The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask
"I must now pass quickly over many years... during which the Queen of Glome had more and more part in me and Orual had less and less. I locked Orual up or laid her asleep as best I could somewhere deep down inside me; she lay curled there."A princess or a queen who is the supreme ruler of her country. She is usually beautiful but certainly clever, strong-willed and charismatic and she cares about her land and her people. The problem is: her people need her. Maybe there's a war, a natural disaster, or a cripplingly corrupt administration. She needs to protect her people but they don't want to follow someone as female, young, or 'traitorous'/'dishonourable' as her - or maybe just her in particular. So she has to make them follow her through brute cunning and charisma, overawing her detractors through her impeccable style, speech, imperturbability, wisdom, indomitable will, disdain for frivolity and - where necessary - utter ruthlessness. Even her love life is coolly calculated and orchestrated to best effect. She finds it tiring. An important part of this character is that she isn't in a trusting and happy relationship (platonic or otherwise) as this would make her burden less heavy for her and thus remove much of the conflict inherent in this archetype. It also makes her less alluringly lonely. Naturally this sad state can change over the course of the story. This trope can be done with a male regent as well, but a woman just looks more exquisitely tragic and beautiful in this role. For the male public there can also be something appealing about such a character. Who wouldn't love to make her laugh, and keep her company in her leader's loneliness? Care is needed, however, as Don't You Dare Pity Me! may come into effect. Suddenly Suitable Suitor may also be required, leading to plentiful anguish before the discovery. Compare the Ermine Cape Effect, which she takes full advantage of, and Deadly Decadent Court, which is often her greatest threat. She can sometimes be seen as a royal version of the Stepford Smiler. See also The Wise Prince - a tragic male royal. In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are God Save Us from the Queen!, The High Queen, 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. Silk Hiding Steel is near the bottom; she's not in charge and not supposed to have authority, but uses similar methods to pursue her goals. If the character does not have these duties thrust upon her, but rather freely chooses to take them on, chances are she's a Go-Getter Girl or an Iron Lady.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Hellsing: Sir Integra Hellsing is the queen of the Hellsing organization. The family can be quite cuthroat. She is coldblooded but she has her moments of weariness. Also, she has the special duty of keeping Alucard in check. Anyone might get a little stiff after years of that.
- The Familiar of Zero: The position of Queen demands a confident, competent, and most of all spotless image, and so Princess/Queen Henrietta has to maintain this image for the public. She takes solace in her friendship with Louise, when no one can see her.
- One of the main plots of The Twelve Kingdoms kicks off when Youko not only has to fight her way into Kei to claim her throne, but once crowned she starts having serious doubts about her own hability to reign over the Kei kingdom.
- Baccano!: Luck Gandor is a male example working on the Just a Kid axis. He was pushed into running "the family business" after his father died before even reaching fifteen years old (to give you an idea how well that's accepted, his friend Firo's initiation to a similar position at eighteen was met with "Wait, you can possibly...Really?...Just how many executives did you sleep with to get there?"). So, to be taken seriously, he overcompensates like hell and puts up a front of ruthlessness that even he starts believing — though his best friend and adoptive brother both see right through it.
- Rose of Versailles portrays Empress Maria Theresa as this, mixed with Knight Templar Parent. See Real Life below.
- This it what happens with Haman Karn over the course of her young life: from being a naive-yet-well-meaning girl in Char's Deleted Affair to the cold, manipulative and nigh-genocidal 20-year old regent of Neo-Zeon.
- Ex-Rebellious Princess Cagalli Yula Athha tries to be The High Queen in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. To say it FAILS... well, it's an understatement, and she ends up as this. It may have worked a bit better later, with help of her soon-to-be sister-in-law Lacus Clyne after she's made leader of PLANT.
- Mobile Suit Gundam Wing had Relena Peacecraft, another teenage Rebellious Princess who was forced to become The High Queen, though under different circumstances than Cagalli (and worse still, she had to be the figurehead leader of the militaristic organization that attacked and nearly destroyed her kingdom). She completely owns this, turning it into Reassignment Backfire and being well on the way to bringing peace when things got worse.
- A non-royal version occurs in Crossbone Gundam, where Cecily Fairchild aka Bera Ronah is forced to be The Captain despite the fact that, for most of her life, she was an Ordinary High-School Student. Best illustrated in volume 2 where she freezes up during an intense battle on Io, and the Mother Vanguard's helmsman gives orders and politely criticizes Bera for spacing out when they need her the most.
- Queen Dianna of Turn A Gundam. Her public persona is impeccably serene and composed. Around her Identical Stranger Kihel (and later as her), she shows her whimsical and sensitive side.
