The High Queen

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Queen Guinevere creates Sir Lancelotnote 

"All men need something greater than themselves to look up to and worship. They must be able to touch the divine here on earth."
Lord Burghley, Elizabeth

When it comes to women in positions of power with royal lineage, there are two flavors. On one hand, you have the evil, power-hungry bitches. And on the other hand, you have this trope.

A woman of wealth, power and near-impossible beauty. She always has a calm demeanor and regal bearing. Her very voice, even if it doesn't ring with power (and it often does), still lets you know that, in some way, she's probably better than you, even if the lady herself doesn't look down on you at all.

Her beauty can often be so great, even simple robes look majestic on her.

Her beauty and goodness are usually to be admired passionately but from some distance. The High Queen is rarely a love interest, but the few times she is, expect a little warming up due to the charms of the hero.

A common characterization for non-evil regnant queens, princesses (the more mature ones) and goddesses (especially the non-evil/bastardy ones). May also be the polar opposite of the Rich Bitch. This is what The Ojou and Princess Classic want to be when they grow up. If she can fight, she's a Lady of War. Sometimes we get to see glimpses — or the whole story from the POV — of The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask. She's also very likely to have a Lady and Knight relationship with one of her subjects at some point. For the others, she typically commands such high respect and devotion that her subjects will march to and fight at the Gates of Hell without question if she needed them to.

Like other Über-character types, The High Queen runs a risk of becoming a Mary Sue, though mostly an acceptable one at that.

The presence of a High Queen is sometimes an indication of a Matriarchy.

The Iron Lady is the non-royal version of this trope; because non-royals are not born with their position, they have to fight for them and such characters generally combine elements of The High Queen and God Save Us from the Queen!. If she literally fights, she, too, is a Lady of War. If her fighting is more indirect and subtle, she is Silk Hiding Steel.

In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are God Save Us from the Queen! (her Evil Counterpart), The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask, She Is the King, Iron Lady, The Good King and President Evil. The next steps down are The Evil Prince, Prince Charming, Prince Charmless, Warrior Prince, The Wise Prince, and all Princess Tropes. The next step up is The Emperor.

Examples:

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    Anime 
  • Athena in Appleseed holds the office of Prime Minister of the City of Olympus, making her more or less the Supreme Leader of the World. She's not just good at her job and very capable of getting other national leaders in line, she's actually a member of a genetically engineered race specifically enhanced to govern humans.
  • .hack: Helba is a Hacker in The World whose character stats are maxed out, who has the ability to access regions of the game that no normal player would ever be able to access, and who plays her name off as the Queen of Darkness mentioned in the lost poem the game was based around. She prefers to stay behind the scenes to help players out.
  • The Familiar of Zero: Queen Henrietta de Tristain's benevolence earns her a good deal of support from both her noble and common subjects. Several episodes are based around her managing the country.
  • Vital to the plot of Anatolia Story, which centers around the royal succession of the Hittites. The Tawananna aka the Queen of the Hittites is required to be the King's Number Two rather than merely a Hot Consort. A past Tawananna, Kail's deceased mother Queen Henti, is depicted as a sweet and kind ruler in flashbacks, in contrast to the Big Bad Queen Nakia.
  • Youko Nakajima alias Queen Seikishi of Kei from The Twelve Kingdoms; the novels focus on how this once Shrinking Violet Ordinary High-School Student grows into a Lady of War and The High Queen. Other high queens include the queens of Kyou (Shushou) and Sai (Chuukin) who have reigned wisely and well.
  • Serene, graceful and benevolent Fassa from Chonchu is one of these, despite being betrothed to a Dark Lord that she doesn't really love.
  • Slayers light novels mention (but not quite elaborate upon) that Zephilia, the country from where Lina came, is ruled by an immortal queen who is one of the remaining pieces of the Water Dragon God (similar to the anime-specific character Auntie Aqua). From what we know from the novels and Kanzaka's comments, she is The High Queen.

    Comic Books 
  • Titania, Queen of Faerie, in The Sandman and The Books of Magic. She's beautiful, imperious, and somewhat manipulative, though her motives are understandable and the miniseries that told her origin story made her more sympathetic.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown Of Stars: Rayana, the Witch Queen Of Avalon. She is powerful, ageless and very committed to protect and counsel the Empire people, especially women and children. The story begins when his husband brings the main characters -Shinji and Asuka- to their Empire and they endeavor to help them because they consider that it is the right thing to do.
  • Queen Jane of Skaia in the Golden Age series is kind, elegant and highly respected by her subjects, although she is a slightly more pranksterish version of this trope.
  • Queen Clarion in They're Not Pussywillow Pixies. She not only willingly takes in the Smurfs, but she is more than happy to help them settle in. She also tries rather hard to keep them from getting startled or scared by her and her people.

