CW's 'Reign' Finds Its Queen Elizabeth in 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Alum

Rachel Skarsten - H 2015
AP Images

Rachel Skarsten - H 2015

The CW's Reign is finally introducing Queen Elizabeth I.

The network has tapped Fifty Shades of Grey actress and Lost Girl alum Rachel Skarsten as the young queen, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Skarsten will be a series regular in Reign's previously announced third season and first appear in the upcoming season two finale.

"The character of Elizabeth, Queen of England, the only living child of Henry VIII and the murdered Anne Boleyn, looms over Mary Queen of Scots for the duration of her life," Reign exec producer Laurie McCarthy said. "Elizabeth has also, without ever stepping onto our stage, loomed over our first two seasons as a forceful and intriguing presence. I have been dying to introduce her to our characters and our audience. Because no single character understands Mary's (Adelaide Kane) unique circumstances more. No character is more of a threat to her happiness and her life. Elizabeth’s debut in the season finale is a catalyst for events in season three, when Reign will chronicle the lives, loves and tribulations of three queens: Mary, Catherine (Megan Follows) and now Elizabeth." 

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McCarthy described Skarsten's Elizabeth as a female monarch still in her 20s and early in her rule. The character is a beautiful, cunning and brave mix of opposites: a young woman hardened too soon by life’s events, but vulnerable when it comes to love. A mercenary foe riddled with compassion for her rival.

"With her introduction, our world expands: The stakes grow even more heightened as we travel to another court filled with the beauty of privilege, passion and intrigue," McCarthy said. "The wait is over. Elizabeth is here. And I’m certain our audience will welcome her into the fold."

For Skarsten, the role comes after she played Tamsin on Syfy/the U.K.'s Lost Girl and more recently portrayed Christian's assistant, Andrea, in Fifty Shades of Grey. The casting reunites her with The CW in a full-time capacity following guest roles on Beauty and the Beast and The L.A. Complex. She's repped by APA.

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