Monday, March 2, 2015

Elizabeth, Elspeth, Betsy, and Bess

I briefly considered writing a post about sauces but my research gave me a headache. I will tell you that many French sauces have geographical names (Hollandaise, Lyonnaise, Bordelaise, Bourgignonne) , but even though a few English sauces have geographical names (Worcestershire, Oxford, Yorkshire) it is far more common among the English to refer to sauces as white, red, green, brown, and so forth.

Be that as it may, a family friend told us the other day that one of her great-great-grandmothers was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian and that someone else who had “done the research” had told her that her family were direct descendants of Queen Elizabeth.

Whoa! Wait just a minute, Nellie (not her name) . I, being the sort of fool who always rushes in where angels fear to tread, immediately mentioned that Queen Elizabeth was (a) known as The Virgin Queen, (b) never married, and (c) didn’t have any children. This bit of information didn’t faze my friend, however. She ended this particular thread of conversation by replying, “Well, I don’t know about any of that, but there was more than one Queen Elizabeth.”

Of course there was. Queen Elizabeth One and Queen Elizabeth Two. But she couldn’t have meant the current one, could she, and now be claiming to be a Mountbatten-Windsor?


This particular conversation spurred me on to do some research of my own, and my friend is absolutely correct. There have been a whole slew slough passel bunch of Queen Elizabeths or Queens Elizabeth or whatever they should be called. So I thought I would make today’s post about them.

In no particular order, they are:

*Elizabeth I of England (1533–1603) , last Tudor monarch over England, reigned 1558–1603
*Elizabeth II (born 1926) of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms, reigning since 1952
*Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1900–2002) , queen consort of King George VI, queen dowager and queen mother of the United Kingdom, born Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
*Elizabeth Woodville (1437–1492) , queen consort, queen dowager and queen mother of England
*Elizabeth of York (1466–1503) , queen consort of England
*Elizabeth de Burgh (1289–1327) , queen consort of Scotland
*Elisabeth of Bavaria (1876–1965) , queen consort, queen dowager and queen mother of the Belgians
*Elizabeth the Cuman (1239/1240–1290) , queen consort and regent of Hungary
*Elizabeth of Sicily, Queen of Hungary (1261–1303) , queen consort of Hungary
*Elisabeth of Bohemia (1292–1330) , queen consort of Bohemia
*Elisabeth Richeza of Poland (1286–1335) , queen consort of Bohemia and Poland
*Elizabeth of Poland, Queen of Hungary (1305–1380) , queen consort of Hungary, regent of Poland
*Elizabeth of Bosnia (1340–1387) , queen consort and queen dowager of Hungary and Poland, queen mother of Hungary
*Elizabeth Granowska (c. 1372–1420) , queen consort of Poland
*Elisabeth of Habsburg (1436–1505) , queen consort, queen dowager and queen mother of Poland
*Elizabeth of Austria (1526–1545) , queen consort of Poland
*Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia (1596–1662) , the "Winter Queen", briefly queen consort of Bohemia, wife of Frederick V, Elector Palatine
*Elisabeth of Bavaria (1837–1898) , queen consort of Hungary, Croatia, and Bohemia
*Elizabeth of Holstein-Rendsburg (c. 1300-before 1340) , junior queen consort of Denmark, wife of Eric Christoffersen
*Elisabeth of Bavaria-Ingolstadt (c. 1370–1435) , queen consort of France
*Elisabeth of Austria, Queen of France (1554–1592) , queen consort of France
*Elisabeth of Bavaria, Queen of Germany (c. 1227–1273) , queen consort of Germany, Jerusalem and Sicily
*Elizabeth of Carinthia, Queen of Germany (c. 1262–1312) , queen consort of Germany
*Elizabeth of Pomerania (1347–1393) , queen consort and queen dowager of the Romans, Bohemia, Italy and Burgundy
*Elisabeth of Nuremberg (1358–1411) , queen consort of the Romans
*Elizabeth of Luxembourg (1409–1442) , queen consort of the Romans, Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia
*Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern (1715–1797) , queen consort and queen dowager of Prussia
*Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria (1801–1873) , queen consort of Prussia
*Elisabeth of Romania (1894–1956) , queen consort of the Hellenes (Greece)
*Elizabeth Kaʻahumanu (c. 1768–1832) , queen consort and queen regent of Hawaiʻi
*Elizabeth Kīnaʻu (c. 1805–1839) , queen consort, queen regent and dowager queen of Hawaiʻi
*Elisiv of Kiev (1025-c. 1067) , also known as Elisaveta Yaroslavna, queen consort of Norway
*Elisabeth of Wied (1843–1916) , queen consort and queen dowager of Romania
*Elisabeth Therese of Lorraine (1711–1741) , queen consort of Sardinia, Cyprus, Jerusalem and Armenia
*Elizabeth of Hungary, Queen of Serbia (1255–1313) , queen consort of Serbia
*Elizabeth of Carinthia, Queen of Sicily (1298–1352) , queen consort and regent of Sicily
*Elisabeth of France (1602–1644) , queen consort of Spain and Portugal
*Elisabeth of Swabia (1203–1235) , also known as Beatrice of Swabia, queen consort of Castile and León
*Elizabeth of Aragon (1271–1336) , queen consort, queen dowager and queen mother of Portugal, also known as Saint Elizabeth of Portugal
*Elisabeth of Valois (1545–1568) , queen consort of Spain
*Elisabeth Farnese (1692–1766) , queen consort, queen dowager and queen mother of Spain

