“Let Nature Paint your Beauty’s Glory”: Beauty and Cosmetics

  • Anna Riehl
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


As the epigraph above suggests, in the early modern period, beauty and queenship are intimately connected: beauty amplifies female power and, as “the Image of the Creator,” reaffirms the monarch’s divine right. In chapter 1, I demonstrated that even kings were sometimes measured by their handsomeness; the onlookers were most unforgiving to plain and unattractive queens. It was crucial, therefore, that Elizabeth create and maintain her reputation as a gorgeous queen. In addition, as this chapter will show, Elizabeth’s claim to beauty is itself validated by her presence on the throne. What emerges then is a symbiotic, codependent relationship between beauty and queenship, a relationship where challenges to one inevitably threaten the other.


Early Modern Period Ideal Beauty Feede Mine Beautiful Woman Feminine Beauty 
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  1. 36.
    Henricus Cornelius Agrippa, “The Superior Beauty of Women,” in Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex, trans, and ed. Elbert Rabil, Jr. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 50–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Anna Riehl 2010

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  • Anna Riehl

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