    Film - Animated 
  • As the measured, diplomatic counterpoint to her more impulsive husband, Queen Elinor from the film Brave carries the weight of the kingdom on her shoulders. Elinor is also very elegant and ladylike, befitting her role as the queen.
  • Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World has The Queen of England - a beautiful and kindly woman who welcomes Pocahontas graciously to the court. She also acts as a voice of reason towards her rather impatient husband.
  • Shrek:
    • Princess Fiona is initially portrayed like a queen from fairy tales, speaking formally in matters of courtship and presenting high expectations of how she is to be rescued, who is to rescue her, and so forth.
    • Her mother Queen Lillian is also kind, courteous and gracious. She's also far more accepting of Fiona's marriage to Shrek than her husband - who vehemently opposes it. The third film shows that she's also Silk Hiding Steel when it comes to escaping from prison.
  • Even before the plot got started, Queen Elsa from Frozen fit the profile. She deliberately cultivates a calm demeanor and royal aloofness as part of controlling her powers, and she cares about the well-being of her sister and subjects to the point of being willing to exile herself to protect them although it doesn't last long, since her exile didn't fix anything. She's also the first official Disney Princessnote  to become a Queen in her film.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Thor and Thor: The Dark World: Queen Frigga of Asgard is beautiful, gracious and regal...Not to mention deadly. Her benevolence is not limited to her own subjects, either—she dies fighting to protect a human guest in her realm.
  • The Light Queen from MirrorMask, who represents everything Helena loves about her Mother. Granted, she's in a coma for most of the film, but she definitely falls under this trope.
  • In the prequel trilogy of Star Wars, the queens of Naboo are generally portrayed as just, kind and competent rulers, although we only really see Naboo during Amidala's reign. The fact that Naboo's queens are elected instead of inheriting the throne like most royals may have something to do with that.
  • The White Queen from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Her sister (who is the opposite) laments that she can make anything fall in love with her - even the furniture. Word of God says that part of this is a ruse and that she surrounds herself with bright imagery because she's too tempted by the dark side.
  • Implied in Fairy Tale: A True Story with Mab, the Fairies' Queen. She seems to be this trope when she appears before Elsie and Frances at the end. It's also implied she helped return Frances's father home from the war.