- Later chapters in Mahou Sensei Negima! begin to reveal Arika to be this. Nagi makes many attempts at lowering her unflappable guard.
- Another male example is Shi Ryuuki in Saiunkoku Monogatari. As summed up by Shouka in the first season finale:
"He is a man who is possessed by loneliness, from which he cannot escape. The more he behaves like an Emperor, the lonelier he becomes. ... From now on, just as he adds to his reputation as the Emperor, the people who see him as 'Ryuuki' start to vanish. ... That's why Shuurei is the only person who always did and always will call him by name. ... Right now, Seiran is able to take everything that he cherishes into his hands as much as his heart wishes. However, from now on, Ryuuki-sama will never be able to obtain anything any more in his lifetime. Since he knows that, he can't let go of the one dream he has left."
- Mina Tepes from Dance in the Vampire Bund is the sort of person whose first instinct even in the middle of a un-life-or-final-death fight is to protect a human child. Between that and the fact that she looks 12, it is hard to imagine how she can hope to maintain herself as Queen of the Vampires without the whole Stone Bitch pose and a good bit of doing what goes against her better nature.
- Black Lagoon - Yukio Washimine is forced to do this in order to protect Yakuza faction from being wiped out by Hotel Moscow and the higher-ranking Yakuza clan in charge. She doesn't get any slack after.
- Toyed with in the interactions of Maria Theresa and Austria in Axis Powers Hetalia. Since this is Hetalia, though, it's Played for Laughs.
- Being the second in command in the most successful army in Midland - and being the sole woman at the same time - Casca always had to deal with this and was quite cold because of her job. However, this became more evident when the Band of the Hawk got into some deep shit after their charismatic leader, Griffith, got arrested and imprisoned after Guts, a man who got both of their affection (one a bit more extreme, which led to his erratic behavior in the first place), left the Hawks, which left Casca in charge. Casca became so physically and emotionally drained during this time, not only because two men that she respected and loved were not by her side, but because she was in charge with keeping the Band of the Hawk together AND alive (since they became fugitives upon Griffith's arrest). She was able to keep her cool for the most part... but when Guts comes back after a year, Casca just lets it all spill out, and almost attempted suicide.
- The Queen of Midland to a degree, in that she's a naturally passionate woman expected to act like a queen to a distant husband, which is why she ended up having an affair with the king's brother. Unfortunately, Griffith's meteoric promotion led to the king's brother getting shafted, and she took it on herself to have Griffith removed, which didn't work out well for her.
- Ayeka shows signs of this in the Tenchi Universe continuity. She tells Tenchi at some point that while she's the First Princess of the Juraian Empire, she doeesn't exactly like it as it's more of an honorary title than anything, and she feels very trapped in her role.
- Naruto: Hiashi Hyuuga from is another male example. He's the head of the Hyuuga clan's main family (of Konoha's upper class) and, when we first meet him, he appears to be a very strict, stern-looking man and a Well Done Daughter Guy for his daughter Hinata. However, it's later revealed that he's been carrying around inner grief for the Heroic Sacrifice pulled over a decade earlier by his twin brother (who was delegated into the clan's branch family because Hiashi was born first) and the rift between both sides of the clan exacerbated by said sacrifice. He's been searching for an opportunity to tell his nephew Neji the truth of the matter (Neji believed that his father was made to sacrifice himself because he was a branch family member, not because it was his own choice for the sake of his family), and he finds that chance after Neji's defeat at Naruto's hands in the Chuunin exam, complete with him bowing to Neji in apology for not owning up earlier. Subsequent appearances in both canon and filler show him to smile more easily and get along better with both Neji and Hinata and this allows him to make amends with his brother when the latter is revived with the Forbidden Resurrection technique later on.
- Fairy Tail: Erza, despite not being a queen. Also, Queen Shagotte of Extalia.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Zig-zagged with Pharaoh Atem. Over the years he has gotten used to adopting the visage of the strong king, but he shows doubt over what is right, and his need to protect everyone and constantly be victorious causes problems even after he loses his memories.
- Heart Of Empire had Anne, Queen of the Universe, appearing to be this at first. Later, we find out the terrible truth...
- The X-Men has Majestrix Lilandra of the Shi'ar, who always struggles and frequently fails to hold on to her throne and keep her kingdom from turning into The Empire, despite all the challengers to her rule and the corrupt and warmongering bureaucrats under her.
