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Matilda and Eleanor

How Matilda almost became the first woman to be crowned queen of England in her own right, and how Eleanor of Aquitaine was more than the queen of courtly love.

In the medieval and Tudor world there was no question in people's minds about the order of God's creation - men ruled and women didn't. A king was a warrior who literally fought to win power then battled to keep it. Yet despite everything that stood in their way, a handful of extraordinary women did attempt to rule medieval and Tudor England. In this series, historian Dr Helen Castor explores seven queens who challenged male power, the fierce reactions they provoked and whether the term 'she wolves' was deserved.

Eight hundred years ago, Matilda came within a hair's breadth of being the first woman to be crowned queen of England in her own right. Castor explores how Matilda reached this point and why her bid for the throne ultimately failed. Her daughter-in-law Eleanor of Aquitaine was an equally formidable woman. Despite being remembered as the queen of courtly love, in reality during her long life she divorced one king and married another, only to lead a rebellion against him. She only finally achieved the power she craved in her seventies.

1 hour

Last on

Tue 19 Jun 2018 22:30

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Role Contributor
Presenter Helen Castor
Producer Lucy Swingler
Director Lucy Swingler
Executive Producer Ross Wilson
Executive Producer Sam Anthony


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