1. Introduction

2. Typical Female Properties

3. British Queens
3.1. Queen Mary I
3.1.1. Biographical Facts
3.1.2. Reflection
3.2. Queen Elizabeth I
3.2.1. Biographical Facts
3.2.2. Reflection
3.3. Queen Mary II
3.3.1. Biographical Facts
3.3.2. Reflection
3.4. Queen Anne
3.4.1. Biographical Facts
3.4.2. Reflection
3.5. Queen Victoria
3.5.1. Biographical Facts
3.5.2. Reflection
3.6. Queen Elizabeth II
3.6.1. Biographical Facts
3.6.2. Reflection

4. Conclusion


Works Cited

1. Introduction

A few months ago, there has been an innovation in German history: A female Federal Chancellor had been elected. Angela Merkel is the first woman since the existence of the Federal German Republic supposed to rule the country. From the very beginning, when her election campaign started, this meant hard work for her.

First, when she still was chairwoman of the CDU, she had a rather masculine and unkempt appearance as well as image, for which many people made fun of her. But for her election campaign, she suddenly started changing this image. On the election posters, you could see a neat and smiling Angela Merkel. Considering this, one is tempted to assume that this changing of image helped her to achieve her election victory and that a feminine image is generally helpful for succeeding at political level.

But does this mean that female rulers are better rulers? Are supposedly typical female properties like empathy, intuition and benignity better premises for ruling a country than strictness and the ability to assert oneself? Or are women who rule only poor copies of male rulers? I will especially examine this in the history of Britain, where for centuries there has been a long tradition of male as well as female rulers.

2. Typical Female Properties

Men and women are different, which doesn’t only become obvious in external characteristics. Throughout the centuries, they have developed different character traits typical for each of the two genders and are to be viewed in connexion with society.

Men are supposed to be tough and protect their territory. Being provided with a more powerful body, they always had to supply their families with everything needed for living. But being provided with testosterone they also want to outgun their rivals so that there have often been quarrels and wars between men.

Women on the other hand allegedly possess characteristics as benignity and gentleness. As women were in the past responsible for the upbringing of children, there was no need for them to develop severity. Though motherly feelings that are caused by female sex hormones make them protect their children, women are better in resolving conflicts verbally.

As public opinion has a tendency to understand peace as an evidence for successful governance, one could think that women were better rulers than men. But there are other factors that have to be taken into account. In the next chapters, I will introduce British queens and will try to examine how their femininity influenced their governmental qualities.

3. British Queens

In contrast to other countries, Britain has a rather long tradition of female country leaders.

In this chapter I will introduce the most important Queens of England. It starts with Mary I, continues with Elizabeth I, Mary II, Anne, Victoria and results in Elizabeth II. Biographical facts will be told as well as what they did for the people. I will also have look upon their typical female properties that are said to be helpful for ruling a country and hereby focus especially on the subject of peace.

3.1. Queen Mary I

3.1.1. Biographical Facts

Mary I was crowned Queen in 1553, then being 37 years old. For a daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon, she stepped into her half-brother’s shoes, who died at the age of fifteen.

The Queen’s policy was strongly affected by her religion, which she regarded as the core of truth in the world. Metz describes this as follows: “Marys Politik wurzelt in einem Existenzgrund, nicht in der Pragmatik des Tages“ (60). As Mary was a Catholic, she is nowadays often regarded as the last survivor of a dark and detestable England. But her attitude towards reformation is understandable when you consider the circumstance of her own father establishing Protestantism in England, with the help of which he managed to remarry and repudiate his first wife. This made his daughter Mary a bastard.



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University of Stuttgart – Institut für Anglistik
British Queens Better Rulers Spotlights History




Title: British Queens - Better Rulers?