- Dungeon Keeper Ami features this in a very interesting manner. Ami, after becomeing the Empress of the Avatar Islands has to put on a cruel facade in the presence of most of her minions, as most are underworlders, and would not respond to a gentle hand attempting to govern them. She actually had this problem before, the Queenly mask is more her efforts to deal with the Lightworld Kingdoms, which require an entirely different approach.
- Composure: One of the two central conflicts is Princess Celestia's struggle to maintain her calm, dignified demeanor after centuries of emotional repression, irrational fears of her reformed sister, an unacceptable affection for her former student Twilight Sparkle, and being blown up.
- In The Vow, after Lianne becomes Gongmen City's ruler, she keeps it prospering for 20 years with the people's support, but privately she's sad and lonely for losing her closest loved ones. She focuses on her duties to try and forget her pain so much that she no longer keeps up her passion for painting.
Films — Animated
- Frozen: Elsa represses her feelings and isolates herself from others because she is next in line to the throne... and she is absolutely terrified of screwing up. Unlike other queens, she has the additional burden that anxiety makes her Power Incontinence worse... and her magical abilities are potentially deadly.
- Somewhat subverted with Queen Elinor in Brave. She fits the trope very well, being the more level-headed sovereign; her husband, King Fergus, is a Boisterous Bruiser with a good heart who is much more prone to being ruled by his emotions than his wife. Elinor is the one who is able to calm a crowd of feuding Scots simply by walking through it with the utmost dignity, and takes care of details such as the betrothal of their daughter. The subversion comes in where it doesn't appear that Elinor is remotely ruffled by her holding this position; she doesn't seem to find it at all wearying, and it's only later in the story that she comes to realize that she's adopted the mask a little too well, and learns to let her hair down again (literally, in fact).
Films — Live-Action
- The movies Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age depict Elizabeth I this way. Both films are largely inspired by her Real Life story.
- The Star Wars prequel trilogy has Queen Amidala of Naboo. Her gowns make her look larger than life, and her painted white face is firm but never emotional. Where the queen cannot go, Padmé Naberrie does, leaving her handmaid Sabé to take her place as a decoy, letting Padmé Amidala be both The High Queen and an invisible common girl.
- The 2006 movie The Queen is about what happens when the public doesn't like the Queenly Mask, but the Queen doesn't know how to be anything else.
The Queen: One in four wanted to get rid of me?
Tony Blair: For about a half an hour. But then you came back to London, and all that went away.
The Queen: I have never been hated like that before.
Tony Blair: It must have been difficult.
The Queen: Yes. Very. Nowadays, people want glamour and tears, the grand performance. I am not very good at that, never have been. I prefer to keep my feelings to myself; and foolishly I believed that that was what people wanted from their Queen; not to make a fuss, not to wear one's heart on a sleeve. "Duty first, self second!" ... That was how I was brought up. That's all I have ever known.
Tony Blair: You were so young when you became Queen...
The Queen: Yes... yes, just a girl...
The Queen: Would you like me to place those for you?
- This is why the later exchange between the Queen and the girl with the flowers is heartwarming.
Little Girl: No.
The Queen: Oh. (hides her heartbreak, and is about to move on)
Little Girl: They're for you.
- The 2009 Tamil/Telugu movie, Arundhati takes this to the next level, with the Princess/Queen ousting tyrants, battling fiends and even suffering voluntary torture and death for her people. Yet the while her queenly mask of composure never slips...
- The Masterpiece Theater production Bertie and Elizabeth is a romance about a marriage between a Wise Prince (George VI) and The Woman Wearing A Queenly Mask (the Queen Mum) sharing The Chains of Commanding during World War II.
- A Royal Night Out suggests this was the case for Elizabeth II at age 19. There's one scene where she wistfully talks about what life would be like if she didn't have any responsibilities - but then does use her authority to her benefit at many points during the film.
- A Brother's Price: Ren isn't really keen on all the responsibility that comes with being Princess Eldest. Her sister Halley, who was more respected, vanished, and left her to do the job, but they both were born as younger sisters, and didn't expect to ever have to shoulder that much responsibility. Halley later reveals that she vanished on purpose, at least partly in order to make people look up to Ren more.
- The Heroesof Olympus: Reyna
- Indu Sundaresan writes about Mehrunnisa, better known as Nur Jahan, in both The 20th Wife and Feast of Roses. She married Emperor Jahangir of the Mughal Empire in 17th-century India, only to see her dominion destroyed by her own aggressive tendencies.
- Michael Moorcock, in his novel Gloriana; or, the Unfulfill'd Queen, portrays Elizabeth I as a queen so intent on her responsibilities as a monarch that she is incapable of reaching orgasm no matter how kinky she gets. And she gets very kinky.