Forty-one in all. It would have been just perfect if there had been 42. Which one of those my friend is related to I will let her figure out on her own.

There are also a couple of fictional Queen Elizabeths or Queens Elizabeth or whatever they should be called, and I don’t want to leave them out:

*Elizabeth III of the House of Winton, monarch of the Star Kingdom of Manticore, in David Weber’s Honorverse books
*Elizabeth X, aka “Liz 10”, fictional queen of Starship UK in the Doctor Who episodes “The Beast Below” and “The Pandorica Opens”

As Paul Harvey used to say on the radio, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

Fittingly, I end today’s post with a riddle in the form of a nursery rhyme from Mother Goose:

Elizabeth, Elspeth, Betsy, and Bess,
They all went together to seek a bird’s nest;
They found a bird’s nest with five eggs in,
They all took one, and left four in.


  1. I wonder who had “done the research” for your family friend Nellie. Perhaps the janitor at the family research centre or maybe the guy who cleans the drains. Having done a little research of my own I discover that Nellie is in fact a direct descendant of Miss Sara Flanagan who was a "lady of the night" in Baltimore in the 1860's and being in an inebriated state was trodden to death by a horse ridden wildly by a former Union soldier and renowned womaniser called Captain Nathaniel H. Brague. Was he a relation of yours?

  2. Many of those Elizabeth's married men of the same name too (often Georges or Henrys). And produced offspring with the same names.
    So very confusing for those of us with no head for dates...

  3. I love the breadth of topic on your blogs.
    And brown sauce is my favourite in England (although a good Bearnaise or Dianne works for me too....)

  4. Hmm ~ I wonder what the collective noun is for a group of queens ~ perhaps a castle of queens?

  5. Yorkshire Pudding, I told you Nellie was not her real name, so your research seems to have been little more than a wild goose chase with nefarious intentions. As a matter of fact, Captain Nathaniel H. Brague, my illustrious forbear, received the Croix de Guerre for his meritorious service and exploits in North Africa by the French Foreign Legion during the Boer War.

    Sue (Elephant's Child), I noticed that tendency myself. It's almost as if they want us to be confused.

    susan in new zealand, thank you for the very nice compliment. Your own blogs are certainly a pleasure to read.

    Carol in Cairns (in Far North Queensland), that's perfect! A castle of queens! I have no idea what the correct answer is although my less than politically correct side is dying to say downtown San Francisco.

  6. I always seem late to the party. I shall go with cheese sauce (can I have asparagus under mine, please?) and the only queen around here is me, Queen of Doylesville. No need to bow, a simple wave as you pass by will be fine.