British Library: Elizabeth and Mary

Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens



Senior Research Fellow in History Susan Doran has been involved in the exciting new exhibition, ‘Elizabeth and Mary: Royal Cousins, Rival Queens’, which opened in October 2021 at the British Library, London, and is continuing until February next year. The exhibition focuses on the tense relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, taking visitors into the queens’ personal lives and the world of religious turmoil, treason, rebellion, international conspiracy and attempted foreign invasion. The story is told chronologically both through Elizabeth and Mary’s own words in letters and poems and through material objects, such as portraits, drawings, jewellery, even effigies of the queens’ tombs. One of the smallest objects in the exhibition is the exquisite Chequers ring which opens to show miniature portraits of Elizabeth and her mother, Anne Boleyn; among the largest is a huge tapestry that Mary embroidered while a prisoner in England. The portraits on show include not only well-known images in the Royal Collection and National Portrait Gallery but also several usually hidden away in private collections. The whole exhibition offers a visual treat as well as a fascinating historical re-look at a tale frequently told in fiction and film. Yvonne Cornish and Susan Doran shall be taking a group of Benetian alumni around the exhibition on 19 February.  Please contact Nina Urai for more details:



image credit: British Library