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THE ROYAL WOMEN WHO MADE ENGLAND

The Tenth Century in Saxon England. Non-Fiction.

Throughout the tenth century, England, as it would be recognised today, formed. No longer many Saxon kingdoms, but rather, just England. Yet, this development masks much in the century in which the Viking raiders were seemingly driven from England’s shores by Alfred, his children and grandchildren, only to return during the reign of his great, great-grandson, the much-maligned Æthelred II. Not one but two kings would be murdered, others would die at a young age, and a child would be named king on four occasions. Two kings would never marry, and a third would be forcefully divorced from his wife. Yet, the development towards ‘England’ did not stop. At no point did it truly fracture back into its constituent parts. Who then ensured this stability? To whom did the witan turn when kings died, and children were raised to the kingship? The royal woman of the House of Wessex came into prominence during the century, perhaps the most well-known being Æthelflæd, daughter of King Alfred. Perhaps the most maligned being Ælfthryth (Elfrida), accused of murdering her stepson to clear the path to the kingdom for her son, Æthelred II, but there were many more women, rich and powerful in their own right, where their names and landholdings can be traced in the scant historical record. Using contemporary source material, The Royal Women Who Made England can be plucked from the obscurity that has seen their names and deeds lost, even within a generation of their own lives.

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