Good and Kaius is Pragmatic Evil
  • In the Tormenta (D&D setting), the Fairy Queen Thanthalla-Dhaedelin is depicted as a vain, frivolous, omnipotent Cloudcuckoo Lander. Because your left canine is one tenth of a millimeter shorter than the others, she may simply wish you'll from now on work as a dung scavenger, and it WILL happen. The last one involved changing the calendar so her estimate would remain right.
  • In both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem, "Prince" is the title given to the most important figure of the Vampire politics. The title can vary and some vampires may call themselves Sultans, Dons or even Presidents, yet most of them would humbly avoid being called "Kings", but the same cannot be said to some self-proclaimed "Queens". And to make things worse in Vampire: The Requiem the ones most inclined to pursue such a title are Ventrue Dominatrixes and Daeva Maneaters. Good luck!
  • Demon The Fallen suggests that God of the Old World of Darkness is actually female. Let's just say that She didn't really take care of Her own Creation.
  • There are many female leaders in BattleTech who fall under this trope, but the two best examples are probably Romano Liao, the paranoid and insane former ruler of the Capellan Confederation known for her tendency to order the violent deaths of her citizens, often for no discernible reason, and Kathrine Steiner-Davion, who had her own mother assassinated then manipulated control of the Federated Commonwealth away from her brother before her tendency towards hamfisted control caused a civil war to break out.
  • Warhammer Fantasy has Dark the Dark elves hag Queen, Morathi, is one of the most powerful wizards in the game and the reason the dark elves had been corrupted in the first place. The Hag Queens of the Temple of Khaine are berzerkers that go to battle looking like they are two thosand years old by human standards and wearing next to nothing. If that isn't frightening, nothing is.

    Theater 
  • In William Shakespeare's Cymbeline, the Queen is pretty much pure evil, complete with a horrible son, a stepson to the title king.
  • Likewise, Lady Macbeth qualifies after she manipulates her husband into killing King Duncan and taking the throne.
  • And Queen Margaret in Henry VI Parts II and III is something of a harridan, keeping the Wars of the Roses alight long after everyone else would far rather just give up and go home. She's a bit more of a shrinking violet in the Prequel, Part I. She apparently is also a bit of an evil foreigner, called the "she-wolf of France".
  • Queen Titania of A Midsummer Night's Dream isn't really evil, but spends most of the play bickering with her husband over a changeling boy in her care. Of course, Oberon isn't much better and responds by having her magically enchanted into loving a man with a donkey's head until she gives him the kid (and even then, mentions that he only is having her freed because he pities her). So yeah, the play seems to come off less as "queens are evil" than "fairies are jerks".
  • Once Upon a Mattress with Queen Agravaine. Heavy overlap with My Beloved Smother.
  • The Queen of Night from Mozart's The Magic Flute is not only murderously violent but also a walking symbol of human ignorance.
  • Clytemnestra, wife (and murderer) of the eponymous king Agamemnon Mind you, he was asking for it.

    Toys 
  • In one of BIONICLE's many side-dimensions, Toa Tuyet, a corrupted female Toa managed to take over the world, turning it upside-down. While not necessarily a "queen", she did rule over her universe with a trope-fitting evilness. And if her plan had succeeded, probably Roodaka would have become something similar — but with the official title of a queen.

    Video Games 
  • Queen Brahne from Final Fantasy IX: She starts out fine but is slowly driven to evil, recklessly waging war. This trope was later subverted when Brahne dies and Garnet is forced to become queen herself. Thrust upon a terrible situation, she does her absolute best to lead her people with compassion and strength. That is, before becoming completely overwhelmed.
  • Final Fantasy VIII has a number of sorceresses which play the role of evil queens. Edea becomes ruler of Galbadia, Adel was once the ruler of Esthar and Ultimecia is the sorceress who is the puppetmaster of them both.
  • Queen Asheviere from Battle for Wesnoth: has the prince murder the king during a war. Said prince ends up killing himself later, so she takes over instead.
