An old tease: Kate Stanley & Elizabeth I

Posted by on Mar 12, 2014

Kate is “not yet thirty” when Interred With Their Bones begins. Elizabeth was about 30 when Steven van der Meulen painted her: a little older than Kate, but in the same general period of life.

She reached up to touch my hair with one finger. “Same red hair and black Boleyn eyes,” she murmured. “You know you look especially royal when angry?”


It was an old tease – that in certain moods, I looked like the queen. Not the present Elizabeth, but the first one. Shakespeare’s queen. It wasn’t just my auburn hair and dark eyes that did it, either, but the slight hook in my nose, and fair skin that freckled in the sun. Once or twice, I’d glimpsed it in the mirror myself – but I’d never liked the comparison or its implications. My parents had died when I was fifteen, and I’d gone to live with a great-aunt. Since then, I’d spent much of my life in the company of autocratic older women, and I’d always sworn I would not end up like them. So I liked to think I had little in common with that ruthless Tudor queen, save intelligence, maybe, and a delight with Shakespeare.


Interred With Their Bones

Here is the full-length portrait:

Queen Elizabeth I, The Hampden Portrait, c. 1563 (age 30)
By Steven van der Meulen
Private Collection

 You can see more images of the young Elizabeth at Luminarium.

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