The Battle of the Queens: Queen Elizabeth I vs Queen Victoria

28 May 2022
Which of these two monarchs was the greater: Elizabeth I, who survived in a man’s world through her shrewd intelligence, religious tolerance and refusal to dilute her power by marrying? Or Victoria, who salvaged the monarchy after a succession of incompetent Georgian kings and who by embracing marriage and motherhood, set an example that our own queen and royal family have followed to this day? Join us as two celebrated historians battle it out on behalf of their chosen queen, while leading actors bring it all to life with readings from the queens’ letters, diaries and speeches.

Meet the Panel

Kate Maltby, Scholar of Elizabethan literature

Kate Maltby is best known as a national newspaper columnist, writing a weekly column for the i newspaper and broadcasting regularly on culture and politics for the BBC. She also holds a PhD in the intellectual life of Elizabeth I. She is a Senior Research Associate at Jesus College, Cambridge, and is currently working with Palgrave MacMilllan on a forthcoming monograph about Elizabeth's writing and her poetic representation as a patron of learning. As a theatre critic, she is Chair of the Critics' Circle (Drama), and she is the Deputy Chair of Index on Censorship.


Daisy Goodwin, Screenwriter and novelist

Daisy Goodwin is a writer and television producer. She is the creator of the hit ITV series Victoria and writer of Victoria: A Novel of a Young Queen. In her successful career as a television producer, she spent 10 years creating arts documentaries for the BBC and has created a number of programmes, including Grand Designs on Channel 4. She has also written two New York Times bestselling novels.






Sir Anthony Seldon, Historian

Sir Anthony Seldon, is one of Britain’s leading contemporary historians, educationalists, commentators and political authors. Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham from 2015 to 2020, he is author or editor of over 45 books on contemporary history, including the inside books on the last five Prime Ministers. He was the co-founder and first director of the Institute for Contemporary British History, is co-founder of Action for Happiness, and honorary historical adviser to 10 Downing Street for ten years. He is Deputy Chair of The Times Education Commission, a director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Chair of the National Archives Trust. He appeared on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs in 2016. For the last fifteen years he has given his money from writing and lecturing to charity.


Kate O’Flynn, Actor and producer

Kate O’Flynn has appeared on stage at the National Theatre in productions of Port and A Taste of Honey, and in films including Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, Up There and Mr. Turner. She is currently filming a recurring role in Everyone Else Burns for Channel 4.







Greta Scacchi, Actress

Award-winning actor whose film credits include Heat and Dust, White Mischief, The Player and Presumed Innocent. In 2016, she appeared in the BBC production of War and Peace as Countess Natalya Rostova. Scacchi’s West End credits include The Entertainer, Deep Blue Sea and Uncle Vanya, and she has also appeared in Miss Julie, A Doll’s House, A Glass Menagerie, and Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. She played Queen Elisabeth I in Schiller’s Mary Stuart at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney.



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