All The Period Dramas About Queens From History You Can Watch Soon

Past generations of historians have focused on kings – male rulers and their achievements – but over the past decade there has been a steady rise in the study of Women’s History, including the study of queens.

This interest has definitely transferred to the silver screen. When I recently sat down to update my period drama guide and write a new blog post about the period dramas I am most looking forward to this year, it struck me there are a lot of period dramas about fabulous females from history I want to watch soon. Specifically, there are a lot of period dramas about queens coming up for release or in development.

Looking for a regal dose of historical film and TV? Then bookmark these period dramas about queens in your calendar now!

(Before I jump into the blog post I want to give a special shout out to my friends over at Queens podcast – one of my top history podcasts of all time and a great one for getting new people interested in history – who helped inspire this post. If you want to learn more about fascinating queens from history while waiting for these period drama releases, I thoroughly recommend you check their podcast out.)

Becoming Elizabeth

Following on from The White Queen and The Spanish Princess, Starz now brings us Becoming Elizabeth, a new eight-part drama about the formative years of Tudor monarch Elizabeth I.

German actress Alicia Von Rittberg plays the flame-haired monarch, supported by a cast of period drama stalwarts. Romola Garai (Atonement, Emma) plays the future Queen Mary I, and Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife) plays Catherine Parr. Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey, Knightfall) plays Thomas Seymour.

Becoming Elizabeth was released on Starzplay on the 12th of June 2022.

The Woman King

The Woman King is a forthcoming historical epic inspired by the true events that happened in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Oscar winner Viola Davies will star as Nanisca, the leader of an all-female military unit. Together with her new recruit Nawi, they fight the enemies who have dared to breach their honour, enslave their people and who have threatened to destroy their way of life. John Boyega also stars.

The Woman King is due for release in cinemas on the 16th of September 2022.

The Crown – Series 5

Who isn’t looking forward to the next series of The Crown? Especially with the new and updated roster of impressive actors. Imelda Staunton will take on the title role for the last two series of this smash hit, with Jonathan Pryce portraying Prince Philip. Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West have been cast as Princess Diana and Prince Charles respectively.

The fifth season will take place in the ’90s, which wasn’t exactly a good decade for the queen. She called 1992 her ‘annus horribilis‘ – that was the year that a fire destroyed large parts of Windsor Castle and multiple royal marriages ended. I guess we can expect A LOT of drama then.

We can expect to see The Crown on Netflix in September of 2022.

The Serpent Queen

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! StarzPlay have continued their trend in commissioning period dramas based on queens from the medieval and early modern period by announcing the production of The Serpent Queen, a new series about French queen Catherine de Medici.

The series will follow Catherine, who marries into the French court as an orphaned teenager expected to bring in a fortune in dowry and produce heirs, only to discover that her husband is in love with an older woman and that she cannot conceive children. And yet she manages to keep her marriage alive and masters the blood sport that is the monarchy better than anyone else.

Samantha Morton (who played Mary, Queen of Scots – Catherine’s daughter-in-law – in Elizabeth: The Golden Age) will play the formidable French queen.

Cleopatra

One of the most depicted queens on the silver screen, Cleopatra is often portrayed as a cunning temptress. Now actress Gal Gadot is set to produce and star in ‘a more empowering, feminist’ take on the famous Egyptian queen.

The project is not without controversy however. The film was accused of whitewashing, with many arguing that the role of Cleopatra should have gone to an actress of Arab or African heritage.

There have been so many depictions of Cleopatra that this is one of the period dramas where I am asking myself ‘do we really need this?’. Only time will tell if Gal Gadot can answer my question.

Corsage

One of the stand out successes of the 2022 Cannes film festival, Corsage stars Vicky Krieps as Empress Elizabeth of Austria as she turns 40 in 1877. She begins to rebel against her role as the beautiful but passive companion to the emperor. So many depictions of this fascinating woman from history focuses on her glamourous younger years, so this fresh take will be interesting to see.

The film will be released on the continent this summer, but the UK and Ireland rights have only recently been acquired. We can guess at a release date in the autumn of 2022.

Napoleon

The formerly-titled Kitbag sees Joaquin Pheonix reunite with director Ridley Scott to take on the role of one of the most famous figures from French history, Napoleon Bonaparte.

The film will give a different take on the story of Napoleon’s rise to the top of French politics. It will be viewed through the prism of his complex relationship with his one true love, Josephine Beauharnais. The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby will play the famous Empress after Jodie Comer was forced to pull out.

Napoleon is expected to air on Apple TV in 2023.

Marie Antoinette

In the autumn of 2021 it was announced that BBC2 had bought the Anglo-French period drama Marie Antoinette, created and written by Deborah Davis (screenwriter for fellow regal period drama The Favourite).

The eight-part series will give a modern and feminist take on the ill-fated young queen, who will be played by Emilia Schüle. She was only 14 years old when she left Austria to marry the Dauphin of France (played by fellow newcomer Louis Cunningham).

Expected to air in late 2022, filming has taken place at a variety of historical locations in France, including the stunning Versailles.

Firebrand

Finally! A film about one of Henry VIII’s wives who isn’t Anne Boleyn!

Firebrand is billed as “a psychological horror tale set in the bloody Tudor court with a focus on Queen Catherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of Henry VIII, and the only one to avoid banishment or death.” So think more psychological thriller than bodice-ripper! Starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander as Catherine with Jude Law as Henry VIII, I think we can expect good things from this one.

Production on the film began in May 2022, so we can confidently expect a 2023 release date. In the meantime why not read The Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle? It’s the historical novel upon which the film is based!

Queen Charlotte – Bridgerton Prequel

Given the fact that Regency romance period drama Bridgerton was a smash hit for Netflix, its no surprise producers Shondaland have taken the decision to expand the Bridgerton-verse!

The spinoff is still untitled but it has been confirmed to be “all about Queen Charlotte’s origin story, including her marriage to King George and the great love story — and societal shift — that follows”. The early lives of Lady Danbury and Lady Violet Bridgerton will feature too.

India Amarteifio (Sex Education) will play the young Queen Charlotte, with newcomer Corey Mylchreest playing her King George. Better polish those crowns ready!

I can imagine we will see even more period dramas about queens from history announced in the coming months. Perhaps if you hear of a new one you can let us know? In the meantime, let us know which period dramas about queens you are most looking forward to in the comments below.

Simply can’t wait for these films and TV shows to be released? Then check out Queens Podcast and their EXCLUSIVE Patreon content, where you can hear me and Queen Katy have a good old gossip about all these upcoming films and pick our favourites!!!

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