- "The Queen and I—well, we've always talked of adopting a girl. If you have no objection, I would like to take Leia to Alderaan, and raise her as our daughter. She would be loved with us."
- ―Bail Organa
Breha Organa, born Breha Antilles, was a female Human who was the Queen and Minister of Education of Alderaan at the time of the Galactic Empire's formation. She was the wife of Prince Bail Organa, Viceroy and First Chairman of the Alderaan system. The couple longed for a child for many years, but Queen Breha suffered multiple miscarriages that put her own life at risk. Eventually, the Organas adopted the baby girl of the late Senator Amidala after the end of the Clone Wars. The couple raised the girl as their own daughter, the Princess Leia Organa. In the early days of the Galactic Empire, the Queen's family helped to build a rebellion against that authoritarian dictatorship. Breha Organa later perished when the Empire destroyed Alderaan by blowing it up and turned the planet into an asteroid field with the superlaser of the Death Star battlestation. Years after her passing, she was remembered as a loving mother, and a simple mention of her would still awaken a sense of patriotism in the surviving Alderaanians.
- "They grew up together. They're more like brother and sister."
- ―Bail Organa, about Breha and her cousin
Breha Antilles was born on Alderaan, one of the founding planets of the Galactic Republic at some point between 59 and 49 BBY, under the chancellorship of either Thoris Darus or Frix. A Human female of noble lineage, she was a member of the House of Antilles, one of Alderaan's most influential families. She had at least one sister, Deara Antilles, who looked much like her, although with a round face and a taller stature. She had a cousin, with whom she grew up and whom she considered a brother. She was also related to both Prince Bail Antilles and Captain Raymus Antilles, who was later entrusted with piloting the private vessel of the House of Organa, the Sundered Heart.
Queen of Alderaan
- "Don't worry, B, nothing's wrong. I just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you. I was watching the HoloNet feed from the Senate. You look tired. Are you getting enough sleep? I'll bet you're not. Go to bed, hotshot. I'll try to catch you tomorrow."
- ―Breha Organa, in a hologram message to her husband Bail during the Clone Wars
After the Alderaan Ascendancy Contention, Breha married Prince Bail Prestor Organa, and she took the mantle of Queen of Alderaan at some point before 22 BBY. During Queen Breha's wedding, the famous Alderaanian scientist Tryn Netzl acted as her groom's witness. Breha Organa also enlisted her sister, making her a royal advisor. Beyond her royal role, Queen Breha also served as her planet's Minister of Education.
Following the election of Senator Palpatine as Supreme Chancellor of the Republic in 32 BBY, Bail Organa acted as Senator of the Alderaan sector to the Galactic Senate. With her husband—whom she affectionately called "B"—serving on Coruscant, Queen Breha often spent days alone in her palace in the mountains over the capital of Aldera. An influential and busy man, Senator Organa could rarely afford long trips to his home planet. Over the same period, Breha Organa befriended Padmé Amidala, Senator and former Queen of the Mid Rim planet Naboo. The two women had many things in common, having both ruled their respective homeworlds, both of which were peaceful planets with pristine landscapes and a focus on art and philosophy. When the Clone Wars broke out in 22 BBY, Bail Organa became even more engaged in the ongoing political turmoil, and Breha would only receive lightning visits from him.
Over the years, Breha and her husband had many difficulties in producing a child and heir. The Queen had suffered at least five miscarriages, despite receiving treatment from the best fertility doctors in the Galactic Republic. After the last miscarriage in 21 BBY, her doctors informed her that another attempt to conceive would probably kill her. The Queen's husband suffered tremendously as a result of the repeated mournings, and he often attempted to drown his sorrows in alcohol under the benevolent surveillance of his friend Tryn Netzl.
That same year, the Queen's brotherly cousin, who served as a tactical officer in the Republic Navy, was killed in the destruction of his ship Bespin Dancer during a battle over Falleen. Arguing that his wife should be informed by him personally and not by an impersonal communiqué, Bail Organa broke protocol and told Queen Breha about the demise of her kinsman. Upon hearing the news, the Queen of Alderaan reacted with deep, if muted, sorrow.
Adopting the young Leia
- "No happier fate could any child ask for. With our blessing, and that of the Force, let Leia be your child."