    Literature 
  • A Brother's Price has Queen Elder (and her sisters, who don't appear much), a wise and kind ruler, who does everything in her power to ensure the safety of the country. Her beauty is not much dwelled on, though it is mentioned that she shares her daughters' delicate features.
  • Lady Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings, though technically never a queen. Explained by her having seen the faces of the Angels, which grants a greater presence; having one of the Three Rings; and being older than the sun itself, and thus possessing the wisdom of many, many: about seven or eight millennia. Surprise surprise, she's played by Cate Blanchett mentioned above in Peter Jackson's film.
  • Melian from The Silmarillion also qualifies. A lesser deity (like Gandalf), older than the world itself, she was Queen of Doriath; her husband Thingol ruled (unfortunately, since he was much less wise than she was) but it was she who protected their realm. She knew and taught Galadriel, by the way.
  • In His Dark Materials Serafina Pekkala is the Queen of the Witches of Lake Inara. She is a wise and benevolent ruler, as well as very helpful to the protagonists across all three books.
  • Alette of Kitty Norville certainly counts as this. She's even got the Really 700 Years Old thing going for her: a very long lifespan to allow her to accumulate wealth and power...and all used to protect and shelter her family. Even better, she's set up to look like the Rich Bitch by the local lycanthropes until we learn she's just The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask.
  • Gloriana is a fantasy version of Queen Elizabeth I in Michael Moorcock's Gloriana; or, The Unfulfilled Queen. She is so wrapped up in her duties as Queen of Albion that she cannot achieve orgasm no matter how kinky she gets. And, as Moorcock depicts, she gets damned kinky.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Margaery Tyrell's reputation of purity and benevolence is largely the result of having a very PR-savvy grandmother like Lady Oleanna. She also ingratiates herself to the citizens of King's Landing. She buys food from the market, buys dresses from local seamstresses, and also gives great shows of charity. She also is helping to shape Tommen into The Good King, advising him to ride in sight of his subjects and observe the small council to see how things are run (though Cersei forbids them from doing those.)
  • Ysandre de la Courcel in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy books, who once stopped an entire rebel army by virtue of her sheer High-Queen-ness.
  • Patricia A. McKillip:
    • In The Bell at Sealey Head, Ysabo hears a great deal about Queen Hydria and her court. In the ending, she helps rescue them and learns she was living in the queen's enchanted court.
    • The Book of Atrix Wolfe has the high queen in the Lost Woods who communicates with Atrix and Burne by Talking in Your Dreams.
  • Queen Ehlana in the Elenium and Tamuli trilogies by David Eddings. At the beginning she is a Damsel in Distress that was poisoned and put into sleep in crystal to keep her alive until the heroes find a cure. When she is finally awakened she plots revenge against the one who poisoned her, easily Batman Gambits a church into choosing her own candidate for a pope, lectures another country's king on how to be a true Magnificent Bastard... She is on the good side, don't worry.
  • Yasmina Devi in "The People of the Black Circle".. Even Howard, who had an ambivalent attitude toward civilized society at best, describes her as "true aristocracy" in his narrative.
  • Thayet from the Tortall Universe. She's a legitimate badass and founded a paramilitary force to protect the more remote places in the realm, but she's also an excellent host and diplomat, serving as an excellent co-regent to her husband Jon.
  • Catherine of Aragon as interpreted in Mary, Bloody Mary. Most novels written about the same period have her in this trope and typically contrast her with Anne Boleyn who rarely gets this treatment. Also Jane Seymour though she only appears at the end of the book after Anne's death.
    • The diary book My Tudor Queen does this with Catherine also, covering her journey from Princess of Aragon to her coronation as Queen of England. The trope is really played straight towards the end of the book where Catherine rallies the troops against King James of Scotland, while Henry is away fighting in France.
  • Aislynn, the White Queen in Terra Mirum Chronicles is strongly implied to have been this, admired by her son, her subjects, and the Red Queen.
    Live Action TV 
  • In the episode "Liege Lord" of Reign Lord McKenzie, her late father's loyal man, believed that Queen Mary didn't care about Scotland since she has been living in the safety of France. Mary tells him about the secret clause in her wedding contract which gives Scotland to France if she dies without an heir and she cannot risk the freedom of her country. She asks him to tell everyone when he returns to Scotland. He accepts and all of his men place their swords at their Queen's feet as he kisses her hand and says that they have waited a long time for her to rise.
  • Game of Thrones: Sansa starts to show signs of this trope as well as Silk Hiding Steel in "Blackwater", When she calms down a room full of anxious noble ladies, shortly after a drunken Cersei mentions how much she disdains it and leaves. Sansa also stand up to the Hound without once losing her resolve. As of Season 6, she plans to become this by retaking Winterfell and using the Stark name to lead an army against the North's enemies and kill Rasmay Bolton with her brother Jon by her side.
  • Isabella Rossellini's Athena in the TV miniseries of The Odyssey has an affectionate, conversational, almost casual relationship with her mortal. Her relative lack of imperious posturing (along with a gently teasing/chiding attitude) serves to enhance her confidence and thus her authority.
  • As of the end of series four of Merlin, Queen Guinevere Pendragon. As of the season five finale it's revealed that she was the monarch that finally revoked the magic ban.
  • In Korean Drama series Faith aka The Great Doctor, Princess Nogook embodies this trope—beauty, intelligence, serenity, and well concealed iron will—to the point of (initially) annoying and intimidating her husband.
  • Lao Ma from Xena: Warrior Princess ticks nearly every box: calm, composed, wise, regal, beautiful and so on.
  • The White Queen miniseries has successive high queens that take the throne. Elizabeth Woodville projects the image of the High Queen marvellously, but it's clear that behind closed doors she can be very cunning and demanding. Following in her footsteps is Anne Neville, who is painfully aware of her own shortcomings in comparison to the beauty and charisma that her predecessor possessed. Finally Elizabeth of York takes the throne, who is the epitome of the trope — save for the fact that unlike the other two, she has no desire to be Queen.
  • Of Henry's six queens in The Tudors, Queens Catherine of Aragon, Jane Seymour and Catherine Parr fit this trope the best, all three being beautiful, self-assured, and conscious of their duties. (In comparison, Anne Boleyn is a Femme Fatale, Catherine Howard is The Ditz, and Anne of Cleves never gets the chance to technically become a High Queen).

