It’s almost one year to the day since we released Rex Factor the Animated Show, a collaboration with Tinmouse Animation in which we made an animated version of Rex Factor reviewing King Richard III. Lots of people have been asking us if we’re making some more and we’re about to apply for funding to make a second edition! However, the big question is which monarch will we be doing next time? Well, the decision is all yours! We’ve made a shortlist of four queens for you to choose from. The deadline for voting is Friday 13 September 2019, so you’ve just got one week to decide! To vote, click the link below, or if you want to know more about the choices then click to read more.
The Four Queens
As we did a king last time (and as our currently series is predominantly focusing on women), we thought that this time we would review a queen regnant. But which one? Well, there is a choice of four for you to choose from:
- Mary, Queen of Scots
- Elizabeth I
Mary, Queen of Scots
Mary was Queen of Scots from 1542 (at the age of just 6 days old) to 1567 and lived a remarkably dramatic life. Sent off as a young girl to escape the ‘Rough Wooing’ of Henry VIII, she married the French Dauphin and was briefly the Queen Consort of France before the young death of her husband. She returned to rule Scotland in person at just 19, a Catholic in a newly Protestant country. Initially she had much success, bringing some French glamour to the Scottish court and courting popularity by touring the country and trying to achieve a balance between Catholics and Protestants. Her main aim was to be recognised as the successor of Elizabeth I in England, but when this proved fruitless and she made some disastrous marriage choices, her reign quickly unravelled. After marrying the man widely accused of murdering her second husband, she was imprisoned and forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son, James VI. After escaping imprisonment but losing a subsequent battle, she fled to England in hope of assistance from Elizabeth I, only to be kept under house arrest for 19 years before being executed for plotting against Elizabeth in 1587. To find out more about Mary, you can listen to her THREE podcast episodes here (biography part 1), here (biography part 2) and here (review).
Elizabeth I was Queen of England from 1558 to 1603, presiding over what has often been seen as a golden age for English history. The daughter of Henry VIII, Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, was executed when Elizabeth was just 3 years old with the young princess declared illegitimate. The next twenty years were some of the most turbulent in English history, with her father breaking from the Church of Rome, her brother (Edward VI) pursuing a doggedly Protestant agenda only for her sister (Mary I) to restore Catholicism. Elizabeth only narrowly survived her sister’s regime and had a difficult task of restoring unity to a deeply divided England. She pursued a more moderate policy in religion, was loyal to her ministers and an expert at courting public opinion but her reign was still full of drama. She had to endure endless speculation about who she would marry, found herself excommunicated by the Pope and a target of Catholic plots once her rival, Mary Queen of Scots, came to England. After Mary’s execution, Elizabeth survived the threat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. When she finally died in 1603, the country had come through the threat of civil war and invasion and instead enjoyed a golden age that lay the roots for future glories. To find out more about Elizabeth, you can listen to her podcast episode here.
Anne was queen from 1702 to 1714 – initially of England and Scotland separately but, after the Act of Union in 1707, she became the first Queen of Great Britain. Anne was the daughter of James II (VII of Scotland) but along with her sister, Mary, had been brought up a Protestant while her father was a Catholic. Anne was supportive of the conspiracy that saw Mary’s husband, William of Orange, invade in 1688, leading to the Glorious Revolution in which William and Mary became joint monarchs and a Protestant succession was firmly established. Anne’s relations with her sister and brother-in-law were strained and she relied on her closest friend, Sarah Churchill, for advice, as well as Sarah’s husband, the future Duke of Marlborough. When Anne became queen in 1702, she was not in great health, being increasingly overweight and suffering from gout after enduring the tragedy of 17 pregnancies which ended in either miscarriage or infant death. Many were dismissive of Anne’s abilities but she proved a hard-working and dedicated monarch. One of the major achievements of her reign was the Act(s) of Union between England and Scotland, creating a new nation of Great Britain. There were also great military successes, with the Duke of Marlborough winning several great victories against Louis XIV of France in the War of the Spanish Succession (most famously the Battle of Blenheim), after which Britain was established as the growing economic and military power in Europe. However, Anne’s personal life was dogged by heartache – her husband died in 1708, her friendship with Sarah Churchill gradually came to a bitter end and the stresses of the developing two party system in politics took an increasingly heavy toll on her health. To find out more about Anne, you can listen to her podcast episode here.
Victoria was Queen of Great Britain from 1837 to 1901, until the present queen the longest reign in British history. She survived an oppressive childhood under the ‘Kensington System’ of her mother’s ambitious comptroller only to throw off the shackles and become independent when ascending the throne as an 18 year-old. In partnership with her beloved husband, Prince Albert, Victoria defined the Victorian age in which the British Empire was at its zenith and the modern world was coming into being – telephones, photographs, railways as well as major political reforms with more and more people (men) getting the vote. Victoria personified the age and yet her long reign was not without its difficulties – she entered a state of near permanent mourning after the death of Albert in 1861 (helping boost the republic movement in Britain), there were terrible events such as the Irish Potato Famine and the Indian Mutiny and the impacts of the industrial revolution saw many working class families living in terrible conditions. However, Victoria was the icon for Britain at its imperial might and her Golden and Diamond Jubilees received great celebration, with the nation uncertain of its future and place in the world when she finally died in 1901. To find out more about Victoria, you can listen to her FIVE podcast episodes here (biography part 1), here (biography part 2), here (Prime Ministers part 1), here (Prime Ministers part 2) and here (review).
So, those are the four queens to choose from, but which will do you think should be the next subject of Rex Factor: The Animated Show? You have until the end of Friday 13 September to make your decision, so please vote here and help select our next monarch!