Medieval Times

Her Majesty Doña Maria Isabella does much more than just sit atop her throne and protect her land with her horseback knights.

Alexa Sedoff, who plays the reigning queen at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, meanders through the Scottsdale castle grounds as she goes through her daily routine. The queen’s day-to-day life consists of wardrobe fittings, caring for her horses, overseeing the Tournament Royal and connecting with her kingdom’s people — a role that is new to Her Royal Highness.

Sedoff, who is also the cast manager at the Scottsdale castle, has worked for Medieval Times since 2017. Since being crowned queen in 2018, she has appeared in over a thousand shows and enjoys that each performance is a unique experience, as is the work behind the scenes.

Her day begins in the wardrobe area, a room full of dresses, tunics, capes and armor that glitter under the tournament lights. She pulls out her elegant ensemble, which is fitted to her specifically — even her golden crown.

“All of our costumes are handmade in Texas at our corporate offices, where our main costume shop is,” Sedoff says. “So everything is hand-designed for this.”

After slipping into her costume, lacing up her riding boots and topping off her look with red lipstick, she has become the Queen and is ready for the next part of her day.

One of Sedoff’s favorite daily tasks is ensuring that her steed is prepared for its appearance in the arena. She can be a part of caring for and bonding with their equine entertainers, which she loves.

Walking through the stables and greeting sleek horses with names like Validor and Haoran, Sedoff explains that she carefully tacks up her steed with its reins, saddle and other gear to ensure that both horse and rider are safe to ride out into the arena.

“Whenever you get on a horse, you want to make sure that the tack is right and everything is all good to go,” she says.

Sedoff didn’t ride horses prior to her role as queen, and received lessons from the castle’s horse trainer. Medieval Times takes on people with no riding experience, and even raises its horses at its corporate office’s stables in Texas before they are trained at its castles.

The company began with two complexes in Majorca and Benidorm, Spain. In December 1983, the first North American castle lowered its drawbridge to guests in Kissimmee, Florida, and has since grown to a kingdom of 10 castles across the United States and Canada.

At each show, guests are ushered to the Grand Ceremonial Arena and seated in color-coded sections corresponding to each of the six knights. They dine on a Medieval-style, sans-silverware, four-course meal while the knights engage in a dynamic spectacle of swordplay, athleticism and horsemanship in their conquest of the title Defender of the Throne. There are also opportunities to meet the royal court.

Based upon authentic medieval history, Medieval Times follows the true story of a noble family with roots back to the 11th Century.

“She is a new queen, so she’s not experienced by all means in this role yet — her father just died and she’s now the queen of the castle, sovereign to the throne,” Sedoff says.

The Medieval Times storyline rings true to the actress.

“The way that I like to see the queen, she is very kind, she’s loving,” she says. “She’s still very much that princess type, she loves her people, so just me as the queen, I just hope that rubs off on (guests) and that they just feel welcome.”

An hour prior to the two-hour Tournament Royal, the castle doors open for a pre-show reception in the Hall of Arms. It is finally time for the Queen to make her grand appearance to her kingdom.

Flanked by her chancellor, Lord Cedric, and the master-at-arms, Lord Marshal, the queen is seated at the side of the Hall of Arms to perform knighting ceremonies, take photos and socialize with her subjects.

The queen takes her leave to prepare for the Tournament Royal when the lord marshal makes the call to table and the guests head into the arena for dinner.

She then makes her entrance into the Grand Ceremonial Arena on horseback, addressing her subjects and kicking off the tournament. Although the head knight handles most of the action in the arena, the queen helps oversee the sword fighting, jousting and medieval games of which the knights partake.

After the queen announces the knight worthy of protecting the throne, she closes the event how it began: by spending time with her kingdom’s people in the Hall of Arms before they depart.

The highlight of the queen’s job is interacting with her people, particularly the children. She adores getting to know the young ones who come to the castle and playing a part in their core memories.

Dressed in her elaborate maroon and gold dress, ornate jeweled crown and signature red lipstick, the queen has many admirers. Little boys instantly fall in love and little girls dream of one day becoming her.

Moments where the children are gazing up at her adoringly are “magical” and never cease to brighten her day.

“It’s just so rewarding,” Sedoff says. “It’s honestly one of the best things, and I just can’t get over it.”

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament

9051 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale

General admission for adults is $65.95, while children 12 and under are $38.95