Born Padmé Naberrie, Padmé Amidala served as the Queen and later Senator of the planet Naboo. She and secretly married the Jedi Anakin Skywalker and had two children, Luke and Leia. Padmé played an important role in the politics of the Clone Wars and, before her tragic early death, planted the seeds for the Rebellion that would eventually overthrow Palpatine's Empire.
Padmé in the Star Wars Films
Trained in politics from a young age, Padmé was elected Princess of Theed (Naboo's capital city) at age 13 and Queen of Naboo at age 14. She was not Naboo's youngest Queen; since voting rights on Naboo were based on maturity rather than age, the planet had a history of electing young rulers. In order to protect her identity, Padmé took the royal name Amidala and often served as a handmaiden while a decoy took her place as Queen.
Padmé faced her first major political crisis when the Trade Federation invaded Naboo. With the help of Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, she traveled to the Republic capital of Coruscant to plead for help from the Senate. But even after she called for a vote of no confidence in Supreme Chancellor Valorum, the Senate worked too slowly to save her planet. Putting herself at risk, she revealed her secret identity to the Gungans, an amphibian race on Naboo, and helped lead the fight to retake the capital.
The Naboo people loved Queen Amidala, re-electing her for a second four-year term and even trying to amend the constitution to allow for a third term. Padmé was against this measure, however, and stepped down from the throne for the next elected Queen of Naboo, Jamillia.
Padmé had hoped to retire and start a family, but instead became a Senator at Queen Jamillia's request. She was an outspoken opponent of military action during the Separatist conflict, and as a result was the target of several assassination attempts. To ensure her safety, she returned to Naboo with a Jedi escort: Anakin Skywalker, whom she met on Tatooine during the Separatist invasion.
Anakin's decade-long crush on Padmé now bloomed into a relationship, despite the Jedi prohibition against such attachments. After being captured by the Separatists and nearly facing death together during the Battle of Geonosis, Padmé, and Anakin came to terms with their attraction and were secretly married.
Padmé was an outspoken opponent of the continued violence during the Clone Wars, working instead to find peaceful, diplomatic solutions. Her opposition to war put her at odds not only with political opponents, but with her husband, now a Jedi Knight and quickly becoming a war hero.
Chancellor Palpatine's growing power also worried Padmé. Joining with Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, and other concerned Senators, she lead the Delegation of 2000 in opposition to what they believed was a budding dictatorship. While their efforts were unsuccessful -- Palpatine declared himself Emperor soon after -- they laid the groundwork for the Rebel Alliance.
After discovering that she was pregnant, Padmé worried that the public would discover her relationship with Anakin, causing a scandal both for Naboo and for the Jedi Order. Anakin reassured her, but then began having visions of her death in childbirth. The fear of losing his wife helped drive Anakin to the dark side.
When she learned that Anakin had become Darth Vader, Padmé followed him to Mustafar and begged him to come away with her. But when Anakin saw Obi-Wan, who stowed away aboard Padmé's ship, he accused Padmé of betraying him and Force-choked her. Weakened by this attack and the trauma of losing her love to the dark side, Padmé died giving birth to twins, Luke and Leia, who were raised separately in secret and later became leaders in the Rebellion.
Behind the Scenes
Padmé Amidala was portrayed by Natalie Portman in the Star Wars prequels, Grey DeLisle in Clone Wars and several video games, and Catherine Tabor in The Clone Wars. (Tabor also voiced Padmé's daughter Leia in the video game The Force Unleashed.)
Between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, the identity of Luke and Leia's mother was a mystery. In James Kahn's novelization of Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan tells Luke a bit about his mother, though she is unnamed and some of the information contradicts later sources. Luke's attempts to discover his mother's identity and learn more about her are central to the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy of novels by Michael P. Kube-McDowell.
Padmé's first appearance in the Star Wars universe was actually not in The Phantom Menace, but in the comic The Last Command #5, a 1998 adaptation of the novel by Timothy Zahn. Natalie Portman had just been cast as Padmé, and so her likeness appears as a picture in the Imperial Palace.