  • Queen Remedi from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance: no king to speak of, but her husband is the Judgemaster Cid. She is in fact the embodiment of the Grimoire that created the world.
  • Queen Louveria from Final Fantasy Tactics, Remedi's predecessor. She confines herself to Offstage Villainy but her actions have ripple effects throughout the plot. If you read the character profiles over the course of the game, she eventually murders her husband and exiles/executes her way through most of his retainers just so her (possibly illegitimate) son has a better position in the coming civil war. She's apprehended and tossed in the dungeon of an impregnable fortress and the attempt to rescue her by her brother Duke Larg ignites the "War of the Lions".
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, Queen Ambi. Granted, she is being manipulated (and later possessed) by Veran and several NPCs' comments throughout the game indicate that Ambi herself is normally kind, fair, and a bit of a dreamer, so she's an aversion when outside of Veran's influence.
  • Luminous Arc 2 is mainly an aversion: Queen Sophia is only ever on the wrong side because of an evil advisor. On the other hand, Mage Queen Elicia is the big bad.
  • Secret of Evermore has a queen and no princess. There's also a king, but the queen has the power. Even after you find the real queen, who is likable.
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • The Queen of Zeal and the people who have magic live in luxury while everyone else lives in dirty cave. She awakens Lavos while trying to drain its power for her own use, after banishing the three wise men who tried to warn her of the danger. She is willing to sacrifice her daughter to gain more power.
    • From the protagonists' perspective, Queen Azala. Then again, she seemed to do good for her people and ended up a villain only because the Reptites and Ayla's tribe were fighting each other for survival in the primeval world.
  • "Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-butt" from Earthworm Jim. To continue driving the princess/queen point, Jim is trying to rescue the queen's younger sister, Princess What's-Her-Name.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
  • Sarah Kerrigan, self-styled (and earned through serious ass-kicking) "Queen Bitch of the Universe", from Starcraft.
  • Played straight in Jagged Alliance 2, where Queen Deidranna Reitmann is petty, vain, abusive, and sadistic. The only things that get her to smile are the fawning of rich sycophants and the very painful killing of people who are bold enough to oppose her. She is, in fact, one of the most frustrating evil queen's ever. Not because she's particularly effective at being evil (depending on the difficulty level, she's either stupidly easy or sickeningly difficult in her plans), but because when you finally, finally get to confront her at the end of the game, she says, literally, two words in surprise, and then dies just like any other enemy. There is absolutely no satisfaction in a final boss fight.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind:
    • Almalexia started as a queen of the Chimer, plotted with the court wizard Sotha Sil and the Magnificent Bastard Vivec, and they murdered her husband, King Nerevar, before using the Artifact of Doom to steal divinity from the dead god. And later she retained The High Queen public image for thousands of years, before facing Nerevar's reincarnation...
    • Also the Wolf Queen, detailed through books in Oblivion as a perfect example of the trope. In life, her greatest crime was starting the War of the Red Diamond, a bloody succession conflict that almost single-handedly destroyed the Septim empire. If having your own niece executed wasn't bad enough, when it became apparent that she was losing the war and her subjects began abandoning her due to her sheer ruthlessness, she began consorting with Daedra and raising the dead on both sides to fight for her. As one sidequest in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim demonstrates, 700 years of being dead have not improved her temperament in the slightest.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Elder Crone Magatha Grimtotem, chieftain of the Tauren's Grimtotem tribe and is one of the highest-ranking Horde officials in the game below the racial leaders. Her husband, the original chieftain, died in a "climbing accident." Her kinsmen are evil and stopping their schemes is the object of many quests for Alliance and Horde players alike. She has ties with the Undead and her ultimate goal is to make the Grimtotems the Tauren's ruling clan, even if that means killing Cairne Bloodhoof in the process, whom she loathes.
    • And who could forget Azshara, original queen of the highborne elves. Almost succeeded in summoning Sargeras, the biggest Big Bad in the series. After being defeated she and her followers were all turned into snake people.
