Girl Genius
Girl Genius

"It is not magic—and, for Heaven's sake, don't call it that in front of Albia. Everything she does is subject to the laws of nature. Hers is a science so advanced it merely seems like—"
Gilgamesh Wulfenbach (actually, his father's overlay speaking through him)

Albia, Her Undying Majesty, Her Britannic Majesty,[1] is the current and long-reigning Queen of England, and is also one of the very few surviving Ancient God-Queens.

Appearance and Abilities[]

Despite occasional mentions of Albia in the strip, for many years, the only visual depiction released into the wild was a rough portrait which Phil Foglio sketched for a fan. When she finally appears in person, she is a giantess with long, pale green hair and dressed in practical gardening attire who bears almost zero resemblance to the scowling, flame-haired, scantily-clad figure in the sketch. Aside from her enormous size, the only odd thing about her is a floating halo of stars surrounding her head.

Rough pencil sketch of Queen Albia of England created by Phil Foglio for a fan, well in advance of this characters appearance in the Girl Genius comic.

A rough pencil sketch of Queen Albia of England created by Phil Foglio for a fan, well in advance of her appearance in the comic.

She then immediately shows, however, that she can "compress" herself and her garments down to human size, though it is later commented she is more comfortable remaining in "giant mode." The compression process, if done too quickly, produces a great deal of heat as a byproduct. She can also casually morph her garments, jewelry, complexion, and hair (color, texture, and length) and so they reflect the current topic of discussion. (Her mismatched earrings and her halo are the only things she has retained with all of her ensembles, along with something or other displaying the British flag.) She adopts "widow's weeds" when learning a former colleague, Queen Luheia of Skifander, is now deceased, and then the bright green hair and (scanty) costume of a queen of Skifander as a tribute to her sister Queen. When talking to Agatha about her brush with the infinite (the traces of which Albia can see in Agatha's mind), Albia's general appearance changes to resembles Agatha's after she drank the Dyne water, back in Castle Heterodyne, and nearly exploded. These changes in appearance and size continue during the times Albia is present in the story. When she further becomes Sparkily excited, her hair flames up as in the sketch. Her throne, in her garden at least, is giant-sized, and she adjusts her dimensions accordingly to use it.

As indicated by one of her titles, she is evidently also immortal and unaging; a comment by the Master of Paris (who is least two hundred years old himself at the time) reveals that she is the only (relatively human) person in Europa he is aware of who is older than he, and even he does not know the source of her longevity; it certainly isn't via a wearying mass of cybernetics like himself. It is eventually confirmed by Albia that it has been nearly 5,000 years since she saw the Mirror network go dark. (Mention is also made of "The Channel" being younger than Albia ; if the geology of the GGverse runs the same as ours, this pushes her origin-era back at least two thousand more years.)

Around the same time, it's also revealed that she is in fact what might be called a "second stage" Spark, having broken through twice at different points in her life. This second stage led to the creation of her Henge, and is what elevated her to her current status. Her radically extended lifespan does come with one drawback: She is unable to retain all of her memories in her mind, and so has created an external site for storage of them.

The nature of her sparky abilities implies that she is a spark specializing in psychology. She claims that her early contest with Witch Queen Lozz ended due to her reading of the body language of Lozz's "servants", who were actually God-Queens who did not serve Lozz at all. Two of her more notable creations are the Queen's Henge and the Queen's Memory, which "maze" and store memories, respectively. She has repeatedly implied that she can perceive abstract qualities of a person's mind simply by briefly meeting them. And her most clearly depicted visit to the madness place was inspired by the idea of "rummaging around" in the minds of Agatha Heterodyne and Gilgamesh Wulfenbach (though she also appears to have had the restraint to avoid roping Agatha into the experiment right then and there).

For a long time in the strip, exactly how far Albia's power actually extends is open to debate; before the action visits England, eyewitness Gil claims she has extremely strong control over her slowly sinking kingdom[2], but throughout Agatha's (and his) later visit to the kingdom, things keep happening which Albia does not appear to know about, and/or would presumably violently disapprove of. (The whole "sinking into the ocean" thing being one of the more prominent examples.) While she is about as far as you can get from being a trustworthy source, Lucrezia Mongfish is very knowledgeable on the subject and gloats that Albia's power-bestowing "flame" is ebbing (though in another discussion with colleagues said it was due for a resurgence soon). Following a battle between the two, an exhausted Albia reverts to a featureless unadorned gray, with only the aforementioned earrings and halo remaining. She manages to pull herself together so that only Agatha sees her in this condition. Agatha then offers (three times, which makes it official) to let Albia "harvest" the Queen-type energy she evidently has accumulated in her body. Albia warns there will be consequences, which proves to be something of an understatement- after the drainage, Agatha is left an elderly-looking wreck, and promptly collapses. She recovers from the immediate obvious effects after a few days of sleep, and has another conversation with Albia, where the latter finally admits that yes, she is not as powerful and all-knowing as she has been presented, and her Flame is indeed currently at a low ebb.

