Throughout history, there have been many evil queens who have caused fear and terror in their own kingdoms, as well as in the neighboring lands. From powerful rulers like Cleopatra to notorious matriarchs like Marie Antoinette, these infamous women have left an indelible mark on our collective memory. Here is a list of the top 7 most cruel queens in history, starting with the least wicked and ending with the most wicked of them all.
Queen Isabella of Spain
Year: 1451 – 1504
Queen Isabella of Spain was a formidable ruler in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. She was known for her cruelty, often punishing those who opposed her. Isabella used her power to eliminate her enemies and consolidate her own rule. She also confiscated large amounts of land and wealth from her subjects. In addition, Isabella was known for her religious zeal, exiling Muslims and Jews who refused to convert to Christianity. She also forced those who did convert to Catholicism to follow the religion strictly.
Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt
Year: 69 BC- 30 BC
Queen Cleopatra VII was a powerful and influential ruler of the ancient world. She was an ambitious and determined woman who ruled over the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 51 BC to 30 BC. She was well-known for her intelligence, charm, and ambition, which helped her become one of the most powerful women in history. Cleopatra also had a reputation for being one of the most cruel queens in history. She was known to be ruthless in her dealings with her enemies, and her tactics included using fear and intimidation to keep her people in line.
Queen Catherine de’ Medici
Year: 1519 – 1589
Queen Catherine de’ Medici was one of the most ruthless queens in history. Born in 1519 in Florence, Italy, she was the daughter of Lorenzo II and Madeleine de La Tour d’Auvergne. She was married to Henry II of France in 1533, and became Queen Consort of France in 1547. Throughout her life, she became known for her savvy political maneuvers, her iron grip over the French court, and her brutal treatment of her enemies. Catherine was a master strategist and often used her power and influence to manipulate events in her favor.
Queen Elizabeth I
Year: 1533 – 1603
Queen Elizabeth I was one of the most ruthless and powerful queens in history. She ascended to the throne of England in 1558 and reigned for 45 years. Elizabeth was known for her staunch Protestantism, which she used to dissolve the monasteries, imprison and execute Catholics, and reject foreign suitors. She also established a strong navy, supported exploration and commerce, and brought stability to her kingdom. Elizabeth was a shrewd politician and a fierce defender of her kingdom. She was ruthless in her suppression of dissenters and those who threatened her reign. She also fought off numerous foreign invasions and defended England against the Spanish Armada.
Queen Marie Antoinette
Year: 1755 – 1793
Marie Antoinette was an infamous queen who was known for her cruelty. She was born in 1755 in Vienna, Austria. Marie was the fifteenth child of Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresa. She married to Louis XVI of France at the age of fifteen. Marie Antoinette was known for her extravagance and her unconcern for the poverty of her people. She was also known for her notoriously high taxes and her refusal to accept advice. She was also known to be cruel to her servants, often mistreating them and even imprisoning them.
Queen Maria Eleonora
Year: 1599 – 1655
Queen Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg, one of the most cruel queens in history, was known for her harsh treatment of her courtiers and subjects. She was highly intolerant of any form of disobedience and her punishments were often severe. She was known to have exiled high-ranking courtiers and even executed them in some cases. Maria Eleonora was also known to have confiscated land and property from her subjects without due cause. She was also known to be a religious zealot who persecuted those who did not comply with her religious beliefs.
Queen Mary I
Year: 1516- 1558
Queen Mary I was one of the most cruel queens in history. She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, born in 1516. She was declared heir to the throne in 1544. Her father, King Henry VIII, had broken with the Roman Catholic Church in 1534 and declared himself head of the Church of England. Queen Mary sought to restore the Catholic faith and authority in England. She executed hundreds of Protestants who refused to convert to Catholicism. She was known as “Bloody Mary” for her harsh treatment of those who opposed her.