    • Then there's Lady Katrana Prestor who, before King Varian Wrynn's return in Wrath of the Lich King, basically controlled all of Stormwind by socially manipulating the boy-king Anduin Wrynn and magically manipulating his guardian Lord Bolvar Fordragon. Oh, did I mention she's actually the black dragon Onyxia and is sowing chaos throughout the kingdom to bring it crashing to the ground from the inside?
    • Also Sylvanas, the Banshee Queen. Yes, her history is tragic. Yes, you could argue that she's only ensuring the continuation of her people. But you can't get around the (self-admitted) fact that the only difference between her and the Lich-King is that she serves the Horde.Even that can be argued, as she is now demonstrating an increasing willingness to ignore the Warchief's orders. He's explicitly forbidden her to animate new Forsaken, and explicitly forbidden the use of the Forsaken Plague, and she's ignored both commands quite blithely. One suspects that if Thrall were still in charge, he'd have yanked her choke chain by now, but Garrosh doesn't seem to have a leash on her.
  • MapleStory has Ariant Queen Areda, a greedy queen who cares only about jewels, and not about her kingdom. While Ariant also does have a king, he's portrayed as lazy and wimpy, and not wielding any actual power. In a series of quests, the player joins a group of rebels against the queen, steels jewels from Areda, and redistributes them to the villages.
  • The backstory of Soul Blazer is that King Magridd ordered Dr. Leo to summon the demon Deathtoll to the world, who would grant the king one piece of gold per soul. Although you at first think he's done this out of his own greed, it's later revealed that he did it with the intent of giving a gift to the queen, who is revealed to have manipulated the entire thing. While the king shows genuine regret at what he's done (considering that Deathtoll has taken every soul in the kingdom, including the Magridd's own), the queen is unrepentant to the end.
  • Oddly enough Merlina in Sonic and the Black Knight. The Reveal that she arranged the whole thing so that she could preserve the kingdom forever in a twisted state and sheer ruthlessness she had in achieving this goal was the most shocking moment in the series.
  • Suikoden V:
    • Queen Arshtat Falenas is nice so long as she's not going insane from bearing the Sun Rune. Which is basically every time she acts as a monarch and not as a mom. And being a Queendom, of course, the Queendom of Falena has been in a state of near or outright-civil war for a few generations. Though it's more stable after the end of the game with Lymsleia as queen, though.
    • Among the back stories, the Queens before Arshtat had an assassination group — and during the last civil war, the competing princesses had each other's husbands killed, and when the eldest abdicated out of weariness, the younger (Arshtat's mother) had her sister killed.
  • Mortal Kombat 3 gave us Edenia's Queen Sindel, who was resurrected by Big Bad Shao Khan into doing evil things. She changed sides afterwards and is now on the side of good along with he daughter Kitana, making this something of a subversion. Not so much in the reboot when Shao Kahn purposely gave most of Shang Tsung's strength to her, making her brutally kill the majority of the Forces of Good and was only stopped by Nightwolf's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The reclusive Queen Himiko from Ōkami. Given that the player character is the sun goddess Amaterasu, this seems to be a ''literal'' case of God Save Us From The Queen — except that Himiko is actually trying to save the city through uninterrupted prayer, resulting in her disappearing from public view.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • Subverted as Anora can be very ruthless in the way she tries to maneuver herself into power, but once she becomes queen (if you allow her to, that is) she actually is a pretty decent ruler.
    • ...and then played straight in Awakening with The Baroness of the Blackmarsh. While not a crowned Queen, she was the Orlesian governor of the area during the Occupation, and a blood mage who used the blood of innocent villagers to keep herself young, then trapped the whole town in a Lotus-Eater Machine. Depending on your decisions, the female player character can also exhibit elements of this trope as ruler of Amaranthine.