- Ward of Hurog became ruler of a small piece of land after his father died. He had been Obfuscating Stupidity for quite some time, and when he drops that act, he puts on another mask, this time using as an example a legendary hero he admires, whenever he has to do something connected to his title and responsibility. He tells a friend that he has no idea who he himself actually is, after wearing masks for so long.
- In the first book of Tad William's Shadowmarch, Briony has to rule at age fifteen and though she has a hard time, her brother is completely hopeless.
- In Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief, the Queen of Attolia inspires awe and fear in her people, and she certainly isn't nice but her job isn't easy either. Specifically, she was forced to marry a much older man who completely disregarded her, most tellingly eating her food and drinking from her glass without asking permission. So she poisoned her own wine.
- It doesn't get any easier when our good friend Eugenides wins her love and becomes King of Attolia. He's happy as a clam to be married to the woman he fell in love with so long ago, but he isn't so hot on the job that comes with it. Now, not only does the poor woman have to rule the country, she has to keep reminding her husband that now it's his country too, and he needs to take an interest in ruling it.
- Historical/literary example: Pearl Buck's interpretation of Tsu Hsi (Ci-xi) in the historical novel Imperial Woman. In real life it's still debated if Cixi truly as much of an Evil Matriarch as usually depicted or if Red China and its propaganda made her worse than she really was. Considering other testimonies, Cixi was a polemic and very shady figure, but not the uber-horrid monster that she's portrayed to be.
- Another example discussing Ci Xi is Anchee Min's books Empress Orchid and The Last Empress, which portray her as more harassed, tired, and maligned than anything else.
- Queen Selenay of Valdemar. She has to be The High Queen and a Lady of War when the need calls for it, but it helps that she has the entire Heraldic Circle to trust. Part of the problem, though, is that these are the same Heralds she must often send into deadly danger.
- Naturally, the one time she fails to ask her Heralds for advice (and they fail to speak their minds), she makes a disastrous marriage that nearly gets her killed.
- Lady Mara in Raymond Feist's and Joanna Wurtz's Daughter of the Empire and its sequels must take command of the noble house of the Acoma when her parents are killed. Complicating matters is a societal proscription against showing emotion in public.
- Queen Keli in the Discworld novel Mort, only allows herself to be a confused and whiny teenager in front of Cutwell and Mort. The Duchess of Borogravia in Monstrous Regiment turned into this after her own death thanks to the power of belief on the Disc.
- George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire has Daenerys Targaryen, who goes from an innocent princess to this over the course of the series.
- Gregor in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga seems to be a rare male version of this. Much talk is made about the "mask" he wears as an Emperor.
- Tenel Ka Djo in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
- In Honor Harrington:
- Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth III of Manticore was forced to wear the Queenly Mask for some time in her youth, after her parents were assassinated by Haven's sympathizers, who hoped that a teenage queen would be easy to manipulate. They happened to be wrong. Very, very, very wrong. She had it tough for some time, though, until she won a broad popular support, and not just that of her close allies.
- President Eloise Pritchart of the restored Republic of Haven, as well — she's not, strictly speaking, a queen, but she is a President with the same responsibilities. And all the more so because she, Thomas Theisman, her lover Javier Giscard, and a few other people had restored a true republic that hadn't existed for two centuries, and so she absolutely must be this in order to ensure it survives.
- Honor herself is not exactly royalty, but her capacity as a commander suffers from this on-and-off starting with the middle of the second book, and coming in full force after the fourth.
- Prince Tobin/Queen Tamír in Lynn Flewelling's The Oracle's Queen, until close to the end of the book. At this point, with the war over, she acknowledges her feelings for her childhood friend and ends up marrying him.
- Tin Princess by Philip Pullman
- Princess Marla in Jennifer Fallon's Wolfblade Trilogy starts out as a spoiled princess but becomes more and more this as the books go on, despite the fact that her brother is the High Prince. Several people recognize that she is the one who makes all the decisions in Hytria instead of her no-good brother even while she continues with the charade of being a spoiled brat.
- Played with in Piers Anthony's Isle of Woman, during a segment that follows a Chinese royal concubine. She follows the trope pretty much to the letter, and later becomes the Queen in all but name.
- Rhian in Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy who constantly has to prove she is worthy to rule in her own right and this includes dueling with vassals who will not submit to her. She only has sex with her childhood sweetheart once after she marries him, and that's only to consummate the marriage.
- Queen-Mother Muriele of Greg Keyes's The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series, after her brother-in-law attempts to seize power by having the entire royal family murdered (thankfully he missed a few). This event leaves her mentally challenged son as the official king, and she has to act through him to lead her kingdom through some very serious conflicts, with only a handful of advisors remaining loyal to her.
