Queen Elizabeth, like all of the women in Richard III, represents the unfair treatment of women in a power-hungry world that only sees them as a means to an end. Queen Elizabeth is left vulnerable after her husband, King Edward, dies because he was the only person who could protect her and her children from Richard and anybody else who wanted the crown. She is tragically forced to watch as Richard plots to kill her family and eliminate the line of succession, and is left to grieve her two young sons after Richard has them killed and assumes the throne.
However, Queen Elizabeth is clever. While she is aware that she cannot oppose Richard directly, she works out a plan to support his adversary. She pretends to promise her daughter Princess Elizabeth to Richard to help solidify his rule but secretly promises her instead to Richmond, who plans to marry her after he takes the throne from Richard. As a result, Queen Elizabeth also represents the ways in which women were able to subtly wield power in a male-dominated world. Queen Elizabeth may not have been able to save her sons or vanquish Richard in battle but she was able to establish the Tudor line that would rule Britain for centuries.