There have been many great queens throughout England’s history. Here are some of the most notable.
Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204)
Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most powerful women in Europe during the Middle Ages. She was queen consort of both France and England.
Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most powerful women in medieval Europe. At the age of 15, she married King Louis VII of France, and they had two daughters. She divorced her husband after meeting future King Henry II of England on Crusade, then remarried him in 1152.
The queen later incited her sons Richard and John to rebel against their father, with the pair’s relationship continuing to be tempestuous for the rest of their lives.
Queen Elizabeth II (1926 – 2022)
Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch in British history to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee; she marked 70 years on the throne in 2022. In 1936, when her uncle King Edward VIII unexpectedly abdicated, she became heir to the throne when her father George VI was declared the monarch.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was in Kenya on learning of her accession to the throne in 1952, and her reign was dubbed a “New Elizabethan Age.” She dedicated herself to her constitutional responsibilities throughout the decades, notably weathering marital difficulties among her children in 1992, the Windsor Castle fire two years later, and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.
On 8 September 2022 at Balmoral Castle, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at age 96 after a long reign. Queen Elizabeth II always put duty and work first and on her 21st birthday declared;
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
That promise lasted for 75 years.
Boudica (30 – 61)
Boudica was the wife of Prasutagus, King of the Iceni, a tribe based in East Anglia. When her husband died, the Romans took his kingdom and Boudica, who was a towering woman with flowing blonde hair, responded with violence.
In a chariot she drove up and down her lines urging them on but they were no match for Roman military order. As a result, there was a bloodbath: according to tradition, when Boudica realised her defeat she poisoned herself.
Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20th May 1837 to 22nd January 1901.
She ruled for 63 years, which is still the second longest reign among England’s monarchs. After a strict childhood, she was determined to have fun when she came to the throne at the age of 18, writing in one letter that “I have been dancing till four o’clock this morning.” She married her cousin Prince Albert soon after taking up power; they remained devoted throughout their marriage.
In 1876, she became Empress of India, and it was said that the sun never set on her Empire.
Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603)
She was queen for 45 years and is often considered one of England’s greatest rulers. She never married and so her heir was her cousin James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England when Elizabeth died.
Elizabeth I was a skilled politician and an able administrator. She oversaw the defeat of the Spanish Armada and greatly increased England’s power and influence in Europe.
Queen Anne (1665-1714)
Queen Anne was the last monarch of the House of Stuart.
She became queen when her brother-in-law James II was deposed in 1688 during the “Glorious Revolution.” Anne was a sickly woman and had 17 pregnancies, but only one child survived to adulthood. Anne was succeeded by another cousin, George I of the House of Hanover.
The first Queen of Great Britain was ruling during a time when British prestige expanded, most notably due to the Duke of Marlborough’s victory in the War of Spanish Succession.
She was a formidable military leader and came at a time of great threat from Viking incursions into England and was a true credit to her father.
Æthelflæd allied herself to her brother Edward the Elder. Historian Sir Frank Stenton said that Edward was able to achieve “the outstanding feature of his reign”, the move against the occupying Danes in the south of England, due to being able to rely upon Æthelflæd.
In 916 she led an expedition into Wales to avenge the murder of a Mercian abbot, and succeeded in capturing the wife of the king of Brycheiniog.
Edward the Elder issued coinage with novel reverses of extraordinary designs, and it is speculated that this series of coinage was for circulation in the part of Mercia under the rule of Edward and his sister, with the design of the coinage perhaps showing the influence of Æthelflæd.
Queen Mary I (1516-1558)
Mary I was the eldest child of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
She became queen in 1553 but her reign was short-lived. She married Philip of Spain, which was unpopular with the English people, and she had very little support from Parliament.
Mary I was the first queen of England, but her reign was marked by religious turmoil and conflict. She was nicknamed “Bloody Mary” for her persecution of Protestants.
Despite her turbulent reign, Mary I was a devoted daughter to her father Henry VIII and worked tirelessly to restore Catholicism in England.
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Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "Famous Queens of England" https://englishhistory.net/queens-of-england/, October 7, 2022