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A queen reigns — finally! — at Medieval Times in Arundel Mills

Amy Parochetti as Queen Dona Maria Isabella, billed as the first female ruler at Medieval Times.
Amy Parochetti as Queen Dona Maria Isabella, billed as the first female ruler at Medieval Times. (SCOTT HARBEN / HANDOUT)

After more than three decades of male rule, the combatants at Medieval Times will finally be under the eye of a female monarch.

When the knights, horses, falconers and other players take to the field at Medieval Times’ Arundel Mills location tonight, actor Amy Parochetti will be playing Queen Doña Maria Isabella, the ruler everyone is anxious to please.

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This marks the first time since Medieval Times’ founding in 1983 that a queen will be in charge of the proceedings, said Tim Baker, director of stunts and choreography for the show. Medieval Times has nine locations nationwide; a 10th will be opening near Phoenix, Ariz., in late spring.

Medieval Times may be known for its knights who joust and duel in the show, but those behind the scenes say it’s the horses and falcon who work the hardest in all the land.

At a preview show, Baker said, “The women were empowered, and they were digging it, That’s what we were going for.”

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While the change at first blush might seem a nod to the #MeToo movement and the current climate encouraging female empowerment, Baker said the move had been in the works for about two years. It’s more about giving the show a different look, he said, than anything to do with current events.

“We have a tremendous amount of repeat business, people who keep coming back, and are very loyal to us,” Baker said. “We want to take care of them and keep the show as fresh as we can.”

Places like Maryland Renaissance Festival and Medieval Times — both riddled with knights in shining armor, royal flourishes and hearty eats — allow residents to travel back for some olde time fun, while competitions for ring jousting, established as the official state sport in 1962, put a modern spin on the time period.

Nate Thompson, general manager of the Arundel Mills location in Hanover, said in a release that he was “thrilled to be a part of history in watching the first female take the throne.”

Queen Doña Maria Isabella, according to the people who created her, is a “firm but kind ruler, respected throughout the kingdom, who inherited the throne at the passing of her father, the previous king.”

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