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Women Rulers of the Early Modern Period

Queens, Empresses, Other Women Rulers 1600 - 1750



Women rulers became more common in the 17th and first half of the 18th centuries, the Early Modern period. Here are some of the more prominent women rulers -- queens, empresses -- of that period, listed in order of their birth dates.  For women born before 1600, see: Medieval Queens, Empresses, and Women Rulers

Anne of Austria

1601 - 1666

She was the daughter of Philip III of Spain and queen consort of Louis XIII of France. She ruled as regent for her son, Louis XIV. Alexander Dumas included her as a figure in Three Musketeers.

Maria Anna

1606 - 1646

Married to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III, she was politically active until her death from poisoning.

Henrietta of France

1609 - 1669

Married to Charles I of England, she was the daughter of Marie de Medici and mother of Charles II. When her son was deposed, Henrietta worked to have him restored.

Christina of Sweden

1626 - 1689

Christina of Sweden is famous -- or infamous -- for ruling Sweden (1632 - 1654) in her own right, being raised as a boy, rumors of lesbianism and an affair with an Italian cardinal, and her abdication of the Swedish throne.

Khadija Turhan

1627 - 1683

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, she was regent for her son Mehmed IV, helping defeat a plot against him.

Maria Francisca of Savoy

1646 - 1683

She married first Afonso VI of Portugal, who has physical and mental disabilities. She and the king's younger brother led a revolt that forced Afonso to give up his power. She then married the brother, who succeeded as Peter II when Afonso died. Though Maria Francisca became queen a second time, she died that same year.

Mary of Modena

1658 - 1718

Second wife of James II of Great Britain, her Roman Catholicism was not acceptable to the Whigs, who saw that James II was deposed and replaced by Mary II, his daughter by his first wife.

Mary II Stuart

1662 - 1694

Mary II was the daughter of James II of England and Scotland, and his first wife, Anne Hyde. She and her husband, William of Orange, became co-rulers, displacing her father when it was feared he'd restore Roman Catholicism. She ruled in her husband's absences but deferred to him when he was present.

Anne Stuart

1665 - 1714

She succeeded her brother-in-law, William of Orange, as ruler of Scotland and England, and was Queen at the creation of Great Britain with the Act of Union in 1707. She was married to George of Denmark, but though she was pregnant 18 times, only one child survived past infancy, and he died at age 12. Because she had no offspring to inherit the throne, her successor was George I, son of her cousin, Sophia, Electress of Hanover.

Maria Elisabeth of Austria

1680 - 1741

She was the daughter of Hapsburg Emperor Leopold I, and was appointed governor of the Netherlands. She never married. She's known for her cultural and artistic patronage.

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