Hail to the Queen!

In the line of infamous queens, there is none as mean, none as nasty, none as feared, none as foul-tempered as the villainous Queen of hearts, the tyrannical monarch of Wonderland in Lewis Carroll’s beloved children’s tale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Granted, the King of Hearts reigns with her, but it is really the queen who wears the pants in the relationship!  Be careful not to make her angry, as she has been known to order death sentences left and right at the slightest offense.  In fact, her most used phrase is “Off with their heads!”  She is ruthless, lacking any drop of mercy and compassion, and described by Carroll as “the blind fury”.  Who knew that a card from a deck of playing cards could be so fierce?!

Queen of Hearts Complete Costume:

Queen of Hearts Complete Costume

As with every member of royalty, the Queen of Hearts has a few leisure activities.  Aside from execution, the queen takes pleasure in the less brutal activity of croquet.  However, in Wonderland, this is no ordinary sport with hedgehogs serving as balls and flamingos being mallets.  This setup proves to have some complications for the queen as the hedgehogs are prone to scuffle away before being hit and the flamingos, whose beaks are supposed to strike the ball, get side tracked and keep looking back up at the players.  You would think that a woman of royal blood would know that it is never advisable to use live animals as equipment in sporting events!  Still, the Queen of Hearts is smart enough to get her way.  She appoints her soldiers as arches on the croquet grounds, but they must refrain from their position as arches whenever an executioner is summoned to drag away victims, so that by the end of the game, the only surviving players are the queen, the king, and Alice in the story.

While it may seem that the Queen of Hearts cannot be outwitted, things still slip past her knowledge.  For instance, many of the beheadings issued are not actually performed because the King of Hearts pardons them without the queen’s awareness.  Also, the queen’s loyal soldiers may not be that loyal after all, as they humor her demands, but do not truly comply with them.  Were she to find out about them, though, all hell would break loose!  Thus, even though deaths are not the norm in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts manages to carry herself with enough intimidation and malevolence that she still instills fear in all creatures!

Wicked Queen Complete Costume:

Wicked Queen Complete Costume

The inspiration for the Queen of Hearts is believed by some to be taken from Queen Victoria.  The view exists that the fictional character contained enough realistic elements to make her recognizable to parents as Queen Victoria, but unrecognizable to children due to the fantastical elements.  Another possible representation of the Queen of Hearts is Queen Margaret of the House of Lancaster.  During the War of the Roses, the House of Lancaster was symbolized by a red rose while their adversary, the House of York, was symbolized by a white rose.  In Carroll’s work, the queen’s gardeners who are painting white roses red may be interpreted as both houses.  Aside from these theories, it could be that the queen was simply created from Carroll’s imagination.  It is hard to know for sure.

Regardless of the origin of the Queen of Hearts, her reputation has emerged in popular culture as one of the best, and most interesting, villainous characters of all time.  For our collection of queen like attire, go to:  http://www.historicalclothingrealm.com/

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