Famous 16th Century Empresses & Queens & Female Rulers

Find out more about the greatest 16th Century Empresses & Queens, including Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I of England, Mary I of England, Catherine Parr and Anne Boleyn.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots
15
Famous As: Queen of Scotland
Birthdate: December 8, 1542
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow, Scotland
Died: February 8, 1587

Mary, Queen of Scots was the ruler of Scotland till 24 July 1567. After an uprising against her, Mary sought protection from her first cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. However, the Queen perceived her as a threat and kept Mary in confinement for eighteen and a half years. Ultimately Mary was beheaded for plotting to assassinate the Queen.

 2 Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn
8
Famous As: Queen of England (1533 – 1536)
Birthdate: 1507 AD
Birthplace: Hever Castle, Kent, England
Died: May 19, 1536

The queen of England from 1533 to 1536, Anne Boleyn played an important role in the political and religious upheaval that led to the beginning of the English Reformation. She is widely regarded as the most important and influential queen consort of England. She was charged with adultery, incest, and treason and was executed by beheading in 1536.

 3 Elizabeth I of England

Elizabeth I of England
13
Famous As: Queen of England
Birthdate: September 7, 1533
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Palace of Placentia
Died: March 24, 1603
Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, ruled as the Queen of England and Ireland from 1558 to 1603. She had been declared illegitimate after her mother’s execution. Nicknamed The Virgin Queen for her unmarried status, she established an English Protestant church and served as its governor.
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 4 Catherine de' Medici

Catherine de' Medici
9
Famous As: Queen of France (1547-1559)
Birthdate: April 13, 1519
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: January 5, 1589

Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who played a key role in the political affairs of France during the rule of her sons, a period which came to be known as the age of Catherine de' Medici. Catherine is credited with saving the monarchy from deposition during the French Wars of Religion

 5 Isabella I of Castile

Isabella I of Castile
5
Famous As: Queen of Castile (1474-1504)
Birthdate: April 22, 1451
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Spain
Died: November 26, 1504
Isabella I, the 15th-century queen of Castile and Leon and the wife of Ferdinand II, was the first Queen of Spain de facto. She was named a Servant of God by the Catholic Church and reformed the government, thus reducing crimes. She also funded Christopher Columbus's voyages to the Americas.

 6 Mary I of England

Mary I of England
14
Famous As: Queen of England & Ireland
Birthdate: February 18, 1516
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Palace of Placentia, England
Died: November 17, 1558

Mary I, the queen of England from 1553-1558, is remembered as the ruler who sought to return England to the Catholic Church. She persecuted many Protestants and got nearly 300 of them burned at the stake. Most of them were common citizens. Many also died in prison and hundreds fled the country. This earned her the ignominious nickname ‘Bloody Mary’.

 7 Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth of York
15
Famous As: Queen of England (1486-1503)
Birthdate: February 11, 1466
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 11, 1503
Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV and wife of Henry VII of the Tudor Dynasty, was the queen consort of England from 1486 until 1503. She and Henry got married after Henry won at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1486, thus ending the Wars of the Roses
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 8 Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey
5
Famous As: Queen of England (10 July 1553 - 19 July 1553)
Birthdate: October 1, 1537
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Leicestershire, England
Died: February 12, 1554
Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days' Queen, was the Queen of England and Ireland from July 10 to 19, 1553. Jane, a Protestant, was nominated to the Crown, owing to Roman Catholic Mary’s opposition to the Reformed Church of England. However, Jane was deposed, convicted of high treason, and executed.

 9 Catherine Howard

Catherine Howard
7
Famous As: Queen of England (1540-1541)
Birthdate: 1521 AD
Birthplace: Lambeth, London, England
Died: February 13, 1542
Catherine Howard, England’s queen consort from 1540 until 1541, was Henry VIII’s fifth wife. She was a cousin of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. In November 1541, Catherine was stripped of the queen’s title and imprisoned. She was later beheaded on charges of adultery with her cousin Thomas Culpeper.

 10 Catherine Parr

Catherine Parr
5
Famous As: Queen of England & Ireland
Birthdate: July 31, 1512
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London
Died: September 7, 1548
Catherine Parr, the most-married English queen, was the queen of England and Ireland from 1543 to 1547, as the last wife of King Henry VIII. She influenced the passing of the 1543 Third Succession Act. She was also the first English queen to publish a book using her own name.

 11 Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves
5
Famous As: Queen of England (1540)
Birthdate: September 22, 1515
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Germany
Died: July 16, 1557

Anne of Cleves was the Queen of England for 6 months in 1540, as the fourth wife of King Henry VIII. Their unconsummated marriage deprived led to the annulment of the marriage, following which she received a settlement and came to be known as the King's Beloved Sister.

 12 Margaret Tudor

Margaret Tudor
6
Famous As: Queen Consort of Scotland
Birthdate: November 28, 1489
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Westminster Palace, London, Middlesex, Kingdom of England
Died: October 18, 1541
Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England, served as the Queen consort of Scotland, as wife of James IV, from 1503 to 1513. Following her husband’s death, she served as the regent till 1515. She was the great-grandmother of Scottish king James VI, or James I of England.

