In the world of fiction, the queen is the feminine presence that grounds a king in his emotions. While this stereotypical portrayal will have us believe in the romantic image of a compassionate and loving queen, reality presents us with a different truth. Like all humans, the queens of world history also had their flaws. However, world history also remembers some cruel queens as the most flawed independent ones. Like evil kings, there also existed evil queens that her subjects hated. In this article, you will go through the dark pages of history to look at the worst queens in world history and the most hated queen of all time.
1. Who was the Most Hated Queen?
To consider only one queen as the most hated queen is a disservice to human history. There are multiple people throughout history whose actions have earned them that title. Whether through ignorance, cruelty, or discrimination, history provides us with an array of contenders. A few queens who fit the criteria to belong among the worst queens in the history of the world are Marie Antoinette, Mary I, and Queen Isabella, among others.
- Marie Antoinette was the last queen of France before the French Revolution. She lived luxuriously when the French population was facing extreme poverty and starvation. Marie’s actions appeared as cruel ignorance to the French.
- Mary I is another queen that her people hated. She served as the Queen of England for five years. Being a religious fanatic, she was responsible for the death of three hundred Protestants.
- Queen Isabella of Spain quickly lost the support of the masses due to her anti-Semitic policies in which she forced Jews to either convert to Catholicism or face exile. Also, check out what were King Philip II of Spain accomplishments?)
2. Who is known as the Most Ruthless Queen?
Bloodshed goes hand-in-hand with ruthless monarchs. The worst rulers in human history are also responsible for the worst wars, massacres, and mass death. When we talk about the most ruthless queen, we will refer to the queens whose penchant for violence is infamous. Wu Zetian was the only female Chinese empress. She makes our list as she committed a series of political murders to ascend to and retain power. Some records suggest that she is also responsible for the murder of her mother and grandchildren.
Similarly, Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar is infamous for political murder and a thirst for power. Following her ascension to the throne after her husband’s passing, she killed her uncle and starved her mother to death to remain in power. (See Who was the Greatest King of ALL TIME?)
3. 10 Worst Queens in World History
Terming one person the most hated feels unfair, right? So to add some perspective and have an arsenal of downright problematic queens, here is a list of the worst queens in world history. You have the following list of ten queens who are more villainous than heroic.
- Maria Eleonora: Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg was the Queen of Sweden and our top pick for the most hated queen. She was the queen between 1620 and 1632 AD. Maria Eleonora is infamous for the cruel mistreatment of her daughter. She called her daughter a monster as she wished for a son. Her hatred was not limited to name-calling, as she actively attempted to take her daughter’s life. However, the most horrific thing she did was make her daughter sleep beside the king’s rotting body.
- Wu Zetian: Empress Wu Zetian served as the empress of China. She was the sole female empress of China and was in power between 690 and 705 AD. Her violent history makes her a strong contender for the spot of the most hated queen. Wu Zetian is infamous for murder, political murders to be specific. She committed several murders in the Tang Dynasty to stay in power. Rumor has it that she killed her mother and grandchildren in her thirst for power.
- Queen Isabella: Queen Isabella I was the Queen of Castile, the dynasty that ruled over modern-day Spain. She ruled alongside her husband from 1474 to 1504 AD. Queen Isabella is on this list for three primary reasons, anti-Semitism, racism, and religious fanaticism. Queen Isabella, a devout follower, forced the Jews in her kingdom to embrace and follow Catholicism or leave the country.
- Maria I: Queen Maria I, also known as Maria the Pious in Portugal, and Maria the Mad in Brazil, was the Queen of Portugal. Although not too cruel, Maria I is still worthy of the title of the most hated queen. Her entry on this list is tragic. She became a violent and deranged person following the loss of her husband. The already vulnerable Maria was pushed over the edge when her confessor and son died, earning her the status of legally insane.
- Empress Irene: Irene was the Byzantine Empress of Athens. She ruled Athens from 797 to 802 AD. Irene’s tale is one full of betrayal. She conspired against her son to gain total control over the Byzantine Empire. Although the pair developed a better relationship, as soon as her son, Constantine VI, lost public support due to poor marital decisions, Irene conspired again. This time, however, she imprisoned him and gouged his eyes out.
- Queen Ranavalona I: Queen Ranavalona I ruled over Madagascar. She was the ruler of Madagascar from 1828 to 1861 AD. In another case of a power-hungry ruler, Queen Ranavalona committed political murders to retain her supremacy. After her husband passed, she had her uncle executed and even tortured her mother.
- Catherine de Medici: Catherine de Medici, or the Queen with No Heart, was the Queen of France. She is the wife of Henri II, the then King of France. Following his death, she filled the role of the Queen Mother. In another tragic case, her husband had a mistress driving Catherine to do the things she would. Upon learning that her daughter, Margaret, was involved in a romantic relationship, Catherine locked her up in a room. While it would still be acceptable, she soon ordered her son to execute Margaret’s lover in front of Margaret.
- Marie Antoinette: Marie Antoinette was the Queen of France. Infamous for many things but primarily for her ignorance, she reigned between 1774 and 1792 AD. Interestingly, she was also the last French queen before the French Revolution. She indulged in luxury when most of the French population suffered from poverty, starvation, and unemployment. In a cruel twist of fate, the astonishingly ignorant queen did not give up her power. She was brought down from power via a beheading courtesy of the guillotine.
- Mary I: Mary I is among the more deserving half in this list, more deserving of the most hated queen title. She served as the Queen of England for five years between 1553 and 1558 AD. Her actions during her reign border on religious fanaticism. Following her ascension to the throne, Mary I ostracized Protestants to gain favor from Catholics. Often, she burned the Protestants alive. She was responsible for more than three hundred deaths during her reign. She was so cruel that her victims gave her the moniker Bloody Mary.
- Juana la Loca: Juana or Juana la Loca (Spanish for Juana the Mad) was the Queen of Castile and ruled over Spain. She reigned from 1504 to 1516 AD. She earned her title due to the mental disorders that she suffered. When her husband passed, Juana had the tomb opened to be with his corpse. She would kiss the feet of the corpse, caress it, and go as far as to keep his coffin under her bed. Also, check out how would you explain the rise of Napoleon?