    • In Dragon Age II, Knight-Commander Meredith isn't the queen but is more or less the actual power of Kirkwall. She rules with a fist of iron and is particularly merciless where mages are concerned, but you'll find out that all of this is out of necessity (with the whole Mages and Templars' Vicious Cycle being much more complex in the city) being that she does keep order, and the mages truly are the danger the templars fear due to the Veil in and around Kirkwall being thin and full of holes due to the actions of the Tevinter Imperium. People need actual saving from her when she goes over the edge later in the game due to getting a sword made out of that evil lyrium idol you find in the Deep Roads in the first act.
  • In Guild Wars, Varesh Ossa. She's "Warmarshal" of Kourna (think a sort of shogun) rather than a crowned queen, but she fits this trope neatly as the Nightfall campaign continues, acting like a classic tyrant; she hits her Moral Event Horizon when she orders the massacre of the priests of Lyssa at their chief temple in order to clear the way for a key ritual to free the dark god Abaddon from his prison. This sets up a key Heel-Face Turn when General Morgahn, Varesh's best general, defects to the player's side out of horror and outrage at the atrocity against the clerics of his patron goddess.
  • Queen Nanesi, a character in Siege of Avalon, comes across as a sweet and bubbly subversion, charming the dickens out of everyone. It turns out that she's one of the major forces on the side of the Big Bad all along, and is part of the reason your character is suspected of treason at one point.
  • Enrique's mother, the Empress of Valua, in Skies of Arcadia. Because of the fortress-like nature of the terrain surrounding the city-state and the strength of the imperial navy, she takes this as carte blanche to pursue whatever variety of foreign policy she likes, and what she likes is forcible conquest. Not even her own people are safe; most of her legislation has created such a gap between the rich and the poor that in the outer city, bread soft enough to eat without breaking your teeth is the stuff of myth and legend. So convinced is she that Valua, and by extension herself, is invincible that she refuses to budge while her son is begging her to come with him because the palace is literally crumbling around their ears (this has predictable results). Her name? Empress Teodora (see real life below).
  • King's Quest: Lolotte and Icebella play this straight. It's inverted by many other examples, such as Valanice, Titania, Genesta, and Allaria.
  • Appears three times in Dragon Quest III:
    • One of the scenarios that can determine the hero's personality in the Updated Rereleases revolves around a queen who lies to her husband and leads him to declare war on another country... simply because she covets the jewelry worn by that kingdom's queen. While the hero overhears her Evil Gloating, they can't expose her outright; instead, the Secret Test of Character hinges on whether they choose to obey their ruler's orders despite knowing the truth.
    • The Elf Queen is a big fan of Disproportionate Retribution: when her daughter falls for a human, she forbids them to see one another; when they elope, she promptly curses his hometown to eternal, unaging slumber. She sees absolutely nothing wrong with this.
    • Meanwhile, Zipangu is led by Himiko, who encourages her followers to keep dying and sacrificing young girls to the Orochi. She refuses to entertain even the thought of trying to slay the beast... and when the heroes try, they discover that Himiko is the Orochi.
  • Queen Protea of Granorg in Radiant Historia bears a more-than-passing resemblance to Empress Theodora from Skies of Arcadia, right down to having an heir-apparent who futilely resists her greed, egomania and expansionist ambitions. In her very-first appearance, she goes on a lengthy rant about how living in outrageous opulence while the people starve is perfectly okay, since she's such an amazing individual that her mere presence imbues the life of the 'common rabble' with a purpose - they should be happy that they get to toil in poverty for her leisure. If nothing else, she does a great job of setting herself up as someone you REALLY want to slap.
  • The Snow Queen is the primary antagonist of the third Dark Parables game, Rise of the Snow Queen. Given the series' tendency to flip tropes up, down, and sideways, there's more to this situation than it initially appears.
  • In Märchen Maze, the Final Boss is a queen, though it's unclear whether she's supposed to be the Red Queen, the Queen of Hearts, both or neither.
