While we believe there are many Queens in Season 2 of A Discovery of Witches, from Goody Alsop to Diana herself, there's only one woman who holds the actual crown: Queen Elizabeth. Played by Barbara Marten, the presence of this powerful woman set against the fantastical world of Season 2, brings a human touch not often seen in depictions of royalty.
Below, we'll explore how the show brought this historic icon to life, including a little history of the real life woman behind the character. We'll discuss how the show leveraged her to move its story forward, and what Diana likely had to learn in order to meet her in Episode 3.
So Who Was the Real Queen Elizabeth?
The real Queen Elizabeth was the last of five monarchs from the House of Tudor (if you ask me, the Tudor period is definitely one we should all geek out on). Queen Elizabeth had multiple names. Sometimes she was called Virgin Queen (she was known for her chastity), sometimes called Gloriana, and sometimes called Good Queen Bess.
She was the daughter of Henry VII. Unfortunately, she lost her mother to one of his infamous beheadings at only two years old. No wonder she’s got a tough face and thick skin. Queen Elizabeth was a London woman born in Greenwich, and she eventually died in Richmond just south in sunny Surrey. She reigned during a truly historic time for England, when they stepped up their global role in arts, politics, and the economy. This time period was named the Elizabethan age with thanks to Queen Elizabeth herself.
The Reimagining of Queen Elizabeth in Season 2
In Season 2, Queen Elizabeth is another character wonderfully reimagined. She plays an important role in pushing the story forward, revealing a thing or two about Matthew Roydon, when we learn that she uses him as a spy and an advisor. She is a force to be reckoned with, holding major power over Matthew—and she's not afraid to put it to use when she needs to. She keeps an eagle eye on his movements, making sure he won't flee from her again.
She, like most people of this time period, are not enchanted by Diana. In fact, the Queen would prefer Matthew only has one woman in his life—and that's her.
How to Greet Queen Elizabeth
Given all this, you can imagine the nerves Diana must have had when she was faced with meeting the infamous Queen. The modern-day witch already had her hands full trying to wrangle and strengthen her powers. Now, she also has to learn what it is you do when you walk into the same room as the most powerful woman in the land. It goes a little something like this:
Step One: Learn How to Curtsy.
Take a break from reading this and watch the above clip with me, to make sure we don’t fail curtsying for the Queen. Meghan Markle says she too had to have a last-minute curtsy lesson when meeting her grandma-in-law (aka the Queen). I like to think of it as a side lunge, so not only are you meeting royalty, you're also getting that glute workout in.
After the curtsy, there is a lot Matthew, Diana, and any other person lucky or unlucky enough to meet the Queen (of any time period) must think about:
- When the Queen enters the building you must stand to attention, the workout gets more intense.
- Although Michelle Obama got away with it, you mustn't touch the Queen—you could be killed.
- Don’t utter a single word unless she asks you to speak. So if you want to talk about the weather or vampires or witches, be patient.
- Even if you are hangry, don’t put a single mouthful of food in your mouth before she does. Even if your belly sounds like thunder.
- The Queen’s love language is gifts. Although she has everything, she likes a gift that represents you and your culture. Diana could offer her a broom or a history book, and maybe Matthew a jug of human blood?
Now that you have the proper background information, watch Diana and Matthew meet Queen Elizabeth in Episode 3, and tell us how you think they did.
Stream new episodes of A Discovery of Witches Season 2 every week on amc.com and AMC apps. New episodes air Sundays 8/7c.
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