Netflix’s ‘The Empress’ follows the story of Elisabeth of Bavaria, who marries Emperor Franz of Austria and begins a life that introduces her to the trials of being a queen. What had started as a simple act of love becomes more complicated as the royal duties put distance between Franz and Elisabeth, with the latter becoming increasingly jaded in her life. Still, she can’t run away from her responsibilities. Slowly, she learns to embrace the challenges and becomes a beloved royal figure among the masses. If her captivating story has left you hungry for more period dramas about the queens who are known for their indomitable spirit, then we have some great shows lined up for you. Here are the TV shows similar to ‘The Empress’ that you can watch on Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and other streaming services.
7. Victoria (2016-2019)
Despite all the challenges that Elisabeth has to face in her position as the Queen of Austria, she, at least, doesn’t have the responsibility of the monarch. It is Franz who has to worry about the wars and the backstabbing and the revolution that is right outside his door. Imagine if Elisabeth had ascended the throne! How much more trouble she’d have to face. If interested in exploring this premise, then you should watch ‘Victoria’. Set in the 1800s, the show follows the story of Queen Victoria, who navigates politics, love, and betrayal while trying to run a country in a turbulent time.
6. The Spanish Princess (2019-2020)
The conflict begins in ‘The Empress’ when instead of her sister, Franz chooses Elisabeth to be his wife. This sudden change in his plans leads to a lot of problems in the future. For Catherine of Aragon in ‘The Spanish Princess’, the sudden change in plans for her marriage also leads to events that alter the course of history. A teenage Catherine was betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales. They had exchanged correspondence over the years, but when Catherine finally arrives in England to meet her future husband, she discovers that the letters were actually being written by his younger brother, Henry. Catherine loathes Henry, but when Arthur suddenly dies, she has to make sure that she marries the new king and becomes the queen.
5. Becoming Elizabeth (2022-)
At a very young age, Elisabeth is married to the King of Austria. She is young and naive and barely understands the politics of the place that is now her home. Danger lurks at every corner and everyone tries to use Elisabeth to further their own cause. We find a similar thing happening in ‘Becoming Elizabeth’. The show follows the early years of Queen Elizabeth I, an orphaned teenager who is thrown into the middle of political turmoil after her father’s death. As her younger brother is crowned king, people in the court try to use her and her half-sister, Princess Mary, to gain political standing in the court.
4. Empress Ki (2013)
When Elisabeth comes to Austria, she feels like an outsider. She married for love, but her new position as the queen also levies more responsibilities on her, which she is not prepared to handle. And yet, as she spends more time amongst the Austrian royalty, she not only learns the game she needs to play but also becomes a favorite of the masses. Netflix’s ‘Empress Ki’ also follows a similar story. Unlike Elisabeth, it begins with a woman who was not born into royalty, making her even more of an outsider. Born in Korea, Ki Nyang eventually finds herself becoming the empress of the Yuan dynasty in China.
3. The White Queen (2013)
‘The Empress’ is set during the reign of King Franz when Austria is on the brink of war. There is a possibility of an uprising from the commoners, and at this time, a calculated political marriage would make things easier for the king. Despite everyone’s wishes, Franz marries for love, which further escalates the situation. ‘The White Queen’ begins in a similar fashion. Set in 1464, it follows the reign of Edward IV whose marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner, throws the English court into a state of disarray as everyone tries to get the throne for themselves.
2. The Serpent Queen (2022-)
When Elisabeth arrives in Austria, she is a doe-eyed teenager who doesn’t care about court politics. She falls in love at first sight with Franz and despite being warned that she has no idea what she’s getting herself into, she marries him. In ‘The Serpent Queen’, we find a young Catherine in a similar situation with her husband. She is betrothed to a young Henry, and she immediately falls in love with him. Unlike Elisabeth, her feelings are not reciprocated and she falls deeper into the grimy scene of French politics, eventually carving a place of her own.
1. The Great (2020-)
One of the things that separate Elisabeth from the other royals is that she connects with the masses. When she discovers how grim their situation is, she tries to do something about it, but her pleas go unheeded. When young Catherine finds her subjects in the same situation and realizes that no one is doing anything about it, she makes a radical move. In ‘The Great’, we follow a steel-nerved Catherine, who plots to usurp her husband Peter III, so that in her hands, Russia can become the great country it was meant to be.