A less-royal female Medieval Times cast member in the 2016 Tournament Of Roses Parade (Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Last year the United States became tantalizingly close to electing its first female president, a defeat that has left many of us collectively licking our wounds ever since. But sometimes, we can find progressivism in surprising places: a medieval role-playing event in the suburbs of Chicago, say. The famous Medieval Times Dinner And Tournament in Schaumburg., Illinois, recently installed a reigning queen, its first female official ruler in 35 years of jousts and food with no utensils.

The Daily Herald interviewed Sara Schubring, one of the five women who will be portraying the queen. She explains, “In this new role, the queen has come forth to finally take her place on the throne and in doing so, she can also serve as a role model for women and girls of all ages.” The demand for a female ruler came from a somewhat surprising source: the Medieval Times guests themselves. “The call for a woman to be in a position of power, and not just alongside a king, has been something that our noble guests have requested,” Schubring says. Such a ruler will have the following traits, according to Schubring: “While the character will command the attention and respect of her subjects, she will do so with grace and with honor. She’s a firm, but kind ruler and is respected throughout her kingdom. She’s also quite capable of asserting herself as a strong leader when warranted.”

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The “dinner and tournament” of Medieval Times is actually a lot better than its reputation, and Cable Guy clips, would lead you to believe. Sure, it’s not exactly cheap, but the meal you eat with your hands is substantial, and you are treated to a fairly involved storyline that offers dramatic background to the numerous jousting bouts before you scream your head off for your section’s knight. The Medieval Times in Schaumburg hasn’t updated that storyline since 2012, but its new story features a queen solely at the helm for the first time.