Alice in Wonderland
This rhyme first appeared in print in 1782. But the term and famous reference to the 'Queen of Hearts' can be found in the work of Lewis G. Carroll in his book entitled 'Alice in Wonderland' which was first published in 1865. The Queen of Hearts in the story was famous for the saying "Off with their heads!" when she was annoyed with her servants.
The Queen of Hearts Playing Card
Decks of cards depicting illustrations of of Kings and Queens can be traced back to France in 1650. These French cards portrayed the Queen of Hearts as Judith from the Bible. This depiction of Judith was to convey the attribute of courage. In the Bible Judith killed the Assyrian General Holofernes.
In more recent history the term the Queen of Hearts was used by Princess Diana during her famous interview with Martin Bashir. Princess Diana stated her preference to the title the Queen of Hearts to that of Queen of England. Princess Diana is now lovingly referred to as the Queen of Hearts.