07:22:55 AM Oct 25th 2017
Should this trope have a real life section? The trope description makes this seem like 'Queens portrayed as evil by default (Always Chaotic Evil) by the narrative', but the real life examples are just queens that happened to be bad people (and were not necessarily more evil and destructive than the Kings). Some of the examples, such as Catherine the Great and Boudica are also YMMV as they're seen quite positively by the Russians and English respectively.
10:38:32 AM Mar 24th 2018
I'm going to remove the Real Life section of this trope, both for the above reason of the description saying this is about Queens being Always Chaotic Evil (which is impossible in real life), and because this trope is arguably a morality trope and the male counterparts of this trope (Evil Prince and The Caligula) forbid real life examples.
05:18:19 AM Nov 14th 2014
The description seems to completely ignore the possibility of a Queen ruling in her own right (daughter of the previous monarch). This is odd.
08:25:30 AM Aug 31st 2012
This entry needs more detail as to how it qualifies, and better Example Indentation as well.
01:48:16 PM Apr 16th 2012
I'm rather sceptical that this trope is actually a trope. Or at least, a vast number of the examples don't seem to match the description of the trope. The trope as described is a very specific one, namely Queens are bad - and has its roots in historical prejudice against women rulers (or women in general). However, most of the listed examples (and mention of this trope on other examples) are simply cases of "an evil queen" - which may well be a trope (or character archetype) in its own right, but doesn't necessarily have anything to do with "ruling queens are bad news". Further more, I don't see a list of villainous queens as being enough to support the claim that "queens tend to be the royalty version of Always Chaotic Evil" - especially when the description almost immediately lists situations where the trope is "subverted" (actually just averted): "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".
10:46:13 AM Jul 11th 2012
Well, it is pretty true that queens tend to be villains for some reason. However, if they were originally princesses, then they have the power of Incorruptible Pure Pureness on their side that comes with being a Princess Classic. This is probably because seeing the lovely princess inexplicably becoming evil wouldn't sit well with most people, or their Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Also, there are tropes that can have counteracting tropes to them. Tropes Are Flexible.
06:58:10 PM Feb 19th 2011
Real Life section below. You want to try to fix it, have at it.
- The Byzantine empress Theodora, wife of Justinian I, is presented in this way by Procopius: she humiliates her underlings, traps women in a convent, and murders her rivals. It doesn't help that before she married the future emperor she was
an actressa whore. A common streetwalker, not a high-class concubine like several other high class men had.
- You know what this means...
- To say nothing of the empress Irene, who murdered her husband and castrated her son...
- There was a lot of blinding people under her rule, if I recall...
- That was a lot of blinding people in the Byzantine Empire in general; it was their standard M.O. for dealing with political opponents, especially deposed Emperors. They figured that it was unseemly to have God's viceroy on Earth (which is what they considered the Emperor to be) to have an obvious physical deformity, so whenever they wanted to get rid of someone, they would disfigure rather than him/her just killing 'em (which they regarded as uncivilized). Though the Byzantines were initially rather...creative...with the disfigurements, they turned to eye-gouging after Justinian II took back the throne even after he had his nose cut in half.
- There was a lot of blinding people under her rule, if I recall...
- In fact (at least according to the male historians, who usually had several axes to grind) every Byzantine empress worthy of note, and certainly any who ruled on her own, fit this trope quite well.
- Procopius also portrayed Justinian as a diabolic man, so you can't accuse him of gender discrimination (although he may have been "slightly" biased).
- Keep in mind that Procopius was extremely conservative, and viewed the idea of a powerful woman as an abomination. Thus, his records of Theodora cannot really be called fair by most standards.
- Procopius wrote several highly slanted accounts of Justinian's court and its notable figures — all of them slanted in different directions. They're mutually contradictory. Historians generally accept that at least some of them have to be outright lies, the ongoing argument is merely as to which ones. So his records of pretty much anything, not just Theodora, require taking with a grain of salt.
- Empress Dowager Cixi of China is almost always portrayed as one of these; according to tradition (and most historians) she mercilessly murdered her enemies and ruthlessly did anything she had to do to hold on to power. The fall of Imperial China is frequently attributed to her despotic rule. Despite that, there are people with other interpretations.
- While the early years of Cixi's rule were frequently characterized by brutal authoritarianism, Cixi became increasingly reformation-minded in her old age, to the extent that the last eight years of her rule are actually considered by some historians to be the single most progressive period in all of imperial Chinese history. Her greatest reforms include the abolition of the civil service examination, the establishment of a public education system, and the democratization of provincial governments. In 1908, she even came out in favor of transitioning to a constitutional monarchy, and would have likely followed up on this promise had she not died three months later.
- Hell, every time any wife of an Emperor shows any kind of political aspiration, she's depicted as one of these. The wife of the first Han Emperor supposedly turned one of her rivals into a "human pig" by chopping all of her limbs off. The only female Empress Wu Ze Tian of the Tang Dynasty pushed forward a lot of good reforms (including truly opening government posts to people who deserved it and not just those of noble standing) and wouldn't hesitate to demote her own people if they screwed up, but her regime also encouraged people to report on each other in secret and some of her officers invented methods for Cold-Blooded Torture that are truly bone-chilling.
