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Elizabeth Hale is the mother of Claire Underwood.
She never liked that Claire married Frank Underwood, as she considered him beneath her. She did not speak to either one of them since she saw them at her husband's funeral.
In order to get away from Frank, Claire escapes to her family estate in Dallas. Once rumors begin circling regarding the state of their marriage, the President travels to Dallas to dispel them. Upon seeing him again, Elizabeth remarks that "not even being President could give [him] any class." Frank tells Claire that her mother has been suffering from cancer for all these years since she last saw her. This breaks her heart. To do away with the rumors once-and-for-all, Claire and Frank hold a joint presser in front of the residence where they reveal to the world, without her mother's consent, that she has been suffering from intermittent lymphoma. She later tells Claire that she understands why she did it, but "that doesn't make it any less hurtful."
The First Lady stays with her mother while her husband, Francis, returns to the trail to continue the campaign.
Elizabeth ultimately gains sympathy from her socialite friends in the Dallas community. She asks them to secretly, financially support Frank's primary opponent, Heather Dunbar — to their shock, she explains that by making him lose, Claire will finally be free. The $3 million is actually put into a super PAC used to bribe Jackie Sharp into whipping the votes for fellow Congresswoman Doris Jones' proposal to fulfill a campaign promise — a breast cancer detection and treatment center in her district that would be put into a VA hospital expansion run by Planned Parenthood. Celia explains to Jackie that the mortality rate of black women suffering from this cancer is higher than the murder rate. Already planning to retire, the Congresswoman tells Claire that if the bill becomes law, Claire can run for her seat, while her daughter and heir apparent Celia Jones will hold off until a further cycle — allowing Claire to pursue an independent political career and ultimately become the Governor of Texas.
Doris, who was one of Frank's closest allies during his time as House Majority Whip, ultimately speaks with him, and to her surprise, he had no knowledge of this arrangement. He decides to support her by advocating for her proposal as part of his State of the Union address, and also declares on live, national television that Celia will be running this cycle to be her successor — ultimately making it politically impossible for Claire to run against her.
Her mother consoles her, saying: "You're stronger than him, but you've got to put him in his place." Claire attempts to blackmail him into putting her on the ticket. He refuses and their relationship deteriorates to the point that she threatens to publicly file for divorce on Super Tuesday, a move that will make him unelectable. She declares: "I can be a part of this campaign, or I can end it."
While at a university campaign event, he is shot in an assassination attempt by Lucas Goodwin. Secret Service agent Edward Meechum died in the line of fire while shielding the President. The First Lady immediately returns to Washington, where she counsels acting President Donald Blythe through his diplomacy with the Russian President Petrov, and she quickly becomes one of his most trusted allies. He decides to send her alongside Secretary Durant as part of the American delegation to the G7 summit, where she covertly negotiates a bailout plan for the Russian people.
After Frank recovers, and decides to put her on the ticket, she continues to campaign until her mother's health once again declines. Shortly before the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Hale's health worsens severely, prompting Claire and Tom Yates to return. Throughout their stay, Elizabeth's cancer progresses to a point where she will die within a matter of weeks. She convinces Claire to help her peacefully pass away during voluntary euthanasia. With Tom and Claire sitting beside her, Claire orally administered a lethal dose of morphine. She was later a central figure in Claire's emotional DNC speech.
- The character is portrayed by Ellen Burstyn.