Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

June 12, 2009

Friday Fierceness: Would you like Ironic Quotation Marks with that, Your Highness? Edition

Filed under: Friday Fierceness — Miss Plumcake @ 3:00 pm

I am not going to pretend to have ANY objectivity when it comes to Queen Elizabeth I, because I don’t. I have an A #1 epic love on for Gloriana, history’s favorite fake virgin and that’s all there is. I’m from Virginia, I’m Anglican, I’m a mouthy broad who likes jewelry and bossing people. It’s like we’re twins.

“But Plummy”  you say “you hate all that Ren Fest nonsense, in fact you’ve written and deleted something so mean that even YOU won’t print it, even though it’s totally funny and true.”

I know! And it was REALLY mean! And yet homely girls in corsets don’t negate my great big orb-y love for Good Queen Bess. I mean aside from her overall awesomeness and the fact that she owned over 600 pairs of gloves, she FINALLY gave my beloved Church of England some morals.

The Pelican Portrait
“I have no desire to make windows into men’s souls”
(Technically in reference to the Catholic/Protestant question, but I prefer to think she just objected a pair  of Raleigh’s infamous too-tight breeches)

Hilliard, The Ermine Portrait
“My Lords, do whatever you wish. As for me, I shall do no otherwise than pleases me.”

Parliament learned the hard way you do NOT mess with a woman who has a highly trained attack ermine.

Isaac Oliver, The Rainbow Portrait
“I will have here but one mistress and no master.”

Considering this painting was done while Bitsy was in her 60’s, I’d say her mistress was Sweet Ladye Photoshoppe. Good for her.

William Scrot’s “Princess Elizabeth”
“Those who touch the sceptres of princes deserve no pity.”

I said very much the same thing once, after the girl who deflowered The One True Love Of My Life (summer 1998 edition) got kicked out of our sorority for being an actual no-fooling call girl. Also I used air quotes.

Hilliard, The Hardwick portrait
“One man with a head on his shoulders is worth a dozen without.”

Oh yeah? Well I would kill you all for a swatch of that fabric.  Actually, there’s strong evidence to suggest this painting was commissioned to commemorate the fabric itself which was a gift from the oft-married Countess of Shrewsbury.

Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Irises? Check
Daffodils? Double check


  1. Oh, swoon! Swoon, swoon, swoon! My most favorite blogger and my most favorite historical personage together in one lovely package. Be still my heart!

    I’ve had an enduring love for Good Queen Bess since I first saw the film, Elizabeth. Knowing that surely the movie must be riddled with inaccuracies, I devoured every book on her/the Tudors I could find. To this day, years later, I am just as obsessed as I was then. I made a pilgrimage to the Wren Library at Cambridge last time I was in my beloved England just to see a document she had signed. So worth it. So. Much. Love.

    Comment by teteatete — June 12, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

  2. Wow. I would not use that fabric to make jammies.

    Comment by Style Spy — June 12, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

  3. More for me! I want to do my walls in it!

    Comment by Plumcake — June 12, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

  4. I think I would just like to frame a swatch of it.
    She wasn’t really a virgin??

    Comment by Princess of the Universe — June 12, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

  5. This is awesome!! Thank You Plummy. My daughter, whose name is Elizabeth -she was named for my Grandmother, and if you ever want to do a blog about real life but not famouse Fierce Women, let me know, my family is litered with them YAY Team K!
    Anyhow, when Elizabeth was two years old, she was teetering around in a pair of my pumps, a pair of oversized for her tiny hands opera gloves and tons of “jewels” from her dress up collection and my real collection. I looked at her, as she was trying to be so grown up and pristine and said
    “My, My, You look just like Queen Elizabeth.”

    and she looked back at me, dead in the eye, with all seriousness and said

    “Mommy, I AM Queen Elizabeth.”

    And I’ll tell you, she is the most self assured now 16 year old I have ever met- I think she totally embrassed her inner Queen Elizabeth and has never looked back. We should all be that lucky.

    Comment by Kimks — June 12, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

  6. “homely girls in corsets” : Plumcake dearest, I was almost convinced that you really and truly were a drag queen engaging in one big ol’ tease of your loyal lassie readers, but once again I am convinced that you must truly be a woman. Sigh. Care to explicate?

    Comment by Rosa — June 12, 2009 @ 9:08 pm

  7. Wow, what can I say. Can I pleeeeeaaaaase have an attack ermine, pretty please?

    Comment by Icy — June 13, 2009 @ 5:53 am

  8. I wonder why the genius who designed this fabric has been lost to history?

    Comment by Christine — June 13, 2009 @ 6:53 am

  9. Plummy, darling, you will have to wrestle me for that fabric. I know you have me in terms of size, but I’m slippery and not afraid to fight dirty.

    And have I ever mentioned to you that Gloriana is quite possibly my favorite historical character of all time? Well, when I’m not convinced it’s Abigail Adams…or Elizabeth Cady Stanton…or…look, she’s one of the biggies in my personal pantheon. You can blame Glenda Jackson. I saw her in Elizabeth R when I was a kid, and then grew up to meet my beloved at Renaissance Faire.

    PS: yes, there are some not-so-pretty women in those corsets, but there are also some gorgeous women who can rock a farthingale like nobody’s business. So there.

    Comment by Twistie — June 13, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

  10. Christine, I believe it was at least designed, if not actually created, by the Countess of Shrewsbury a.k.a Bess of Hardwick who was reputedly an amazing embroiderer.

    Twistie, bring it on, short stuff. She may be your favorite historical character of all time (and well-chosen there!) but she’s MY Defender of the Faith! So THERE.

    Comment by Plumcake — June 13, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

  11. There are two theorys about the creation of this skirt, one that it was embroidered, and one that it was “stained”, an incredible technique in which colored dyes were painted onto the back of white silk velvet so that it wicked up into the pile of the velvet.

    Plumcake, if you’d like a picture of a stunning replica of this skirt, and possibly an email contact for the person who made it, contact me. My hope is that you’ll take another look at renn faires and hopefully see that there’s more to it than “homely girls in corsets”. Some faires are more about historical accuracy than others, and some of them have cast members who are dedicated scholars and historians, and are actively working to reproduce the craft of the times. Some of us have even chosen to make doing so our life’s work.

    Comment by Margo — June 13, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  12. Well, that’s annoying, my post was eaten.

    There are two theories about this skirt, one that it ws embroidered, the other that it was “stained”. “Staining” was a process in which colored dyes were painted onto the backing of white silk velvet, so that the color wicked up into the velvet’s pile.

    Plumcake, if you’d like a picture of a stunning replica of this skirt, and possibly an email contact for the person who made it, contact me.

    I do wish, though, that you could bring yourself to look past the “Ren fest nonsense” and “homely girls in corsets” to the dedicated and talented people who strive for historical accuracy in their characterization, costumes, and background knowledge. There are more of them at some faires than others, but every faire has at least a few, and if you find the right one, you can argue Anglican politics, the Oxfordian/Marlovian/Baconian controversy, or cartridge pleats versus rolled pleats till the cows come home.

    Comment by Margo — June 13, 2009 @ 2:37 pm

  13. Actually Margo, I would love to see a replica of this fabric. I would love to have this on a chair, ok, in a dress, all over my house but I do have golden retrievers and keeping them out of one room is easy…not so the whole house.

    Ren Faires are actually pretty cool. I have a degree in history and we have attended a few. Most of the people are really knowledgeable in various areas of history and craft. Once, a kind young man told my unhappy son stories about Henry VIII and Mary and Elizabeth (leaving out the very grim parts) and then made him a wooden sword like one of Henry VIII’s. The people are all very kind, and accepting.

    Comment by Christine — June 14, 2009 @ 11:12 am

  14. Margo, can you post a link to this replica of which you speak??

    Comment by Pamela — June 14, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

  15. @ Princess of the Universe

    There is a lot of speculation that she wasn’t really a virgin. I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure. There is also speculation that she had androgynous features, but I can’t remember what book I read that in (something about a chromosomal genetic disorder. Her contemporary doctors, however, said that nothing physically should prevent her from having children. But honestly, who would want to tell the Queen [and then publicly acknowledge] that God’s anointed had a flaw??).

    Anyway, my favorite quotation about Elizabeth is from her contemporary, Pope Sixtus V: “She is only a woman, only mistress of half an island, and yet she makes herself feared by Spain, by France, by the Empire, by all”. Hellz yeah.

    Comment by teteatete — June 15, 2009 @ 8:10 am

  16. Pity the homely girl in a corset, and also celebrate her, for she has undertaken to imprison her body in order to have a chance at the guy who runs Ye Olde Pickle Cart, if you know what I mean and I think you do. A corset and/or good bodice does wonders for the figure — for the girl with little to offer in the breastular region, such a garment transforms a prairie into at least a foothill, and for those of us whose cup sizes reach into the middle of the alphabet, the effect is absolutely astonishing, and strong men put down their beers and do whatever you ask them to.

    Comment by Jane — June 15, 2009 @ 8:22 am

  17. I’m off to london tonight, and hoping I can get a closer look at the painting of the fabric in person. Also, on a barley related side note, how much do love that Dorothy Sayers named her fictitious Oxford women’s college after Bess of Hardwick? A Lot.

    Comment by mywhimsey — June 15, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  18. Plummy dearest, that was magnificent. Truly.

    Comment by theDiva — June 16, 2009 @ 9:48 am

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