Famous 16th Century Empresses & Queens & Female Rulers

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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.
Vote for Your Favourite 16th Century Empresses & Queens & Female Rulers
 1 
Mary, Queen of Scots
(Queen of Scotland (1542 - 1567))
Mary, Queen of Scots
17
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
(Queen of England (1533 – 1536))
Anne Boleyn
11
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
(Queen of England)
Elizabeth I of England
13
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
(Queen Consort of France (1547 - 1559))
Catherine de' Medici
10
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
(Former Queen of Castile and Leon (1474 - 1504))
Isabella I of Castile
7
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
(Former Queen of England & Ireland (1553 - 1558))
Mary I of England
15
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
(Forme Queen Consort of England (1486 - 1503))
Elizabeth of York
15
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
 8 
Lady Jane Grey
(Queen of England (10 July 1553 - 19 July 1553))
Lady Jane Grey
6
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
(Queen of England (1540-1541))
Catherine Howard
8
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
(Queen of England & Ireland)
Catherine Parr
6
Birthdate: 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
(Former Queen Consort of England (January 1540 - July 1540))
Anne of Cleves
5
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 
Mary Tudor, Queen of France
(Queen Consort of France from 9 October 1514 to 1 January 1515)
Mary Tudor, Queen of France
6
Birthdate: March 18, 1496
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sheen Palace, London, England
Died: June 25, 1533

Mary Tudor, Queen of France was an English princess who served as the Queen consort of France from 9 October 1514 to 1 January 1515. She was the third wife of Louis XII, who was 30 years her senior. After his death, Mary married Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Her life and career have inspired several historical fiction novels.

 13 
Margaret Tudor
(Queen Consort of Scotland)
Margaret Tudor
6
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.
 14 
Hausa Queen Amina
(Queen of Nigeria)
Hausa Queen Amina
5
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 
Kösem Sultan
(Ottoman sultana)
Kösem Sultan
5
Birthdate: 1589 AD
Birthplace: Tinos, Republic of Venice (currently the territory of Greece)
Died: September 2, 1651
 16 
Hurrem Sultan
4
Birthdate: 1502 AD
Birthplace: Rohatyn, Ukraine
Died: April 15, 1558
 17 
Mary of Guise
(Queen consort of Scotland (1538-42))
Mary of Guise
4
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.
 18 
Marie de' Medici
(Queen of France and Navarre (1600-10))
Marie de' Medici
4
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
(Queen Consort of France (1589 - 1599), Queen Consort of Navarre (1572 - 1599))
Margaret of Valois
4
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 
Mariam-uz-Zamani
(Akbar's Third Wife)
Mariam-uz-Zamani
4
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.

 21 
Anne of Denmark
(Queen Consort of England and Ireland (1603 - 1619))
Anne of Denmark
5
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.

 22 
Elisabeth of Valois
(Wife of King Philip II of Spain and Former Queen Consort of Spain (1559 - 1568))
Elisabeth of Valois
3
Birthdate: April 2, 1545
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Fontainebleau, France
Died: October 3, 1568
 23 
Claude of France
(French Princess and Former Duchess Consort of Lorraine (1559 - 1575))
Claude of France
3
Birthdate: November 12, 1547
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fontainebleau, France
Died: February 21, 1575
 24 
Nur Jahan
(Mughal Emperor Jahangir's Wife Who Exerted Immense Political Influence)
Nur Jahan
0
Birthdate: 1577 AD
Birthplace: Kandahar, Afghanistan
Died: December 17, 1645

Mughal empress and the 20th wife of Emperor Jahangir, Nur Jahan is remembered for her political influence. Though nothing concrete is known about her childhood, it is known that she was initially married to Mughal official Sher Afgan Khan who died in a battle. Jahangir’s reckless lifestyle made her dominate the political scene.

 25 
Catherine of Aragon
(Queen Consort of England (1509 - 1533))
Catherine of Aragon
7
Birthdate: December 16, 1485
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: 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 
Claude of France
3
Birthdate: October 13, 1499
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Romorantin-Lanthenay
Died: July 20, 1524
 27 
Margaret of York
(Politician)
Margaret of York
3
Birthdate: May 3, 1446
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom
Died: November 23, 1503
 28 
Nurbanu Sultan
(Sultan Selim II)
Nurbanu Sultan
5
Birthdate: 1525 AD
Died: December 7, 1583
 29 
Anne of Brittany
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1477
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nantes, France
Died: January 9, 1514
 30 
Isabella of Portugal
(Former Holy Roman Empress (1530 - 1539))
Isabella of Portugal
3
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
(Empress)
Nur Jahan
3
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 
Eleanor of Austria
(Queen consort)
Eleanor of Austria
3
Birthdate: November 15, 1498
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Leuven, Belgium
Died: February 25, 1558
 33 
Anna Jagiellon
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1523
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland
Died: September 9, 1596
Anna of Austria, Queen of Spain
3
Birthdate: November 2, 1549
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cigales DO, Spain
Died: October 26, 1580
 35 
Jeanne d'Albret
4
Birthdate: November 16, 1528
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
Died: June 9, 1572
 36 
Madeleine of Valois
3
Birthdate: August 10, 1520
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just out of Paris, France
Died: July 7, 1537
 37 
Bona Sforza
(Queen of Poland Grand Duchess of Lithuania (18 April 1518 – 1 April 1548))
Bona Sforza
2
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.

Maria of Aragon, Queen of Portugal
4
Birthdate: June 29, 1482
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Córdoba, Spain
Died: March 7, 1517
 39 
Isabella of Austria
2
Birthdate: July 18, 1501
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: January 19, 1526
 40 
Louise of Lorraine
2
Birthdate: April 30, 1553
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nomeny, France
Died: January 29, 1601
 41 
Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal
(Queen of Portugal as wife of King John III)
Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal
0
Birthdate: January 14, 1507
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Torquemada, Spain
Died: February 12, 1578
 42 
Margarita of Austria
(Queen consort of Spain and Portugal)
Margarita of Austria
2
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.

 43 
Rani Durgavati
3
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
2
Birthdate: 1488 AD
Birthplace: Foix, France
Died: October 15, 1536
 45 
Mary of Hungary
2
Birthdate: August 18, 1505
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brussels, Habsburg Netherlands
Maria of Austria, Holy Roman Empress
2
Birthdate: June 21, 1528
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: February 26, 1603
Anne of Bohemia and Hungary
2
Birthdate: July 23, 1503
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buda, Hungary
Died: January 27, 1547
 48 
Irina Godunova
2
Birthdate: 1557 AD
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: October 27, 1603

Irina Godunova was a Tsaritsa of Russia who reigned from 1584 to 1598. In 1598, after the death of her husband Feodor I of Russia, Irina Godunova served as de facto autocrat for nine days.

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.

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