  • Ravenmark Scourge Of Estellion:
    • Phoebe Corvius, the Queen of Hearts. While the title Queen means a little different in this setting than usual (she's more of a department head than a ruler), she turns out to be very manipulative, using her charm and deviousness to get into the good graces of Gratian Corvius, the usurper to the Imperial throne (and her uncle), not to mention seducing Gracian's not-too-smart son Ovidius (her own cousin). After Gracian is overthrown by the rightful heir, Phoebe flees with a group of soldiers loyal only to her. By Ravenmark Mercenaries, Phoebe and her forces have formed a mercenary batallion called Her Devoted, plotting to overthrow the Scarlet Empress and take the throne of Estellion for herself. Her in-game ability is to instantly turn any enemy unit in range to her side.
    • For that matter, the Scarlet Empress herself has become this, although starting as a good-hearted Heroic Bastard named Livia Cassianus, whom the late Emperor Sergius Corvius had always intended to be his true heir over his own legitimate children. After the death of her lover Calius Septim at the end of the first game, Livia becomes a ruthless sovereign determined to crush all opposition and punish all foes no matter the cost. Her actions have resulted in the once-great Empire of Estellion losing nearly a third of its territory as well as one of its major cities.
  • Double Subverted in Star Trek Online: Empress Sela of the Romulan Star Empire is the ruthless face of her domain; however, she is revealed to be a puppet of the Tal Shiar during the Romulan storyline. Then, in the final battle against Colonel Hakeev, in which the Player Character leads an assault on the Tal Shiar's base, she treats him to a simultaneous You Have Outlived Your Usefulness and Reason You Suck Speech just before beaming out.
  • After defeating the evil alien leader Zinyak in Saints Row IV, a Female Boss becomes the empress of a vast alien empire. Considering how nightmarishly sociopathic and brutal Boss is in the previous installments, only God could save us from this particular Queen.
  • Queen Sectonia from Kirby Triple Deluxe, an incredibly self-absorbed giant queen bee.

    Webcomics 
  • Jim as Padme Admidala in Darths & Droids, although Padme is no longer Queen of Naboo when he takes over, turning this into God Save Us From The Senator. Immediately after taking the role of the character, Jim interrogates Padme's body double after an assassination attempt while she is lying on the ground dying, threatens to eradicate Bail Organna's entire planet if he does not vote in favour of creating a Grand Army for the Republic, and constantly tries to have her Not So Evil Chancellor, Sio Bibble (which Jim keeps mangling as "Bubble"), executed just for having a goatee.
  • Girl Genius:
    • It's implied that Albia, the 'undying Queen' of Britain may be an example of this, although the only British character to appear so far is Ardsley Wooster, who's on her side (so far as we know) and wouldn't say anything to support this idea. It's weird. Gilgamesh tried to send Agatha to England for safety, but he later said "to go against Albia's merest whim is literally unthinkable", which sounds like Other-level mass mind control.
    • Lucrezia could probably be nominated for this role as well - she was married to THE Heterodyne, and even better a beloved Heterodyne (instead of the usual 'feared') — but outside of popular stories told by the public, she was not well thought of, particularly by the staff. She also was The Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter and had her own powerful Sparky gifts, although the details on those are still fuzzy on the reader's end yet.
  • Eerie Cuties: According to the books Nina's read about her, Queen Lamia Asra-Pa Quintessa was a bloodthirsty tyrant who routinely wiped out villages, slaughtered innocents, enslaved princesses and maidens, and mercilessly dispatched any would-be heroes. It's hardly any surprise that she was eventually killed.
  • Homestuck
    • The Black Queen of Derse. Ignores the battle that's raging on Skaia, lets her agents go unchecked, pretty much lets her own king be slaughtered... oh, and she forces JACK NOIR to put on funny outfits. It didn't end well for her.
    • The queen of the trolls, Her Imperious Condescension, flies around the universe in her ship greeting new civilizations with politeness. She then leaves and sends a portion of her vast army to annihilate her new acquaintances. And then once she signs on with Lord English, she becomes Betty Crocker and sets off a series of disastrous events, including taking over the Alpha Derse by dethroning the Black Queen. Which she then tops when it's revealed what she did to Earth: Taking over, attempting to re-create her Troll empire and culture on humans (prohibition of natural breeding, the ICP nominated as subjugglators), death camps killing 5 billion, various experiments... To the point that Dirk and Roxy are the last human survivors of their time.