- ―Yoda to Bail Organa
In 19 BBY, the fury of the Clone Wars ended. The three-year long conflict had left very deep wounds all over the galaxy, but the hardest part was yet to come. Chancellor Palpatine, who was in fact a powerful Sith Lord known as Darth Sidious, dismantled the Republic and replaced it with his despotic Galactic Empire. The Senator Amidala, who had been Queen Breha's friend, was among the indirect fatalities of the regime change, leaving behind her newborn twins: a boy named Luke and a girl named Leia. In reality, those children had been fathered by Anakin Skywalker, a famed Jedi Knight who had turned to the dark side. Unbeknownst to most people in the galactic community, Skywalker became the right-hand man of the Emperor Palpatine, wearing the name and heavy armor of Darth Vader.
With the blessing and sanction of the Jedi Master Yoda, Queen Breha Organa and her husband then took Leia in, committed to loving her as their own child. Through adoption, Amidala's baby girl became Leia Organa, Princess of Alderaan. Soon thereafter, when Bail's former senatorial aide Sheltay Retrac and her husband died, Breha and Bail also adopted their orphaned daughter, the infant Winter. The couple raised both girls together, although Winter was not considered royalty. A third foster child, the young Neena, was also raised in the Organa household. The new parents relied on Prince Bail's sisters Rouge, Tia, and Celly Organa to assist them in their parental work.
Despite her heavy responsibilities and status, Queen Breha was extensively involved in taking care of Leia, nicknamed Lelila, during the princess' infancy. She took time to enjoy small things with her daughter, such as picking flowers and running through the castle's grassy gardens. However, with the Galactic Empire hunting down the remaining Jedi Knights, Breha and Bail Organa feared that Leia's Force-sensitivity could be discovered, which urged them to remain on their guard. Notwithstanding the royal couple's best efforts, a very close relative eventually betrayed their trust and confidence. In 18 BBY, Breha found out that her own sister Deara Antilles had been working as a spy for Darth Vader himself. Worse still, Antilles had sought to expose Leia's Forceful reflexes to the agents of the Empire. Such a treason broke Breha Organa's heart, but she retained her trademark dignity when she confronted the culprit. For the sake of sisterly love, the Queen refused to put Deara in jail, arranging a secret passage for her and a safehouse on the remote planet Ankori-7.
During Leia and Winter's childhood, the Queen of Alderaan continued to organize formal receptions at the Palace, during which the lady guests used to wear formal yet elegant dresses. On the occasion of Princess Leia's twelfth birthday, Breha Organa was noted for wearing a tasteful red silk gown. More than a decade later, Winter—who had developed a eidetic memory—would remember that particular celebration with extreme precision. On at least one occasion, the princess went over the wall while her parents were tight asleep. However, two members of the Alderaan Guard found her at a party and escorted her back to the palace. Both the Viceroy and the Queen were awaiting their daughter on the doorstep, looking obviously discontented. In the meantime, far from the pomp and protocol of the Court, the whole House of Organa operated in secret against Palpatine's Empire. The Queen's husband Bail Organa eventually became one of the founders of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, better known as the "Rebel Alliance."
Death and legacy
- "It was night in our palace—were you awake or asleep, with Mother… or alone?"
- ―Leia Organa
In 0 BBY, the Empire chose to get rid of Alderaan as an example. With the help of the Death Star, a moon-sized superweapon that could deliver a considerable amount of firepower, the Imperial Grand Moff Tarkin blew up the peaceful planet. On a warm evening late in the spring, Breha Organa died in the destruction of her world, along with her husband and millions of her loyal subjects. A few years later, the still-grieving Leia Organa wondered whether her adopted parents were spending the night together or each on their own when the Death Star's planet-killing superlaser struck. In truth, Bail and Breha Organa had indeed been awake when the blast hit Alderaan, spending their last moments together in a close embrace.
A few months after the cataclysm, the orphaned princess used her mother's given name as an alias while dealing with Tag Rogaren, a former chief weapon systems engineer of the Empire who had taken refuge in a battered Venator-class Star Destroyer. However, being an Alderaanian himself, Rogaren saw through the Princess' lie, and he admitted having worked on the Death Star's superlaser. Four years later, when Leia Organa discovered the forests of Endor, the gargantuan trees reminded her of those "giants" among whom she had lived on Alderaan, including her mother Breha. Around 5 ABY, Leia Organa once evoked the authority of the late queen to convince the Alderaanian Tycho Celchu to let her fly with him in a B-wing starfighter. While the Princess hated trading on her dead family's station, she knew that the memory of Breha could appeal to patriotic sentiments and help her achieve her aims.