- Queen Ketricken from the Tawny Man Trilogy is this. She has lost her husband, all family and friends, and has had to clean up a kingdom after a war. She also has to deal with the persecution of certain of her people by others of her people. Although she wears plain clothing and little jewellery in public, she still only lets her guard down in private.
- Queen Sharleyan of the Safehold kingdom of Chisholm inherited the throne at a young age after her father was murdered. While her uncle and her first councilor were instrumental in helping her stay on the throne, Sharleyan herself was quick to develop into a strong young woman. Additionally, she did it with the precedent of a less able queen hanging over her.
- C. J. Cherryh's Bangsian Fantasy Legions of Hell has a passage portraying Hatshepsut as a case of this. She sent out explorers, listened to their reports when they returned, and all the while she wanted to be an explorer, not just hear what they had to say.
And if she were not Hatshepsut the pharaoh, she might blurt out, simply, with tears: I want to go, the way she had ached when her explorers had come back to her and told of great waterfalls and strange tribes and unknown coasts and vast seas. I want to go, because she had ruled two thirds of the known world and had no freedom ever to see those things, she could only send others....
- In Mary Hoffman's Stravaganza, the Duchessa Silvia is this trope to the letter, even to the mask that she legally must wear as an unmarried woman. However, she does not have to worry about doubts of a woman ruler, as Belleza (the Fantasy Counterpart Culture version of Venice) would not accept anything but a female ruler. And furthermore, she takes this role to Magnificent Bitch levels.
- Elayne Trakand in The Wheel of Time is kind of this. Her problems are not caused by her sex or youth, but by her not actually being a queen yet. She has to deal with a civil war caused by other aspiring queens, not to mention some highly irritating magic wielders and being pregnant to a man whom (and whose children) dozens of people would love to kill. Oh, and did I mention approaching End of the World as We Know It yet?
- Egwene al'Vere kind of fits this, too. Or at least she used to. Sure, she's no queen, she's "just" the leader of the resident Witch Species who put her on the Amyrlin Seat as a puppet and nothing more. She had to really take charge and prove them wrong.
- For that matter, Queen Morgase too. Not the age part, but having to act the very picture of a queen (and the loneliness part, if her fling with Thom is any judge).
- Egwene al'Vere kind of fits this, too. Or at least she used to. Sure, she's no queen, she's "just" the leader of the resident Witch Species who put her on the Amyrlin Seat as a puppet and nothing more. She had to really take charge and prove them wrong.
- The High Queen in Wicked Lovely, Sorcha, seems to suffer from this. As she puts it, 'the unchanging queen wasn't allowed to show such emotion'.
- Subverted in The Lord of the Rings. Éowyn was ordered to be this and refused.
- The Childlike Empress in The Neverending Story (Die Unendliche Geschichte) is this. She's quite different in the film version, though, because the film never truly shows the burden she has to bear.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Black Colossus", Princess Yasmela. Her brother the king is prisoner and she is ruling in his stead, and when she finds Conan attractive it produces a guilty start.
- While not a Queen per se, D'ol Falla in the Green-Sky Trilogy has a lot of this. Chosen as an Ol-zhaan at thirteen (the usual age) her psychic gifts and personal charm were such that she was made High Priestess only two or three years later. Like all Ol-zhaan she could have "close communion" love affairs but was forbidden to pair-bond (marry) or have children. She had to keep up the serene and regal mask of the High Priestess for the Kindar people, and even her fellow Ol-zhaan. She also has to keep up a mask of ruthlessness as Grandmistress of the Geets-Kel. Yet, all those acts she had to take in her long life now began to weigh on her conscience and ended up injuring Green-sky in the long term, to say nothing of what it did to her psychic powers. Her Choosing Raamo, guided in part by a prophetic dream she'd had, was a way to try and repair some of the damage done.
- Shakuntala in the Belisarius Series is locked in a guerrilla campaign against one of the most powerful empires of the sixth century AD with few allies due to other kingdoms in the Indian subcontinent not wanting to draw the rapacious attention of said empire.
- Web writer Tygati's short story A Fairy Tale has a subversion of this: the outwardly calm, beautiful and regal Faerie Queen is really a man, the real Queen's servant who was forced to pretend to be her after her mysterious disappearance, lest the country erupt into chaos.
- Orual from Till We Have Faces, as the page quote notes. In this case she literally wore a mask/veil as well.
