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Portraits & Dress

Shakespeare for Kids


The globe here symbolizes England's desire to build an empire. During Elizabeth's reign, explorers were sailing to new land. The country was also hoping to control some of these new places.

This globe displays Africa and South America.

The inscription over the globe reads "I see everything and much is lacking." What do you think that could mean?



Queen Elizabeth wore many jewels on her clothing and in her hair. The richness of her dress shows the wealth of the country she leads.

Elizabeth received many jewels as gifts. One of her suitors, the duc d'Alencon, gave her a little gold flower with a frog on it. She called him her "frog," because she thought he looked a little bit like a frog.

Do you have cute nicknames for your friends or siblings?


Coat of Arms

Elizabeth I's coat of arms is shown in the upper rigth corner. It tells the viewer that this is a portrait of Elizabeth.

Do you see the English Royal Lion and the Welsh Dragon?


These symbols are in the coat of arms because Elizabeth was the queen of England and Wales.


What creature represents the United States?



Queen Elizabeth is always shown wearing a ruff around her neck.


The ruff was fashionable in Elizabeth's day, but the queen proclaimed that the people of England should not wear large ruffs.


Would you want to wear a ruff?


Do you think it would be comfortable? 




Queen Elizabeth owned many costumes. Items of clothing were common gifts to the queen, and she owned over 1,900 pieces.


The queen is always painted wearing elaborate gowns. Her beautiful dress is a statement of her power as queen.


Some of Elizabeth's dresses were embroidered with such images as roses, suns, rainbows, and, even, ears and eyes.


Why do you think the queen had ears and eyes embroidered on her dresses?


If you were a king or queen, what would you have embroidered on your clothes?



In a classic story, a woman named Tuccia proved her chastity by carrying water in a sieve. The sieve became one of Elizabeth's favorite symbols, and she is often painted holding a sieve.


Do you see the sieve in Elizabeth's left hand?


Elizabeth became known as the Virgin Queen because she never married.

Why would Elizabeth, as the Queen of England, not want to marry?


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George Gower. The "Sieve" portrait of Elizabeth I. Oil on panel, 1579.

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