Diplomatic Matters[]

In the distant past, Albia was a member of a world-wide society of similar God-Queens who interacted via the aforementioned Mirrors; this golden age was cast down in a murderous rampage by Lucrezia; how that worthy accomplished this assault (or was even in a position to launch it in the first place) remains a very large unanswered question.

It is likely that 300 years ago Albia successfully weathered an attempt by a cabal of rebellious nobles aimed at unseating her, though the description of this event refers to "the throne" of England being targeted rather than Albia specifically.

When the story begins, she is not beholden to Baron Wulfenbach, and is powerful enough to resist him.[3] While the issue is yet to be discussed in the comic, according to the Girl Genius print novels, when the newly-reappeared Baron was securing Europa against the Revenants and various battling Sparks, he was often assisted by Britain and Queen Albia, but as his empire grew, his and Albia's commercial and imperial interests began to butt heads (not to mention the strong Sparkish tendency to seek hierarchical control), leading eventually to an estrangement. Knowing how devastating a war between the two empires would be, the diplomatic corps of both countries are reported to have strained mightily to keep relations from deteriorating into open conflict. When Gil assumes control of the Wulfenbach empire, she is among many who notice him behaving erratically due to the mental implant Klaus stuck in his head.

When Agatha and her retinue arrive in England (and Londinium specifically), Albia is quick to meet with Agatha and Zeetha; and find out all the information they have on subjects of interest, and share some information as well. She also offers Agatha the chance to stay in England as long as she wants and work on her research in regards to freeing Mechanicsburg from Klaus's time-bubble, assigning her laboratory space with the Queen's Society of Sparks and carefully choosing Hadrian Rakethorn as her assistant. However, as soon as Agatha is out of earshot, Albia reveals that she intends to lure Agatha and Zeetha into becoming technically-willing and permanent residents in her "garden"; this is thought to mean something of vaster scale than the literal greenspace where Albia is first introduced, but nevertheless a defined area where Her Majesty collects and cultivates interesting specimens. Gil and Tarvek (also visitors to her kingdom at the time) are specifically not included in this plan, and when a convenient Polar Ice Lord invasion erupts, she is quick to dispatch both men back to the Continent with a fleet of British airships. Eventually, however, confronted by the twin threats of Lucrezia and the Lords while personally weakened, Albia gives up on the idea of keeping Agatha in England, and prepares to send her back to the mainland as well.

When Krosp follows Agatha to England with his liberated creator Dimitri Vapnoople, Albia is at first adamant that, due his past Sparky crimes involving animal constructs (which led to open warfare between her and the Great Cetaceans), the man will not be granted sanctuary in her country, but relents upon seeing his current diminished mental state.

Friends and Relations[]

As noted, Albia is aware of the existence of Skifander, but because she only communicated with Luheia via a long-dormant Mirror, she does not know its location. (Or so she claims to prospective garden-inhabitant Zeetha...)

Ardsley Wooster and Hadrian Rakethorn are intelligence agents who may or may not directly report to her. Adventure-book heroine Trelawney Thorpe definitely does, and is trusted with some of her most important secrets. In particular, she has all but admitted that she was not only assigned to distract Gil during his first visit to England, but ideally to seduce him and procure a permanent alliance with the Wulfenbach empire. Ms. Thorpe is also able to summon or channel Albia in some fashion, with Her Majesty taking over her body and displaying her (evidently) full range of powers; this connection is physically damaging to Trelawney, and cannot be maintained indefinitely.

Countess Marie claims to be a third cousin of the Queen, "many times removed, of course."[4]

Albia does have heirs; we first meet three very different looking young ladies who refer to Albia as their mother: red-haired "Rosie", dark-skinned "Neena" and an as-yet unnamed blonde gal, and then a short time later, nine more princesses of varying ages, one of whom is later addressed as Pookie by her Mother. (It's possible one of the younger ones is Princess Urania.) Since Albia obviously does not intend to ever die (and, as a God-Queen, may never have to), her daughters presumably do not expect to succeed her; no mention has yet been made of a succession plan in the event that Albia were to somehow perish. Since Albia declares Agatha is also to be treated as one of Our Royal Princesses , it is possible they are not all literally related to her by blood. Whatever their biological relationship, when Neena desperately calls out for her mother while in mortal danger on Big Rat Island, Albia is able to instantly appear on the scene in full battle mode.