    Mythology 
  • Deborah from The Bible, fourth Judge of Israel and Lady of War. So inspirational that her appointed military leader didn't think he could win the impending battle without her.
  • Amaterasu from Japanese Mythology in a rare mythological example. She was made queen of heaven due to her radiant beauty and compassion and tends to be loved by all. She is rarely if ever overshadowed by any of the male deities or portrayed as having a dark side like Hera from Greek Mythology.
  • Speaking of whom, Hera herself often fit The High Queen mold when interacting with anyone who wasn't involved with Zeus in an intimate way, or was the product of such a union. Basically, don't sleep with her husband or be one of his bastards, and pay her godly respects loyally, and she will bless and reward you quite generously. See the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, where Hera is an unambiguously heroic presence.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer has Alarielle the Radiant, Everqueen of Avelorn and one of the two co-rulers of High Elf Kingdoms of Ulthuan. She fits the trope perfectly, especially the magically majestic end (she is also a living vessel of the Elven mother goddess Isha). A slightly more rustic and earth-motherly version is found in Ariel, Mage-Queen of Loren, the Wood Elf equivalent.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, Queen Ehlissa (after whom the artifact known as the Marvelous Nightengale is named) is always portrayed as a wise and just ruler who is beloved by her subjects.
  • Princess D'larna of the Martian city-state of U'valik in Rocket Age. Attempting to advance and protect her nation from imperialistic Earthlings, D'larna only allows those Earthlings with high morals into her court. Always described in positive terms, she is poised, kind and elegant.

    Video Games 
  • For The Elder Scrolls Online, Queen Ayrenn, queen of the High Elves and founder of the first Aldmeri Dominion. She does not possess any of the extreme Fantastic Racism that many of her predecessors (or future successors) cling to, viewing her Wood Elf and Khajiit allies as well as her underlings as valued partners and equals, and while she is opposed to a human-dominated Tamriel, she would ultimately prefer peace and co-existence with humanity over conflict.
  • Xelha from Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean fits this trope quite well, although her kindness comes more from her role as White Magician Girl.
  • Suikoden V has Queen Arshtat, the mother of the main character. Her reign has been something of a golden age when the country had been on the verge of civil war. She is highly respected and certainly beautiful.
  • Yggdra, the eponymous heroine of Yggdra Union, gradually evolves into a combination of one of these and the Messianic Archetype as she matures.
  • Queen Fay of Overlord II, the ruler of Light Magic creatures who serves as the foil to your Evil Overlord and his Always Chaotic Evil Minions. Later on during an Enemy Mine situation with the Overlord she sacrifices her energy to power up his Artifact of Doom, with the side effect of being driven insane by his dark magic, thus becoming a Fallen Hero and one of his Mistresses.
  • Lady Shurelia, the Tower Administrator of Ar tonelico, and the other Tower Administrators, to the degree that the three are worshiped as goddesses.
  • Empress Jessamine Kaldwin of Dishonored was much beloved by the populace. The player mainly learn about her from the various in-game books as she dies in the intro of the game.
  • Frost Archer Ashe in League of Legends, on top of being a skilled marksman, is also a Queen in the snowy Freljord region, with heavy emphasis on maintaining peace and unity and abhorring violence, when compared to the other warlord, Sejuani.

    Web Comics 
  • In Drowtales, Sharess, legendary dokkalfar queen, and patron goddess to the drowolath and drowussu people, is regarded as having been this by those who still revere her. According to the legend, beseiged by Shapeshifting, Body Snatching Eldritch Abominations, she willingly sacrificed her (earthly) life to give her people a fighting chance of survival in exile.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!. Princess Voluptua pulls off this image quite well. While not especially formal in her demeanor (as most of her immediate court are dragons, she's the only one who doesn't speak in pseudo-Elizabethan highfalute), she always exudes an air of supreme confidence and competence.

    Web Original 
  • Open Blue: Octavia Augusta, Caesar of the Iormunean Imperium in the Back Story, who was a wise and benevolent ruler. In fact, one of her recorded actions was giving the credit for a well-placed strategic move that she was clearly responsible for to wisdom from their goddess. She was also a Lady of War who died fighting in defiance of her empire's destruction.

    Western Animation 
  • When Tommy is directing a sci-fi film in All Grown Up!, he has Angelica play the Alien Queen. The character is apparently written as a villain but Angelica changes her lines to make the character nice.


Alternative Title(s): The Good Queen, The Noble Queen

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheHighQueen