Generations of royals have been schooled in the Shakespearean history that presents Elizabeth I as a 'fair vestal throned in the West', Richard II as a self-involved romantic and Richard III as a murderous hunchback.
And, in the centuries since Elizabeth, they have repeatedly 'staged' that history in support of their own legitimacy - especially at times of personal or dynastic crisis.
Watching Richard II, Queen Victoria commented on the thrill of seeing ‘her ancestors’ on the stage before her. She also tacitly endorsed the idea that she was a second Elizabeth through her patronage of the theatre.
At the same time, others found a more compelling reference point for contemporary queens in the embattled Queen Katharine of Henry VIII. Katharine's 'trial' provided ready comparative fodder for the trial of Queen Caroline, estranged wife of George IV - but also for Victoria herself.