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Shakespeare for Kids
• Queen Elizabeth
Portraits & Dress

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Queen Elizabeth

Portraits & Dress

This portrait of Elizabeth is one of the Folger Shakespeare Library's most treasured works of art.


The painting shows us what the queen may have looked like. But did you know that it also tells us about her role as the ruler of England?


Click on the portrait to discover what the images symbolize.


Elizabeth dressed to be seen; her rich clothes and jewels made a statement about her power as a female ruler and about the strength of her nation. They were noticed especially by foreign visitors to court.


From Germans we hear of her "red robe interwoven with gold thread," and her "pure white satin, gold-embroidered" gown.


From a Frenchman, report of "a chain of rubies and pearls about her neck," and pearl bracelets, "six or seven rows of them."


Click on the painting to learn more about Elizabethan dress.




George Gower, The Plimpton "Sieve" portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, 1579.


Make your own ruff

What you'll need

A yard of 2-inch white adding machine tape
Thin ribbon 
A hole punch


What to do
Fold the paper accordian style at a width of approximately 2 inches. With the paper folded, punch a hole in the middle of the paper. Thread ribbon through the hole. Then, wrap ruff around your neck and tie ribbon at the back.


To make a fancier ruff

Cut the lace edges off of rectangular doilies and glue the lace down the length of the tape. Make sure glue is completely dry before folding and punching.


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