Following their reunion as brother and sister, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker tried to discover the identity of their true mother. They often sat in a Jedi meditation circle, calling on the spirits of those who might have known her. Among other persons, the twins tried to contact Bail and Breha Organa, but the spirits of Leia's foster parents did not answer their call—which Skywalker considered "a conspiracy of silence." In 29 ABY, Leia Organa acquired the painting entitled Killik Twilight, which had once hung outside her bedroom in House Organa on Alderaan. That moss painting was the last existing emotional link to her childhood with her adoptive parents.
Personality and traits
- "How dare you say that! My husband's courage fills my heart with pride. He does not bring danger to this house. He brings honor to it. You are the one who brought dishonor and danger here."
- ―Queen Breha to her sister Deara Antilles
Breha Organa was a light-skinned woman with brown eyes and black hair that she kept long, as was customary among Alderaanian adults. One of her royal outfits she wore around 19 BBY consisted of a blue metallic brocade gown with slit sleeves. When wearing that dress, she would braid a golden fabric into her hair, wrap it around her head, with the whole hairstyle covered by a blue semi-transparent veil. That silk-like shawl had two long tails in front descending to above the knees and one tail reaching above the robe's hem, and was decorated with gray leaf patterns. The gown's collar was adorned with a gold buckle-like brooch. She was faithful to that style of dress, which she still wore around the time of her death.
Despite her husband's extended absences, Breha Organa did not hold that against him. Much to the contrary, the Queen was understanding and caring, making enquiries about Bail Organa's whereabouts and health. When she was in her midthirties, she stood out as a trustworthy, peaceful woman. She was also able to maintain regal composure even in the most terrible situations of suffering. When her sister Deara was exposed as a spy, Queen Breha remained calm and rational even though her husband exhibited clear signs of anger. However, Breha Organa would not renege her blood ties, and she refused to have her sister executed or imprisoned despite the seriousness of her offence.
In private, the Queen and the Viceroy were still enamored of each other after years of marriage. Breha had a musical laugh that her husband considered sultry. She would call him "B" or "hotshot", and he would nickname her "my dove." During the dark times that followed the rise of the Empire, Breha Organa felt immensely proud of her husband because of his courageous actions against Palpatine's regime. As a child, Leia Organa perceived how intensely her adopted parents were attached to each other, and she later described them as "very much in love." A lover of the finer things, the Queen maintained a collection of braaken glass, which her husband and daughter found hideous.
Behind the scenes
- "I thought that Queen Organa might look almost exacly like Padmé, because Leia remembers seeing her mother smile."
- ―Iain McCaig
The origin of the name "Queen Breha" can be traced back to the 1974 rough draft of Star Wars, as the name given to the mother of the fourteen-year-old Princess Leia, and wife of King Kayos of Aquilae. In this 132-page early story treatment, Breha was described as "a warm, silver-haired matron." That first version of Queen Breha appears in the comic book series The Star Wars, a non-canon adaptation of George Lucas's 1974 draft for Star Wars. In that comic, the design of Queen Breha resembles a concept drawing of Princess Leia in Cloud City, originally drawn by Ralph McQuarrie for Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, and that was ultimately reused to portray Lira Wessex in the adventure book Crisis on Cloud City.
In December 2002, George Lucas informed his production staff that "Queen Organa" would appear in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, the third installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, which was in early pre–production at the time. Lucas described her as a peaceful, trustworthy woman in her midthirties. Based on those elements, illustrator Iain McCaig drew at least three conceptual artworks of the Queen. In one of them, McCaig sought to capture the spirit of his wife Leonor. In another drawing, he gave the Queen the traits of Padmé Amidala, in order to explain how Leia Organa could remember seeing the smile of her mother.
- "As a girl growing up and seeing Star Wars, of course you want to be Princess Leia. And to know that I'm actually playing her mother… I just kept thinking about those buns! I was the mother of those buns! Maybe I taught her how to do those buns!"
