Andy Warhol’s Reigning Queens complete portfolio includes portraits of four figures: Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands and Queen Ntombi Twala of Swaziland. Warhol depicts these four female monarchs in their own right, as powerful matriarchs, rather than as women who were married to a king. Warhol also did another series of Reigning Queens (Royal Edition), in which the images were accented with diamond dust.
In addition to his obvious love of celebrity in the traditional sense, Warhol was obsessed with political leaders as well. In addition to the Reigning Queens series, Warhol produced images of figures such as John F. Kennedy, Vladimir Lenin, and Mao Zedong.
Andy Warhol created the Reigning Queens complete portfolio during the mid-1980s, in the last years of his life and arguably most prolific period. During this time, Warhol was forming bonds with a number of younger artists in the New York art scene including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel and David Salle. Warhol saw a re-emergence of critical and financial success during this period of his life, in which he focused on different forms of celebrity. In this case, that included four powerful rulers that he felt personified his interest in fame. The Reigning Queens complete portfolio includes FS II.334-349.