     Web Original 
  • In The Gamers Alliance, Queen Adevia of Alenia in the Second Age and Sultana Adela of Vanna in the Third Age are antagonistic, power-hungry royals.
  • Führer Katrina Seran from v2 to v4 of the Role-playing forum Open Blue who is a chessmaster who is rumored to have killed her own father to become ruler of the Reich of Seran.
  • Hera in Thalia's Musings, to Zeus' paramours, their children, and any of their sympathizers. However, her hatred toward her stepson Apollo doesn't extend to the Muses since she finds them entertaining.
  • The Questport Chronicles subverts this with the ruler of the titular village, who is shown to be quite a fair and competent ruler.
  • In a similar vein to the Evil Overlord List, this page presents a few helpful guidelines for Evil Empresses.
  • In A More Personal Union, after Francis II of France dies and leaves behind a toddler son, his mother Catherine, the Queen Dowager of France, and his wife Mary, the Queen Consort (and other Queen Dowager) of France, spend the entirety of their regency locked in a rivalry, jockeying for power. The state of the country is secondary in this contest.
  • This trope is touched on in The Nostalgia Critic review "Why All the Princess Hate?" The Critic criticizes the trope for continuing the implication that royal women should be satisfied with the title of "princess", which tends to have connotations of some power and responsibility, but not all, instead of imagining themselves in positions of highest power. He lampshades it with a comic conversation between Snow White and the evil queen:
    Snow White: Someday, I'll be queen.
    Queen: Don't you know? All queens are evil.
    Snow White: That's the first thing I'll change!
  • In Ultra Fast Pony, Celestia has the title of Princess, but she's this trope in all but name. She's the unchallenged dictator of Equestria, and she doesn't give a buck about the lives of her subjects. Or anything besides tea, really.
    Celestia: I need you to kill my pet bird, Philomena, for me. Well, I'd do it myself, but the animal rights groups have been giving me a lot of trouble, and also some letter bombs. They told me to treat the animals like I would treat a pony, but I told them I already do. Apparently that's something the police want to talk to me about as well.

    Western Animation 
  • Played straight and subverted in Gargoyles. Lady Titania is one of the series' few benevolent Fair Folk, and was second in command only to Lord Oberon. He, despite sometimes meaning well, claiming to be fair and honorable, and trying to be considerate towards mortals, is nonetheless arrogant and drunk with power. Of course when a human notes that in Avalon, the Fair Folk's homeland, Oberon is always right, Titania notes that such a statement would be true, if not for the fact that Oberon is married. Word of God also has stated that Titania was once much less benevolent than Oberon, that it was her bad behavior part that got the entire race banished from Avalon for 1000 years, and that Queen Mab, Oberon's batshit insane mother, was even worse than them both. Even the Fair Folk are mostly glad she got overthrown.
  • Usually the case in the My Little Pony series, with the queen typically being the villain of the day:
    • This is so pervasive that Executive Meddling demanded that the ruler of Equestria in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic be referred to as Princess Celestia to prevent viewers from invoking this trope. (Not that it helps much, as a fair number of fans still see "Trollestia" as either a tyrant, or at best a cruel prankster).
    • Becoming this trope was arguably also the goal of Nightmare Moon, though since her attempt failed in only the second episode we'll never know just how bad her reign would have actually turned out to be. Since Nightmare Moon's true goal was eternal night, it is implied that the lack of sunlight would have probably caused the gradual extinction of all life in Equestria.
    • Used in the second season finale, with the Queen of the Changelings, Chrysalis. In which case, a god really does try to save them from the queen and fails (Assuming Celestia can really be called a god, that is - she's never explicitly referred to as such on the show.)
  • Played straight on Avatar: The Last Airbender , during Azula's short reign as Fire Lord. Justified by her being in the middle of a Villainous Breakdown but it's not like she was a nice person to begin with either. Also, Princess Azula was the fourth in a family of psychos, and her (male) predecessors were all evil too.