 13 Mary Tudor, Queen of France

Mary Tudor, Queen of France
5
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: March 18, 1496
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sheen Palace, London, England
Died: June 25, 1533

 14 Hausa Queen Amina

Hausa Queen Amina
5
Famous As: Queen of Nigeria
Birthdate: 1533 AD
Birthplace: Zaria, Nigeria
Died: 1610 AD

Nigerian warrior queen Amina ruled the 16th-century city-state Zazzau at a time when women leaders were hard to come by. Her 34-year-old reign saw her expanding her kingdom and developing trade routes. Some believe she was merely a mythical figure, but remnants of the walls she had built prove otherwise.

 15 Mary of Guise

Mary of Guise
4
Famous As: Queen consort of Scotland (1538-42)
Birthdate: November 22, 1515
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bar-le-Duc, France
Died: June 11, 1560
Mary of Guise, or Mary of Lorraine, was the regent of Scotland from 1554 until her death in 1542. She was the wife of King James V of Scotland and the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots. Her main objective was to maintain healthy ties between France and Scotland.

 16 Kösem Sultan

Kösem Sultan
4
Famous As: Ottoman sultana
Birthdate: 1589 AD
Birthplace: Tinos, Republic of Venice (currently the territory of Greece)
Died: September 2, 1651

 17 Hurrem Sultan

Hurrem Sultan
4
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: 1502 AD
Birthplace: Rohatyn, Ukraine
Died: April 15, 1558

 18 Marie de' Medici

Marie de' Medici
4
Famous As: Queen of France and Navarre (1600-10)
Birthdate: April 26, 1575
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: July 3, 1642
Queen Marie de Médicis, the second wife of Henry IV of France, acted as the regent for her son till he came of age. An art connoisseur, she built the Luxembourg Palace in Paris. Known for her affinity for Concino Concini, she was eventually exiled for her excesses. 

 19 Margaret of Valois

Margaret of Valois
4
Famous As: Queen consort of Navarre (1572-1599), Queen consort of France (1589-1599)
Birthdate: May 14, 1553
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
Died: March 27, 1615
Margaret of Valois, queen of Navarre and France, is remembered for her historically significant Memoirs, which throws light on major events such as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. She did not allow her husband, Henry III, to annul their childless marriage till the death of Henry’s mistress.

 20 Anne of Denmark

Anne of Denmark
5
Famous As: Queen of England and Ireland (1603-1619)
Birthdate: December 12, 1574
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Skanderborg, Denmark
Died: March 2, 1619

Often described as a "dumb blonde," Anne of Denmark, who became the queen of Scotland, England, and Ireland, through her marriage to King James VI and I, was an art connoisseur known for attending extravagant masques. She probably also converted to Catholicism later, going against James’s anti-Catholic stance.

 21 Elisabeth of Valois

Elisabeth of Valois
3
Famous As: Queen of Spain
Birthdate: April 2, 1545
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Fontainebleau, France
Died: October 3, 1568

 22 Mariam-uz-Zamani

Mariam-uz-Zamani
4
Famous As: Akbar's Third Wife
Birthdate: 1542 AD
Died: May 19, 1623

Mariam-uz-Zamani, or Jodha Bai, was the wife of Mughal emperor Akbar. She was a Hindu Rajput princess and the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber. Mariam’s marriage to Akbar signified her father’s submission to the Mughal emperor. She was symbolic of the gradual rise of multiculturalism in the Mughal era.

 23 Claude of France

Claude of France
3
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: October 13, 1499
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Romorantin-Lanthenay
Died: July 20, 1524

 24 Claude of France

Claude of France
3
Famous As: French Princess
Birthdate: November 12, 1547
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fontainebleau, France
Died: February 21, 1575

 25 Catherine of Aragon

Catherine of Aragon
7
Famous As: First Wife of King Henry VIII
Birthdate: December 16, 1485
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Archbishop's Palace of Alcalá de Henares, Alcala de Henares, Spain
Died: January 7, 1536

Catherine of Aragon was one of the most popular English royal consorts of all time. A patron of Renaissance humanism, she gained widespread admiration for starting a program for the relief of the poor. A woman who was ahead of her time, Catherine commissioned The Education of a Christian Woman, a controversial book promoting women's right to education.

 26 Margaret of York

Margaret of York
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 3, 1446
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom
Died: November 23, 1503

 27 Nur Jahan

Nur Jahan
0
Famous As: Chief wife of the Mughal emperor Jahangir
Birthdate: 1577 AD
Birthplace: Kandahar, Afghanistan
Died: December 17, 1645

 28 Anne of Brittany

Anne of Brittany
3
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: January 25, 1477
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nantes, France
Died: January 9, 1514

 29 Nurbanu Sultan

Nurbanu Sultan
5
Famous As: Sultan Selim II
Birthdate: 1525 AD
Died: December 7, 1583

 30 Isabella of Portugal

Isabella of Portugal
3
Famous As: Queen of Spain
Birthdate: October 24, 1503
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lisbon, Portugal
Died: May 1, 1539

Isabella of Portugal was Holy Roman Empress and Queen consort of Italy by her marriage to Emperor Charles V. She also served as the Queen consort of Spain, Queen of the Romans, and Lady of the Netherlands from 1526 to 1539. Due to Emperor Charles V's constant travels, she was  the regent of Spain and under her regency Spain was quite prosperous .

