Was Queen Elizabeth A Drag Queen In Disguise?

Cate Blanchett owning every inch of the runway as Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth is one of England’s fiercest and most beloved monarchs—a friend to Shakespeare who fended off the Spanish and championed Protestantism. But now a theory is circulating that Good Queen Bess was actually a man in drag. And they want to dig up her tired old bones in Westminster Abbey to check.

Oh, the shade of it all!

According to a controversial new book, Elizabeth actually died at the tender age of 10, even as her father was coming to pay her a visit at Bisley Manor in Gloucestershire. Fearful they’d face a torturous execution, her governess and guardian plotted to trick the king with a substitute Elizabeth.

But the only child of Liz’s age was a local boy, Neville, who had befriended the princess. The lad, named Neville, was outfitted in Elizabeth’s clothes. Amazingly, at least according to Steve Berry’s book, conspiracy-theory novel, The King’s Deception, the ruse worked. (Guess King Henry was too executing wives and fighting off gout to notice.) According to the account, Neville successfully impersonated the Virgin Queen, who took the throne at age 25. (It would sort of explain why she never wed or had any rugrats.)

In one famous proclamation, Elizabeth declared, “I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a King of England too.” When she finally died, there was no autopsy and Elizabeth was quietly buried along with her sister, instead of the ostentatious tomb you’d expect.

There’s a movement afoot to check the body buried in Westminster Abbey. But if it turns out the skeleton was a man’s and not the queen’s would it even matter? It’s hardly the most scandalous thing British monarchs have done. The current royal family did worse during Charles’ wedding to Diana.

What sayeth thou—Was Elizabeth really a queen of the drag sort? Voice your opinion in the comment section.


Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery