This week in the Middle Grade Gallery, a portrait of a queen from a fairly recent fantasy novel (the third in a series of five, so far) that borrows from our familiarity with another, English queen:
It is a skillful painting of a Castle Queen, from times long past. He can tell that it is old because she is wearing the true crown, the one that was lost many centuries ago. The queen has a sharp pointy nose and wears her hair coiled around her ears like a pair of earmuffs. Clinging to her skirts is an Aie-Aie--a horrible little creature with a ratty face, sharp claws and a long snake's tail. Its round, red eyes stare out at Silas as though it would like to bite him with its one long, needle-sharp tooth. The Queen too looks out from the painting, but she wears a lofty, disapproving expression. Her head is held high, supported by a starched ruff under her chin and her piercing eyes are reflected in the light of Silas's candle and seem to follow them everywhere.
[Me again.] Does this passage remind you of Elizabeth I, too? I looked at a lot of portraits of Elizabeth before settling on one to illustrate this post: the Ermine Portrait, attributed to William Segar (formerly, to Nicholas Hilliard), 1585; and on display at Hatfield House, one of Elizabeth's childhood residences. The "lofty, disapproving expression," along with other details of the queen's appearance described in the passage, is common to most of Elizabeth's portraits, but the Ermine is as close as they come to an Aie-Aie.
[Hint: The Queen in the novel is named Etheldredda. Please leave a comment if you recognized her, too.]