    • Sequel Series The Legend of Korra has the current Earth Queen who rules over Ba Sing Se. She basically undoes all the good things her father King Kuei has done due to viewing him as a weakling. Her atrocities include mistreating and overtaking her people so she could live a comfortable lifestyle, hating animals, and trying to build an airbending army to possibly take back Earth Kingdom territory that was turned into the United Republic of Nations almost 70 years ago. She was murdered by Zaheer. And There Was Much Rejoicing...and looting.
  • The Queen of the Crown in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers is depicted as the ruthless tyrant of a crumbling empire. The episode "Tortuna" mentions that she destroyed all but a handful of cities on the planet Tortuna and nearly drove an alien race to extinction in her thirst for Life Energy. She also enslaved an entire planet to create a BFG she used to blow a hole in Earth's moon. And said thirst for Life Energy (especially tasty humans) is due to the fact that it's the feedstock for her favorite henchbeings, the Slaver Lords.
  • Played straight and averted in Teen Titans: Blackfire takes over her home planet "for kicks", then fakes an enemy invasion — of her own home planet. Starfire wins the crown but quickly gives it to her mentor and surrogate father, as she already has a job on Earth.
  • On Young Justice, one of the main villains is Queen Bee, a Mind Controlling supervillainess who rules Bialya.
  • Played With and subverted with Marceline, The Vampire Queen in Adventure Time. Played straight with Quartzion the Crystal Queen (Tree Trunks after eating the Crystal Gem Apple) and the Ice Queennote . Totally averted with Lady Rainicorn, the "Rowdy Queen" of the Cloud Kingdom.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot has Vexus, queen of the Cluster and notable organic hater.

    Real Life 
  • Older Than Feudalism: Queen Athaliah of Judah who almost succeeded in exterminating the family line of David.
  • This trope was invoked by the Anglo-Saxons of Wessex to explain a period in which they refused to grant the title "Queen" to female consorts of the king. According to Asser's Life of King Alfred the Great, a Mercian-born queen named Eadburh, wife of Beorhtric of Wessex, was reputed to have been a power behind the throne, urging Beorhtric to execute or exile advisers displeasing to her. At those times where the king refused to follow through on the punishments, she would take matters into her own hands poisoning them... until the goblet she had "prepared" for one enemy of hers accidentally ended up in the hands of her husband, who died along with the intended victim. Oops. This necessitated a quick flee to France, where she compounded her error, so the story goes, by snubbing Charlemagne himself by telling him to his face that she preferred one of his young and virile sons to him. She ended her days a beggar in northern Italy. Asser claimed that due to this, until the advent of the Frankish-born Judith (the second wife of King Aethelwulf and stepmother to Alfred) — whose father the Holy Roman Emperor refused any lesser title — the people of Wessex denied the word "Cwene" to the distaff royalty, allowing only "wife of the King". In which Asser may have been mistaken, as in Old English cwene meant "woman" and the cognate form cwén meant "woman" or "wife of a king" (both words are related to Greek gyne). Cwene later evolved into Modern English quean "shrew, hussy, prostitute".
  • Whatever the justice of Boudicca's cause, the practical upshot of her short reign was about 70,000 casualties, mainly civilian, in Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St. Albans), and the loss of probably as many Iceni warriors in her final battle at Watling Street.
  • Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia for 34 years in 18th century, might be considered an example. She came into power through a coup against her husband, Peter III, whose death she may or may not have orchestrated. Also, she surely fits the "behaving like a powerful man" part: She had several lovers, some of whom she dumped when they stopped being useful to her. However, in Russia Catherine is viewed quite positively.
  • Ranavalona I of Madagascar qualifies - a staunch defender of indignenous Malagasi beliefs, she made conversion to Christianity by her subjects punishable by death, and once executed 15 local church leaders by dangling them from thin rope over a 150-foot deep ravine.