- Nasuada from the Inheritance Cycle isn't a queen, but she is the leader of The Alliance and theoretically equal to her royal supporters. She has workaholic tendencies and once noted that she cannot indulge in romance, though she has considered proposing a diplomatic marriage to one of her allies. Murtagh has a one-sided crush on her, which will probably turn out to be important in the last book of the series.
- This turns into a more literal example at the end of Inheritance, when Nasuada is declared Queen. Good call on the Murtagh thing, which also enhances this by not allowing the two to be together.
- In Fred Saberhagen's Third Book of Swords, Princess Kristin was prepared to marry Mark, who was just a common soldier, and was completely informal with him, right up until they arrived back in Tasavalta and learned that her older sister Princess Rimac had been killed, and the principality was on the verge of civil war with no clear heir to the throne, since everyone thought Kristin was also dead. Kristin then agreed to take the throne, but that of course meant she could no longer marry Mark or be his lover. After that, she had to be totally formal with Mark and hide her true feelings. The mask slipped once or twice, as when her uncle, the wizard Karel, was reluctant to leave them alone together, and Kristin angrily pointed out that it was way too late to be worried about that. It all worked out in the end, when Mark was revealed to be the son of the Emperor, and as such an appropriate consort for the princess after all.
- Subverted with Yambu, the Silver Queen, in the same series. After she became queen, she became detached and distant, and could never let her true feelings show; but at the same time was also pretty informal, and took any man whom she pleased as a lover, although she never had any feelings for them, of course. She's also a subversion in the sense that her emotional detachment is necessary for her to commit the crimes she proceeds to carry out in power, including selling her own daughter into slavery.
- In the Young Royals book about Marie-Antoinette, The Bad Queen, she thinks that looking regal will make her people like her more.
- Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess.
- Song at Dawn Alienor is beloved in her home county of Aquitane but despised in the capital, Paris. There she is called 'the southern whore'. The queenly mask is her only weapon against such gossip.
- Goldmoon of Dragonlance fame was this during the years she waited for Riverwind's return due to her father's illness. Her mask becomes so thick that when Riverwind returns, he notices the change.
- Journey To Chaos: Eric notes this sort of change in Kasile in Looming Shadow. When she was a princess she affected a cutesy and friendly persona. Now that she is The High Queen she is cold and regal. When in private with him, she drops the act.
- In Vampire Academy, Queen Tatiana is eventually revealed to be this, being much nicer and more caring than the Ice Queen exterior she wore in public places. She was open to having Moroi train in self-defense and wanted to protect dhampirs from Moroi royals willing to take away their rights.
Live Action TV
- Lao Ma from Xena: Warrior Princess. Regent both for her degenerate husband and degenerate son.
- Not exactly a Queen as such, but arguably President Laura Roslin from the new Battlestar Galactica has to fill this role.
- Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl. Referred to as 'Queen B' and served by minions, she displays a constant need for perfection and order while suffering secret parental abandonment and insecurity over her classmates' love of her bubbly best friend (Serena). As soon as she leaves, her replacement is so much worse that even those she was worst to miss her.
- Adelle DeWitt from Dollhouse, who only takes off her mask with someone who doesn't technically exist and whose body is programmed to forget.
- Delenn in Babylon 5 displays the traits of this despite not being a queen.
- DG from the SyFy miniseries Tin Man is often portrayed this way in fanfiction set after the miniseries.
- The titular character in Queen Seondeok.
- Empress Arbellatra in Traveller the founder of the dynasty that rules in the default time of the Gurps version. She was a frontier Noblewoman that repulsed a Zhodani invasion. Then she headed for the capital to crush the struggling warlords and become Empress. Sort of a female Henry VII.
- Exalted: Some interpretations of the Scarlet Empress suggest that she is this, maintaining a cold, distant facade and engaging in and encouraging cut throat politics because the alternative (the chaos and division that characterised the Shogunate) would be far worse, and might just be enough to end the world. The occasional reference even hints at great (if private) Angst at what she's become.
- Empress Elisabetta Barbados from Anima: Beyond Fantasy. She didn't want to become Empress after the death of her father, but took the crown because she know that otherwise the Empire would collapse and as Empress has to deal not only with the many people who think she's just a puppet or that a woman must not rule the Empire (mostly as she's also a religious leader), but also with the Azur Alliance.
- This is the eventual fate of Glinda in Wicked. Her official title may only be that of "Good Witch", but for all intents and purposes, she is a queen. After Elphaba is forced into Faking the Dead, and has to flee with Fiyero before any of them can tell Glinda of their plan, Glinda believes the only two real friends she's ever had to be dead - yet she keeps her promise to Elphaba, and spends the rest of her life as a deeply lonely Stepford Smiler being forced to uphold a Government Conspiracy.