 31 Nur Jahan

Nur Jahan
3
Famous As: Empress
Birthdate: May 31, 1577
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kandahar, Afghanistan
Died: December 18, 1645

Nur Jahan was the chief consort of Mughal emperor Jahangir. She reigned as Badshah Begum of the empire from 1620 to 1627. Nur Jahan is often credited with influencing Jahangir's decisions for much of his reign. She is also remembered for her strength and courage and her skills in hunting ferocious tigers. Her life has inspired many books and movies.

 32 Anna Jagiellon

Anna Jagiellon
3
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: October 18, 1523
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland
Died: September 9, 1596

 33 Eleanor of Austria

Eleanor of Austria
3
Famous As: Queen consort
Birthdate: November 15, 1498
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Leuven, Belgium
Died: February 25, 1558

 34 Jeanne d'Albret

Jeanne d'Albret
4
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: November 16, 1528
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
Died: June 9, 1572

 35 Madeleine of Valois

Madeleine of Valois
3
Famous As: Princess
Birthdate: August 10, 1520
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just out of Paris, France
Died: July 7, 1537

 36 Bona Sforza

Bona Sforza
2
Famous As: Queen of Poland Grand Duchess of Lithuania (18 April 1518 – 1 April 1548)
Birthdate: February 2, 1494
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vigevano, Italy
Died: November 19, 1557

An ideal elite Renaissance woman, Bona Sforza was the queen of Poland and the wife of Sigismund I the Old. She is remembered for her fiery resistance to the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, when he suggested Bona be planted as a Habsburg spy to counter the Jagiellonian dynasty.

 37 Anna of Austria, Queen of Spain

Anna of Austria, Queen of Spain
3
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: November 2, 1549
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cigales DO, Spain
Died: October 26, 1580

 38 Maria of Aragon, Queen of Portugal

Maria of Aragon, Queen of Portugal
4
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: June 29, 1482
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Córdoba, Spain
Died: March 7, 1517

 39 Isabella of Austria

Isabella of Austria
2
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: July 18, 1501
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: January 19, 1526

 40 Louise of Lorraine

Louise of Lorraine
2
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: April 30, 1553
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nomeny, France
Died: January 29, 1601

 41 Maria Manuela, Princess of Portugal

Maria Manuela, Princess of Portugal
3
Birthdate: October 15, 1527
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Coimbra
Died: July 12, 1545

The eldest daughter of Portuguese king John III, Maria Manuela was also the first wife of Philip II of Spain, who ruled Spain, Portugal, Naples, and Sicily at various points. She died following a haemorrhage after giving birth to Carlos, Prince of Asturius, also known as Don Carlos.

 42 Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal

Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal
0
Famous As: Queen of Portugal as wife of King John III
Birthdate: January 14, 1507
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Torquemada, Spain
Died: February 12, 1578

 43 Rani Durgavati

Rani Durgavati
3
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: October 5, 1524
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kalinjar Fort
Died: June 24, 1564

Rani Durgavati reigned as the Maharani of the Gond kingdom from 1550 to 1564. She is best remembered for defending her kingdom when it was attacked by Mughal General Asaf Khan. Although she knew that the Mughal army was superior to her army, Rani Durgavati refused to surrender and took her own life in the battlefield when defeat was imminent.

 44 Germaine of Foix

Germaine of Foix
2
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: 1488 AD
Birthplace: Foix, France
Died: October 15, 1536

 45 Margarita of Austria

Margarita of Austria
2
Famous As: Queen consort of Spain and Portugal
Birthdate: December 25, 1584
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Graz, Austria
Died: October 3, 1611

The daughter of Austria’s Archduke Charles II and Mary Anna of Bavaria, Margaret of Austria Queen of Spain, later became the queen of Spain and Portugal by virtue of her marriage to King Philip III of Spain, who was also Philip II of Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia.

 46 Mary of Hungary

Mary of Hungary
2
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: August 18, 1505
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brussels, Habsburg Netherlands

 47 Maria of Austria, Holy Roman Empress

Maria of Austria, Holy Roman Empress
2
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: June 21, 1528
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: February 26, 1603

 48 Anne of Bohemia and Hungary

Anne of Bohemia and Hungary
2
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: July 23, 1503
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buda, Hungary
Died: January 27, 1547

 49 Caterina Cornaro

Caterina Cornaro
2
Famous As: Queen of Cyprus
Birthdate: November 25, 1454
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: July 10, 1510

Venetian noblewoman Caterina Cornaro ruled as the queen of Cyprus through her marriage to King James II of Cyprus. Their marriage was chiefly a political one, improving ties between Cyprus and Venice. Following James’s death, she was forced to abdicate and given the town of Asolo.

 50 Catalina Micaela of Spain

Catalina Micaela of Spain
2
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: October 10, 1567
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: November 6, 1597