The days of a king sitting on the throne at Medieval Times castles is coming to an end.
It’s now time for queens to take control at the franchise’s various locations across North America. After 34 years of kings lording over the jousting competition, all Medieval Times are undergoing a “sea change” and transitioning to queendoms.
For those unaware of the goings-on at Medieval Times, here’s how things typically go: upon entry, customers are separated into different colour “teams” and the jousting knights wear the corresponding colour. The knights do battle on horseback while the customers consume a medieval-themed meal with their hands (for real, there are no utensils unless requested). You’re encouraged to be raucous and rude; as you eat, you cheer for your knight to claim victory.
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All of this takes place under the watchful eye of the reigning monarch, which, up until this point, has been a king.
“One Queen will reign supreme,” confirmed Cindy Wilson, the marketing and sales manager of Medieval Times Toronto. “We will be introducing the Queen at the Toronto location later this year, hopefully by summer.”
The queen has already been introduced at three American locations — Dallas, Chicago and Lyndhurst, N.J.
Toronto is the only Canadian location for Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, which was founded in 1977 in Spain and launched in North America in 1983, with the Toronto “castle” opening in 1993.
“Having a queen in charge probably sends a message,” Leigh Cordner, the creative director and writer of the show, says in a promotional video. While Cordner doesn’t directly credit the #MeToo women’s movement for the change, she says it definitely helped them push the initiative forward.
“It’s certainly a sea change for us,” she continued. “Just generally in entertainment and media, it’s a popular theme. I don’t feel like we’re jumping on a bandwagon. I think it’s certainly given us the confidence that now is the time to be able to do that.”
In a news release, the queen is described as a “firm but kind ruler, respected throughout the kingdom, who inherited the throne at the passing of her father, the previous king.”
The company says it sought to make the change to a queen after guests expressed interest in seeing women in more significant roles. Audiences can expect many other additions to the show, including new costumes, music and elaborate suits of armour.
“I think there’s probably a benefit to young women, grown women, little girls who come to the show to see this woman who’s empowered, who’s in charge,” said Cordner.
Unfortunately, notes the New York Times, female servers at Medieval Times are still known as “wenches.” One thing at a time, we suppose.
— With files from The Canadian Press