- Queen Arshtat from Suikoden V combines this with Blessed with Suck. Taking the throne after her mother (a real Evil Queen) dies, she is forced to bear the country's all-powerful Sun Rune herself to stop it from being stolen. Unfortunately for her, along with power it also confers mental instability and delusions of grandeur that have isolated her from both her family and people, not to mention the hard decisions she has had to make to keep her country from full scale civil war. The game actually plays with this early on, trailers and her actions at the beginning of the game portraying her as a merciless Tyrant, totally at odds with her real character. note
- Ming Numara, the Free Ocean State of Numara's "Thousand-Year-Old Queen". Be aware "Thousand-Year-Old" is not an exaggeration. She may have worn the mask during the early years of her reign and after she became amnesiac, but for most of the time she spent ruling her kingdom, she was neither as isolated (having enjoyed a thousand years of ongoing stellar popularity) nor her rule as fragile as the other examples: being the most experienced and cunning ruler -she will know with a quick glance who among her bureaucrat and officers will betray her, decades before they start to contemplate treason, will let them rise in rank for as long as they are useful to her kingdom and single-handedly outgambit them when they finally turn against her- as well as one of the three most powerful mages on the planet makes things like strictly adhering to the protocol, hiding her emotions, carefully choosing her consort, etc... superfluous considering how unshakable her throne is.
- Fire Emblem series:
- Elincia of the Tellius games was the lost princess during Path of Radiance, and rules as queen of Crimea in the sequel. Her desire to avert this trope by ruling with kindness and compassion led to internal unrest and rebellion in Crimea, which forced her to reevaluate her rule and be willing to use more force as necessary.
- Princess Nyna from Fire Emblem Akaneia as well.. Specially after marrying the future Emperor Hardin not for love but because she thought it was the best for their kingdoms, and sacrificing her love for Camus in the process. Things went downhill soon afterward.
- Queen Ismaire from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, too.
- Queen/Exalt Emmeryn from Fire Emblem Awakening is more of The High Queen, but she can fit in here as well. After all, she became Exalt before hitting her teens and after an horribly war that tore the continent of Ylisse apart, and pretty much dedicated her life to re-fit the Halidom of Ylisse into a more peaceful nature, barely thinking of her own needs...
- Garnet/Dagger goes through this once or twice in Final Fantasy IX. She's certainly unprepared for the responsibility of being a ruler, but her sense of duty is far stronger than her personal desires - for the most part.
- Queen Anora of Dragon Age: Origins would seem like this initially. However, her position is really shaky due to the fact that she's merely the King's widow and Alistair, your Lancer, is the half-brother of the king, and therefore has a better claim to the throne than she does.
- The eponymous Queen of Adretana in Laxius Force III: she has to appear as a capable, no-nonsense leader, despite the fact that she is weeping inside for the sudden death of the King.
- She's not a queen per se (merely the heir to an absurdly powerful corporation), but Mitsuru Kirijo from Persona 3 fits this description to a tee. In order to live up to the responsibilities of her role, she's always cool, collected, and focused on success, but if you enter her romance route, you'll see how she secretly dreams of a normal life.
- Played with a bit is Luminous Arc 2. Carnava's rule has been matriarchal for so long that while Queen Sofia does feel the burden of leadership, her authority is never questioned and he subjects carry out their orders unwavering.
- Princess Zelda fits this role in a few of her incarnations, most particularly in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
- Take very literally with Princess Melia of the High Elita from Xenoblade, since she had to show a different side to the High Elita she has to wear a mask to hide her Half-Homs face.
- Saber, aka Arthuria, aka King Arthur of Fate/stay night not only fulfilled this trope to a T, she even had to give up her femininity and pose as a boy to do it - even to most of her closest allies. Worse, because Humans Are Bastards, some detractors against "his" rule actually used "his" inhuman image as a way to stir dissent. Her nation destroyed itself in civil war, and she died fighting against the people she had tried so hard to rule well. Even after her death, she seeks the Holy Grail in an attempt to set things right for her country.
- It's pretty bad when Lancelot apparently figures out after his death that he kinda goofed on that one, and Bedivere was the only one to suspect the mask was exactly that before she died. Other than that?... She seemed to get along okay with Merlin.
- Princess Elodie, the heroine of Long Live the Queen, is a young girl who has just had the responsibility of ruling an entire country thrust upon her well before anyone expected her to be ready for the task, least of all Elodie herself. The mood swings she experiences are important for players to consider, given that her attitude affects how well she does in her weekly classes. Focusing on being loyal and eloquent and neglecting to learn how to run an empire or command an army or fight will likely get her either killed or overthrown. Usually killed.
