Gloucestershire

Gloucester funeral procession honours Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians

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Media captionSaxon ruler Aethelflaed is believed to have been buried in Gloucester

A mock funeral procession has taken place in Gloucester to mark the 1,100th anniversary of the death of Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians.

She led armies against the Vikings and the Welsh and is believed to have been buried at St Oswald's Priory in the city.

The funeral re-enactment is part of a weekend-long series of living history events telling her story.

The event on Saturday attracted more than 10,000 people to the city centre.

Local amateur actress Samantha Swinford won a competition to portray the Saxon ruler.

She said: "When I first saw the call for a tall, flaxen-haired woman to play Aethelflaed I immediately knew that this was something I wanted to be involved in.

"I had previously heard about her anyway as she was such a powerhouse leader at a time during the time of the Vikings invasions."

Image copyright Marketing Gloucester
Image caption Samantha Swinford as Queen Aethelflaed is carried through Gloucester city centre

The palanquin containing the actress arrived in Gloucester Docks by Viking longboat.

It was carried by pall-bearers through the city to at a specially prepared Anglo Saxon encampment at St Oswald's Priory.

There, the Rev Canon Nikki Arthy gave a solemn memorial speech in honour of Aethelflaed.

Ben Hau from Marketing Gloucester said: "It's been a wonderful experience bringing history to life, firing the imaginations of people young and old.

"The turnout at the docks and throughout the city centre for the mock funeral was fantastic, with so many people wanting to catch a glimpse of Gloucester's warrior queen."

Aethelflaed, the eldest daughter of Alfred the Great. is believed to have been born in 870 and ruled Mercia in the English midlands from 911 for seven years until her death.

Image copyright Marketing Gloucester
Image caption The palanquin containing actress Samantha Swinford as the Queen arrived by Viking longboat
Image copyright Marketing Gloucester
Image caption The Rev Canon Nikki Arthy gave a memorial speech

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