News / Toronto

Toronto Medieval Times will crown first Queen in 2018

The 34-year-old family attraction makes a small step for gender equality. No word on whether she's paid as much as the kings.

Allyssa O'Donell, 26, of Chicago is one of the first queens to be crowned at a Medieval Times. Toronto is getting its own queen in 2018.

Contributed

Allyssa O'Donell, 26, of Chicago is one of the first queens to be crowned at a Medieval Times. Toronto is getting its own queen in 2018.

Move over Meghan Markle: Toronto is getting a new royal lady — and this one will be on a horse.

The city’s favourite forkless theatre/restaurant/jousting tournament, Medieval Times, will get its first queen at the helm some time in 2018, spokeswoman Cindy Wilson confirmed.

The company rolls out new shows, with new plots and characters, to its nine North American “castles” every few years. The new feature, called Sovereign, is the very first in its 34-year history with a female lead.  

Actor Allyssa O’Donnell, 26, is one of the inaugural queens at the Medieval Times near Chicago.

After four years as a princess, she has ascended to the throne — a sacred role that includes more lines, the power to conduct knighting ceremonies and, for the first time, performing on horseback. She started riding lessons in September.

"It’s been wonderful," O'Donnell said. "I’m so happy that we listened to the people who have been ready for a queen in charge."

The character is "a political leader as well as a figurehead. She can make choices," O'Donnell said.

She advises whoever is cast as queen in Toronto to not be nervous: "Be confident. Let your heart show through. Let your kindness and your strength show through."

The next frontier for women across the Medieval Times kingdom is knighthood. The company has yet to cast women in these demanding roles, which require "stage combat" on horseback. It's for logistical, not gender reasons, writer and director Leigh Cordner has stated.

"We haven't gotten to that point yet," he told NorthJersey.com. "What happens when we get into that is the number of people required to cover a position."

O'Donnell didn't want to say much about the issue of women knights, other than she's sure the company is not against it but is just focusing on the current show. But she said she "would love to see it."

She wouldn't comment on whether there will be pay equity between kings and queens.

For now, she's happy to be setting a great example.

"It’s been important to show all the little girls and little boys that women can do anything a man can do," she said. "It’s important and very timely. I think that our world is ready to see women in leadership."

More on Metronews.ca