8 Brilliant Actresses That Turned into Powerful Queens

And they’ve done an incredible job: they are all queens even without a crown!

Penélope Cruz: Queen Isabella I of Castille

This one’s a bit meta: in The Queen of Spain, Penélope portrays Macarena Granada, an actress shooting a blockbuster about Queen Isabella I of Castile. She was reunited with the director Fernando Trueba: the man who gave her one of the first roles when she was only 18. “She was very serious from the beginning. She prepared, she worked a lot. She was a perfectionist… and she still is,” he said.

Cate Blanchett: Queen Elizabeth I of England, Hela – The Death Queen, Galadriel – Lady of Lórien

If anyone was born to play a ruler, it’s this Australian porcelain beauty with piercing eyes, deep voice, and unbelievable poise. She was nominated for an Oscar both times she played Queen Elizabeth; she had the time of her life embodying the psycho Goddess of Death in Thor: Ragnarok, and who could ever forget the angelic Elven Queen from Lord of the Rings!

Evan Rachel Wood: Queen Iduna & Vampire Queen of Louisana

Evan is a fierce woman who isn’t shy to express her opinions, fight for what’s right, and openly talk about her sexuality and past traumas, including domestic violence. No wonder she’s able to carry the role of a queen on her shoulders! She was iconic as the icy, borderline insane vampire queen of Louisiana in True Blood. She also lent her voice to another queen: Iduna, the mother of princesses Elsa and Anna in Frozen.

Saoirse Ronan: Mary, Queen of Scots

She may be Irish, but she was perfectly cast to play the Catholic Queen of Scotland, threatened by Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). The 4-time Oscar nominee waited for years for her dream role: “It was always: we’ll do Mary this year. And then we never did. I’d been thinking about it for so long, it almost felt like a fantasy. Playing her was a huge responsibility. She is so loved. But I was nervous mainly because of the wait. Selfishly, I just really wanted to do a good job,” she said for The Guardian. 

Emilia Clarke: Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains

Daenerys is one of the most adored characters from the epic fantasy drama Game of Thrones. Clarke wasn’t exactly an experienced actress before, but when Daenerys uttered her “Dracarys”, it’s safe to say she caused chills down millions of spines all over the world. The star admitted that the Mother of Dragons saved her life: she fully immersed in her after a life-threatening brain injury. “I felt so powerfully that she was saving me. I could only see her. That was my single point of focus that allowed me to not think about anything scarier than just getting on set,” she said for Variety. 

Helen Mirren: Queen Elizabeth II

Helen Mirren is always a queen, and it’s no wonder that she was the one tasked with portraying Queen Elizabeth II, the current English monarch. Not just once: she famously won an Oscar for her performance in The Queen, and she reprised this role in a theatre play The Audience and got a prestigious Tony Award. 

Helena Bonham Carter: Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Red Queen

The eccentric English actress has incredible scope and doesn’t shy away from playing complete oddballs as well as graceful – or psychopath – queens. In The King’s Speech, an acclaimed film revolving around the future King George VI coping with his stuttering, she portrayed Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and was applauded by critics. Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, on the other hand, was one of her brilliantly bizarre characters, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in this role. “Off with his head!” is just so much fun when she’s the one yelling it! 

Claire Foy: Queen Elizabeth II

Another part of Queen Elizabeth’s II life was beautifully reimagined by Claire Foy in the hit show The Crown. The actress admitted that she previously didn’t know how extraordinary the monarch’s life has been, and how strong she was throughout all the hardships. In an interview with Vogue, she mentioned that assuming the Queen is cold is not right. “I think that it’s easy to see her as cold and distant and disembodied, because you don’t want to have to consider what it’s like for her. She’s the most famous person in the world and she has never displayed any emotion, apart from a couple of Remembrance Sundays where she had a tear in her eye. That doesn’t mean that she’s cold. What that means, what’s going on that we don’t see, is not that she doesn’t feel pain or happiness or misery or joy or any of those things, it’s just that we don’t get to see any of that, and that’s really fascinating that someone has managed to do that for 64 years,” Claire explained. 

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