This chapter considers the question: why does Elizabeth I routinely appear in depictions of Shakespeare? This fictional relationship is so commonplace that many people are astounded to discover that it is indeed fictional. In analysing two depictions of the relationship between Elizabeth and Shakespeare—Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Upstart Crow (2016–)—this chapter argues that the depiction of the relationship responds to audience expectations about Elizabethan England, dramatising the belief that Shakespeare’s intrinsic links to sixteenth-century England mean he must have enjoyed Elizabeth’s patronage. Instead, this chapter argues that these depictions ultimately end up being about Elizabeth, rather than Shakespeare: this fictional friendship is used to ‘soften’ Elizabeth—that is, to make England’s (in)famous Virgin Queen more ‘human’ and less bizarre, especially in her old age—and thereby humanise the last Tudor monarch in the eyes of the audience.