Elizabeth I As Never Seen Before!

Careworn image of Elizabeth may have been suppressed

02.14.13 5:00 PM ET

Courtesy of the Elizabethan Gardens, Ray Matthews; Photographer

Artist unknown--but long attributed to the school of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (ca. 1561/62-1636). Elizabeth I (1533-1603), oil on oak panels, ca. 1593. Courtesy of the Elizabethan Gardens, Manteo, North Carolina.

Cate Blanchett she 'aint.

But this warts-and-all painting of Queen Elizabeth I, depicting her with facial wrinkles, is being exhibited at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, after being newly authenticated as the real deal.

Its only marginally less flattering than Kate's new pic.

According to The Telegraph it was produced "by the studio of Gheeraerts in the early-mid 1590s."

The painting is now owned by the Elizabethan Gardens in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Thomas Herron, an author and English professor at East Carolina University, noted that the reason for the portrait’s obscurity may lie in Elizabeth’s efforts to control her image.