- ―Rebecca Jackson Mendoza, on playing Breha Organa
In 2005, Breha Organa made her first in-the-flesh appearance with the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, in which she was portrayed by the Australian actress and singer Rebecca Jackson Mendoza. Although a fan of the original trilogy, Jackson Mendoza did not immediately understand the implications of playing "the Queen of Alderaan" in the last Star Wars movie. When her brothers helped her realize she would be the surrogate mother of Leia Organa, her excitement grew. Watching the trilogy as a young girl, Rebecca Jackson Mendoza had wished she could be Princess Leia, and playing her foster mother was something of an accomplishment.
Queen Breha's only robe in the movie, which was referred to as "Alderaan Palace Dress" in Dressing a Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars, was created by Trisha Biggar, who worked as costume designer for all three prequel films. It originally consisted of a green velvet garment that Jackson Mendoza compared to a "wedding gown," but the fabric was changed so that it would not look too dark on screen.
Character development and discrepancies
- "By contrast, but similar to many other Star Wars kids, Leia was raised by a single parent. Her father was Bail Organa, Viceroy of the planet Alderaan and driving force of the Rebel Alliance."
- ―Extract from "The Kids of Star Wars"
The adopted mother of Princess Leia Organa was first mentioned in the 1981 The Last Gift From Alderaan!, the fifty-third issue of the Star Wars comic book series by Marvel Comics. In this story, Princess Leia wondered whether her father was alone or "with Mother" when their home planet was destroyed by the Empire. Two years later, the Princess' foster mother was also alluded to in James Kahn's novelization of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, as "[Leia's] mother, then Minister of Education."
However, the idea of Leia's surrogate mother living up to the destruction of Alderaan was ignored by most post-1983 sources. The Marvel comic series being considered "Secondary Canon," its content was made available to be used or discarded as needed by later authors. The 1995 novel Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly stated that Leia Organa had been raised by her paternal aunts, an information that was repeated in various later sources, including Star Wars Journal: Captive to Evil and "The Princess Leia Diaries". In the latter source, a ten-year-old Leia wrote in her diary: "Sometimes, a girl just need her mother—especially when you're ten. Why did mine have to die?" However, the short story Diaries was part of the eleventh issue of the Star Wars Tales series of comics, the canonicity of which is ambiguous.
By 2002, some authors assumed that Bail Organa was single at the time of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. In Galactic Power Brokers, an article written by J.D. Wiker for the 10th issue of Star Wars Gamer, it was stated that Bail Organa was an "eligible bachelor" who "[lacked] interest in courtships" at the beginning of the Clone Wars. The same year, Bail Organa's wife was mistakenly referred to as "Celly Organa" in sixty-seventh issue of The Official Star Wars Fact File, while Celly Organa was in fact his sister. Eventually, both claims were proved wrong with the release of Star Wars Episode III, which introduced the character of Breha, and the novel Clone Wars Gambit: Siege, which showed that the Organas had already been married for some time by 22 BBY.
"The Kids of Star Wars", an article of the defunct Star Wars Kids segment of StarWars.com, even explicitely referred to Bail Organa as a single parent. Additionally, the 2008 Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia stated that "With the passing of Queen Breha and the retirement of Bail Organa, their adopted daughter, Princess Leia Organa, became the best-known figure from the royal family in galactic politics." The wording clearly established that Breha died at some point before Bail Organa's senatorial career ended.
Eventually, the 2013 Topps Star Wars Illustrated: A New Hope trading card set released by Topps in 2013 revealed that Breha had indeed survived up until the destruction of Alderaan, thus bringing Leia Organa's line from Star Wars 53 back into canon.
The Queen received a brief mention in Timothy Zahn's novel Scoundrels. During a chat seance on the "Star Wars Books" Facebook page, Zahn stated that, in his view, Breha was extensively involved with the young Leia's and Winter's upbringing. He also confirmed that the latter's memories of the Queen would "hit [her] particularly hard."
According to What's The Story? author Aidan Hennessy, his Databank entry for Pello Scrambas was supposed to indicate that Breha and Bail's marriage was arranged by Jorus C'baoth to end the Alderaan Ascendancy Contention. This piece of information, however, was excised from the final Databank entry.
A reference to Breha was made in episode 1.6 of Clerks: The Animated Series. In it, the characters Randal and Dante discuss why Princess Leia is not Queen of Alderaan, to which Dante says "Her mother had been dead before Alderaan blew up, so wouldn't she be Queen already?" Randal states the whole movie is flawed, like stating for example why do the lightsabers stop where they do. Dante attributes it to the Force, and Randal says "Ah, that's your answer for everything".