  • Constance of Provence, the third wife of King Robert II of France, is perhaps one of the great evil queens in medieval history, called a femme noire by the historian Jean Dhondt. Her husband's best friend, Hughes de Beauvais, tried to get Robert to divorce her, and Constance, unwilling to end up in the ex-queen scrap pile like the last couple of Robert's wives, convinced her cousin, Fulk Nerra of Anjou, to put a hit out on the guy. Hugues de Beauvais was brutally murdered in front of King Robert, who was so horrified that he tried to divorce Constance, only to be forced to take her back by political and religious pressure. In another incident, Constance struck a priest in the eye with the royal scepter in a fit of rage, and put his eye out. She was also known to threaten torture of servants she suspected of stealing (her husband, King Robert, would sometimes give thieving servants a head start to escape the queen's wrath). When her eldest son, Hugh Magnus, demanded political power from his parents, Constance turned her back on him "as if he were an enemy, born of another lineage", according to a contemporary chronicler. Forsaken by his parents, Hugh Magnus died young, an exile and a fugitive. After their eldest son's death, Robert and Constance quarreled over which of their other sons should succeed to the throne. Robert preferred their second son, Henri, while Constance favored the third son, Robert, who's temperament was similar to hers. Constance encouraged her sons to rebel and sack and pillage castles and towns belonging to their father. King Robert managed to make peace with them, but when he died in 1031, Henri became king, and almost immediately Constance was at odds with both her sons. Henri ended up laying seige to his own mother; Constance only surrendered after he vowed to slaughter everyone in the castle with her if she didn't.
  • The popular image of quite a few historic queens was shaped according to this trope, often in the form of Historical Villain Upgrade. In France, for instance, Isabeau of Bavaria (consort of Charles VI the Mad) was sometimes portrayed as a scheming adultress who betrayed France by persuading her husband to accept the humiliating Treatey of Troyes during the Hundred Years' War. Catherine of Medici, consort of Henry II and mother of three kings of France, was (unjustly) suspected of poisoning several of her enemies and of masterminding the Bartholomew's Night massacre. Marie-Antoinette, despised as "l'Autrichienne" was widely believed to be uncaring about the sufferings of the poor (with the fabricated quote "let them eat cake"), a sexual deviate and also the real power behind the throne, while she actually had little or no influence on Louis XVI's policies.
  • Isabella of France, known as the She-Wolf of France, was a mix of this and a Badass Princess. Living for years as a pious and dutiful queen consort to Edward II of England, she finally got fed up with his constant promotion of his favorites and his general incompetency. She left the country, gathered her own troops and her own lover, Roger Mortimer, and invaded England. She quickly had her opponents murdered - one had his head brought to her - and then brutally executed her husband's favorite Hugh Despenser. She then deposed her husband and placed her son, Edward III, on the throne and acted as regent. To round out the saga, she then had her husband secretly killed, in a legendarily horrific manner.
  • Another French queen of England, Margaret of Anjou, was certainly portrayed this way by the Yorkists, but, while Margaret was certainly a bad ruler, it is much more likely the case that she was just out of her depth than that she was actively trying to cause harm.
  • Wu Zetian was the only woman to be named the Emperor of China. She was kind to those in her favor, and killed anyone that crossed her.


General RipperMeaningful TitlesThe Good Captain
God EmperorRoyalty and Nobility TropesThe Good King
The Good KingAuthority TropesThe Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask
Fake KingHidden EvilSensei for Scoundrels
Godiva HairAlways FemaleGo-Getter Girl
Family Versus CareerGender Dynamics IndexGo-Getter Girl
Give Geeks a ChanceDouble StandardHeir Club for Men
Girl Scouts Are EvilThis Index Is a BitchGold Digger
God of GoodCharacters as DeviceGood Samaritan
God CoupleJust for PunThe Gods Must Be Lazy
God of EvilVillainsGoldfish Poop Gang
Disney Creatures of the FarceImageSource/Animated FilmsRaven Hair, Ivory Skin
Glass CannonImageSource/InternetGrammar Nazi

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