- Jayle from Land Games.
- Princess Yue from Avatar: The Last Airbender realised that she must do what is best for the Northern Water Tribe, even though it meant marrying a man she didn't love. In the end, she was willing to take this as far as making a Heroic Sacrifice to resurrect the Moon Spirit.
- Adventure Time's Princess Bubblegum has been doing this for more than 800 years and counting, but it's more a part of her personality than a mask. Season 5.2 made it especially clear that she's having a breakdown caused by all the stress she's under throughout the series. The writers have confirmed she has no coping mechanism, respect is not something she's given, and by "Bad Timing" she thinks it's Better to Die Than Be Killed.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Princess Celestia may technically be one of the two God Empresses of Ponykind, but she hates her duties and the court protocol so much, she enacted a Batman Gambit to manipulate the mane characters into destroying half her palace as an excuse to get out of having to deal with a formal soiree, so she could just hang out with said characters at the local donut shop instead without breach of protocol.
- At the beginning of "Sweet and Elite", Rarity is given a room in the palace while staying in Canterlot and goes overboard with the praise, going so far as to kiss Celestia's hooves. The princess is visibly uncomfortable the entire time.
- In "Princess Twilight - Part 1", Celestia explains to Twilight that she's been enduring the Summer Sun Celebrations for the sake of her subjects, even though it's served her only as a bitter reminder of her needing to banish her sister.
- Luna too displays some of this. Though she gets upset when her subjects display fear towards her, she is clearly more comfortable as the distant, imperious monarch as a means of hiding her more vulnerable nature.
- After Twilight Sparkle becomes a princess, she notably averts this, acting the same as she did before ascending. She even tells her friends not to refer to her as "Princess Twilight."
- Queens Elizabeth I and Victoria of England.
"...I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field...." (Elizabeth to the troops at Tilbury as the Spanish Armada approached.)
- Elizabeth I wore quite literally a Queenly mask, painting her face white and bedecking herself with jewels as she got older, to emphasise the cult of youthful virginity that grew around her.
- Elizabeth II, as mentioned in the entry about the film The Queen above, has quite a bit of this trope in her story, too.
- Urraca, Queen of Leon and Castile from 1109 AD to 1126 AD. She was Queen in her own right, and reigned alone from 1110 onwards.
- Maria Theresa of Austria fits this trope perfectly — she had great difficulty in establishing the claim of her husband, Francis of Habsburg-Lorraine, as Holy Roman Emperor; she was betrayed and made war on by her nomimal subject Frederick II of Prussia; and though she was devoted to her husband, his philandering made her bitterly unhappy; and her son Joseph II's progressive policies troubled her deeply. She was also a major Badass. She once gave birth then rushed off, to command her troops in battle with the baby in her arm (though admittedly she lost that battle).
- Queen Isabel of Castile (Isabella, of "Isabella and Ferdinand" fame), who, besides sending Columbus to the New World, often led troops while pregnant, in course of the Reconquista. Fittingly, she was one of Maria Theresa's ancestors.
- Her daughter, Catherine of Aragon, proved that this was In the Blood. Her first marriage to Arthur, Prince of Wales, ended abruptly with her young husband's death, leaving her in a dangerous political position. Her marriage to Arthur's younger brother Henry VIII fixed that problem, and for several years they were actually quite happy together; she often ran England while he was away fighting the French, even defeating the Scottish troops in a battle she personally directed. After Henry threw her over for Anne Boleyn, however, she took on the Queenly Mask rather than let her detractors see how much she was suffering, and continued to insist that she was the rightful Queen Consort. Even though she was kept apart from her only living child and eventually developed a cancer that would kill her, she remained loyal to Henry and to England until her last breath.
- Catherine the Great had to be this in the beginning of her reign, because her claim for the Russian throne was dubious at best - she wasn't Romanov or even Russian at all, leading many to basically ask, "Seriously, what the hell?" But when her position was somewhat stronger, she relaxed a bit.
- Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sissi) has to fall into this category. She was shy and introverted by nature, and excruciatingly ill at ease among the stifling formality of Hapsburg court life after she married Emperor Franz Joseph. However, she was viewed as a fairy tale princess and beloved by the common people of Austria and Hungary.
- Hawaii's last queen, Queen Liliuokalani. Her husband cheated on her numerous times... and she had the misfortune of reigning just as Eagleland was taking over Hawaii.
It's not easy, being queen.