- Catherine of Medici was married to Henry II of France. Her Medici upbringing didn't come into effect until after his death however, at which point she became the queen mother, and generally the real power behind the throne. Famously, she was able to exercise her revenge upon Diane de Poitiers, whom Henry II had publicly kept as his mistress by forcing Diane to give up the magnificent Chateau de Chenonceau which Henry had given her. Oh. And let's not forget St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. You know, when they killed all the Protestants in Paris. (Which Catherine de Medici had absolutely nothing to do with.)
- There were over a dozen men, and one woman who were serious contenders for the office of the President of the United States in 2008. Who was called power hungry? The one woman. It doesn't matter what you think of her, or if she actually was. The fact is that, even though by definition, if you run for president you are power hungry, she was singled out for that accusation, while the men seemed to get a pass on that. Hence she suffered from this trope.
- Although Hillary Clinton had accusations of being power-hungry had been leveled at her for well over a decade before the election. But it still fits this trope, when many other US politicians have expressed ambitions often far greater than she ever did.
- Also, consider she was mainly called that by the competing party (who also have less-than-flattering things to say about her husband, or ANY member of the other political parties). Had she been a member of the Republican Party instead (* coughSarah Palincough* ), she would have been called "a leader, a visionary, a strong role model for women" by that party (and "domineering b** ch" by the Democratic Party members). Such is the world of politics. It has a lot to do with gender, sure, but also a lot to do with divisive politics in general.
- Besides, her husband Bill is also seen as power-hungry anyway. Still, YMMV.
- Two of the most prominent reasons for the decline and breakup of the unified Mongol Empire were the regencies (queenships) of Toregene and Oghul-Qaimish, from 1241-1246 and 1248-1250, respectively. As politically incorrect as it is to point out, just as most everything that was right with the Empire had resulted from the Yasa Code established by Chjenghis Khan, most all of the corruption that existed, to varying degrees, within it up to its dissolution was the result of the rule of the two "queens".
- Ranavalona I of Madagascar. Due to brutal rule, she directly caused the deaths of over a quarter million people — in a nation of 2 million. She also undid a great many reforms, re-enacted the slave trade, persecuted religious minorities and expelled all foreigners in addition to launching wars of aggression and plundering against the other tribes of Madagascar.
- Elizabeth Bathory. Not a Queen, sure, but whether or not you believe the stuff about her being a Psycho Lesbian and a vampire, she was a Countess and a convicted serial killer, so I'd say she still...er, counts.
- Eleanor of Aquitaine could possibly count. She never really ruled on her own, but she manipulated England, France, and every man she had within her grip. She even attempted to get her sons to kill her husband, the king.
- Mary I of England. She had almost 300 religious dissenters burned at the stake after returning England to Catholicism post-Henry VIII's rather famous creation of the Anglican Church.
- She was so unfortunately nicknamed "Bloody", she had a drink named after her.
- If you mention Mary, then you should also mention Elizabeth. She may have been a good queen otherwise but she also burned Catholics at the stake.
- Not as bad as most other Kings or her sister, Elizabeth was very tolerant of Catholics (By the standards of the time anyway) and a famous quote of hers was "I will not make windows into the hearts of men."
- From Cracked.com: "While trying to subdue Ireland, Elizabeth ordered the English to use scorched-earth tactics, burning the land and slaughtering man, woman and child. This caused widespead famine and countless thousands died from starvation alone. She also set up plantations across Ireland populated with Protestant English settlers, the idea being that these would be the seeds from which English Protestantism would spring forth and overtake traditional Irish Catholic culture. What could go wrong with that?"
- The Children of Henry VIII by Allison Weir provides this for perspective on just how bad Mary was compared to her predecessors and Elizabeth: "By now, nearly 300 people had been burned in four years, a vast amount compared to the numbers burned under other Tudor monarchs: Henry VII had burned ten in 24 years, Henry VIII 81 in 38 years, and Elizabeth I would burn only five in 45 years."
- True, but Elizabeth apparently hanged more people in one month than Mary burned in her entire reign. She also had many Catholic priests hanged, drawn and quartered on charges of treason that were flimsy at best - the execution of the Jesuit Edmund Campion is pretty much universally agreed to have been no more than judicial murder. Mary certainly wasn't perfect, but a lot of her "bloody" reputation is the result of propagandists such as John Foxe and biased Protestant historians - history is written by the winners remember.
- The Bible had Queen Jezebel and her daughter, Queen Athaliah. The latter almost destroyed David's royal line by killing her grand-kids.
- Fredegonde and Brunehault, respectively queens of Neustria and Austrasia (Frank kingdoms from the 6th century).
- Pharaoh(-ess?) Queen Hatshepsut was given a Historical Villain Upgrade after her death, with her successors going on a mass campaign to deface all her busts and monuments, an indignity rivaled only by the "heretical" Pharaoh Akhenaton who tried to convert the Egyptians to monotheism.