There are a number of generic names for a Queen card: Cowgirl, Dame, Lady, Bitch, Girl, Whore, Hen, Painted Lady and Mop-Squeezer. Clearly there were some chauvinistic forces at play when these names were coined! Here are nicknames for the individual queen cards.
Queen Of Spades
1. Bedpost Queen
So named because of the sceptre she holds in the crook of her arm- it looks as bit like a bedpost!
2. Athena, Pallas Athenae
The queen of spades represents Athena, the Greek goddess of war. She’s the only armed queen in the deck… the sceptre is not only a symbol of power, it was also a medieval weapon, similar to a mace.
3. Black Maria
A variant of the trick-taking card game Hearts, or Reverse, where you have to try to avoid a trick containing the Queen of Spades. It is also a colloquial name for secure police vans with separate locked cubicles, used for the transportation of prisoners. The name is said to have come from a large and powerful black lodging-house keeper named Maria Lee, who helped constables of Boston, Massachusetts in the 1830s when they needed to escort drunks to the cells. It was popular in Britain in the 1950s-70s, but has fallen out of use.
4. Calamity Jane
Named for the markswoman of the Old West (Martha Jane Canary,
who is buried in Deadwood, SD, in 1903, next to Wild Bill Hickock), whose name some say was associated with prophecies of doom.
5. Fanny Kaplan
The Jewish-born political revolutionary Fanny Kaplan was shot at the age of 28 for an attempted assassination of Vladimir Lenin. She approached the Leader near a Moscow factory and fired three shots at him. One passed through Lenin’s coat, the other two hit him in the left shoulder and jaw. Lenin survived, but his health never fully recovered from the attack and it is believed the shooting contributed to the strokes that incapacitated and later killed him. She was executed two days later. Fanny’s implication in the assassination attempt has been doubted in recent years, but she continues to be considered a woman of mystery and death- hence the name.
Queen of Clubs
Anagram of Regina, latin for “queen”
Queen of Hearts
From the 1650s when French cards portrayed the Queen of Hearts as Judith from the Bible. This depiction of Judith was to convey the attribute of courage. In the Bible Judith killed and beheaded the Assyrian General Holofernes (painting of this by Caravaggio)
8. Helen of Troy
In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy (in Greek, Ἑλένη, Helénē), also known as Helen of Sparta, was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. Her abduction by Paris brought about the Trojan War.
The Queen of Hearts has been adopted as a nickname for some particularly beloved royals. Princess Diana of Wales (1961-1997) once remarked that she would “like to be known as the queen of people’s hearts,” and was thereafter referred to as the Queen of Hearts in many newspapers’ headlines. When she died in a tragic car accident, there was a great outpouring of national mourning in the UK and beyond.
Queen of Diamonds
As for the queen of Diamonds, no special personality seems to have been favoured in the 14th and 15th centuries, except in France, where the queen was labeled Penthisilea (the queen of the Amazons in Greek mythology). But in the 16th century, one heroine became almost universally adopted; Rachel, Jacob’s love in the romantic Bible story after he saw het at a well while he tended sheep. Since Rachel was, arguably, mean and grasping, her adoption as queen of the “money” suit, diamonds, seems reasonable enough –as does the motto that the French often printed on her card: Vivent les bons enfants qui jouent souvent (long live the good folk who play often). If you burn the Queen of Diamonds it’s said that you are showing that you are so wealthy (or lucky at cards) that you are flying in the face of poverty!