Along with everything already discussed above, it has been reported that Klaus visited England in his younger pre-Empire days and that he and Albia engaged in a Tragic Doomed Romance. Klaus claims to know without a doubt that she never tampered with his mind when he was in England, despite ample opportunity.

Violetta says at one point that Albia gave "The Platonic Solid" to the Storm King, but the eyewitness Master of Paris later states that the master Spark Van Rijn constructed it. It is unknown if the mace was passed around in this fashion, if Violetta was mistaken, or if this is a mistake on the Foglios' part.

Two other giants who have appeared in the comic are Gritha Pantagruel and Galliard Prunestoggle.

Additional Bodies[]

Queen's Memory[]

The Queen's Memory is an archive of Albia's older memories. When active, they appear as translucent versions of Albia as she appeared in the relevant historical period. The exact relation between Albia proper and her memories is unclear, but they appear to act with some independent agency.


As Albia's Sacred Guardian, Miss Thorpe is able to call upon Albia for her "wisdom and power", which apparently includes her personality as well.

Possibly relevant outside information[]

  • Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom celebrated the 60th anniversary of her accession to the British throne in 2012, while the ocean liner that shares her name was retired in 2008 after forty years of service. Elizabeth II is now the longest-reigning British monarch in history. In January of 2020 her reign surpassed that of Franz Joseph I of Austria, but with her passing in September of 2022, the reign of Louis XIV of France—also known as the Sun King— remains the longest of any monarch of a major country in European history.
  • Victoria of the United Kingdom, from whom term "Victorian" is derived, was famously the longest reigning monarch in English history (until recently when the length of her reign was surpassed by that of Elizabeth II), from 1837 to her death in 1901. Twenty-six of Queen Victoria's grandchildren became rulers in Europe; therefore. she became known as The Grandmother of Europe.
  • May also be a Steampunk version of 'Gloriana' (Edmund Spenser's 'Faerie Queen' and a tribute to Elizabeth I) updated for Victoria.
  • "Albion" (Greek: Ἀλβιών) is the oldest known name of the island of Great Britain. Today, it is still sometimes used poetically to refer to the island. It is the basis of the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland, Alba.
    Gallo-Latin Albiōn (cf. Middle Irish Albbu) derives from the Proto-Celtic * Alb-i̯en-, sharing the same stem as Welsh elfydd "earth, world". Together with other toponyms such as Alpes it derives from a Proto-Indo-European root *albh- "white".
    It is often hypothesised that the Romans took it as connected with albus (white), in reference to the white cliffs of Dover and Alfred Holder's Alt-Keltischer Sprachschatz (1896) unhesitatingly translates it Weissland ("white-land") [5].
  • Albia's appearance before her second breakthrough bears a similar resemblance to depictions of the Celtic queen Boudicca or Boadicea. Her red hair matches the description of the Roman historian Cassius Dio (although he pointed out she wore a golden great Torc), and her spear is similar to that of the famous sculpture Boadicea and Her Daughters.
  • However, taking in mind her great age, animal skin clothing, curly hair, and shape, she may be based on the statues such as the Venus of Willendorf from that era when the British Isles were still connected to the mainland.
  • Given that Lady Astarte claims that Albia's memory of the Queens' Mirrors dates back to a time, "...before the [English] channel," we can deduce that Albia has been the Queen of England for at least 8,200 years and was part of a hunter gatherer culture that spanned northern Europe at the end of the last ice age. The English Channel only came into being with the submergence of Doggerland 6,200 - 6,500 years BCE as sea levels rose after the end of the Pleistocene glaciations. This means that Albia would significantly predate Boudica -- although Boudica might have inherited her spear from Albia. The present day island of Great Britain has only been continuously occupied since the end of the Younger Dryas cold period 11,500 ybp, so if Albia predates then, she must have been among the first permanent settlers there, having been born elsewhere. Of course an English monarch born outside of England is par for the course.
  • Little is known of the other constituent nations of the Union known as the "United Kingdom", or whether they exist at all. We do know that there is a Belfast though.

See also[]

Forum:Her Undying Majesty