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Lumutqueen 03-11-2012 05:10 PM

"She-Wolves: England's Early Queens" (2012) 3-part BBC4 documentary
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I just caught the last glimpse of this on BBC4 whilst waiting for Frost/Nixon. It's based on a book written by Dr Helen Castor.


The boy in the bed was just fifteen years old. He had been handsome, perhaps even recently; but now his face was swollen and disfigured by disease, and by the treatments his doctors had prescribed in the attempt to ward off its ravages. Their failure could no longer be mistaken. When Edward VI - Henry VIII's longed-for son - died in 1553, extraordinarily, there was no one left to claim the title King of England. For the first time, all the contenders for the crown were female. In 1553, England was about to experience the 'monstrous regiment' - the unnatural rule - of a woman. But female rule in England also had a past. Four hundred years before Edward's death, Matilda, daughter of Henry I and granddaughter of William the Conquerer, came tantalisingly close to securing her hold on the power of the crown. And between the 12th and the 15th centuries three more exceptional women - Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, and Margaret of Anjou - discovered, as queens consort and dowager, how much was possible if the presumptions of male rule were not confronted so explicitly. The stories of these women - told here in all their vivid humanity - illustrate the paradox which the female heirs to the Tudor throne had no choice but to negotiate. Man was the head of woman; and the king was the head of all. How, then, could a woman be king, how could royal power lie in female hands?
I can only find the BBCIplayer link but i'll get searching on youtube.
BBC Four - She-Wolves: England's Early Queens

MagMil 03-11-2012 05:17 PM

Yesterday I posted the first episode in thread of British Royals Websites, Links and Videos
here is the link(post #196)

Lumutqueen 03-11-2012 05:20 PM

Well now we have a youtube link, hopefully it won't be taken down.

Warren 03-12-2012 10:33 AM

"She-Wolves: England's Early Queens" - BBC4

Ep 1 - 7 March 2012: Matilda and Eleanor
Helen finds out why Matilda's bid for the throne ultimately failed. Her daughter-in-law Eleanor of Aquitaine was also an equally formidable woman and was remembered as the queen of courtly love. In reality though during her long life she divorced one king and married another, only to head a rebellion against him.

Ep 2 - 14 March 2012: Isabella and Margaret

In 1308 a 12-year-old girl known as Isabella of France, became queen of England after she married the English king. One hundred years later later another young French girl, Margaret of Anjou, followed in her footsteps. Helen reveals that their self-assertion would have seemed natural in a man was deemed unnatural, even monstrous for a woman of the time.

Ep 3 - 21 March 2012: Jane, Mary and Elizabeth
During the medieval and Tudor times there was no question in people's minds about the order of God's creation, men ruled and women didn't. A few women did attempt to rule Tudor England though and Helen looks at the queens who challenged male power. In 1553, for the first time in English history all the contenders for the crown were women.

A review, from [edited]

"Throughout our history, women and power have made an uneasy combination." Dr Helen Castor made it clear the path to power depended on more than the right alliances, lineage, and marriage partner. Even if all those were spot on, being female was enough to halt any rise. The series began with the medieval Queens Matilda and her daughter-in-law Eleanor of Aquitaine. Both wanted to rule, not reign like Queen Elizabeth II.

She Wolves brought Castor’s book She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth to television. The programme’s sensational title was a given. With an audience beyond the niches of either a history readership or gender studies, the book is a natural for television with clearly told, linear stories that resonate despite dating back at least 600 years. But with only one contemporary image apiece for Matilda and Eleanor, visual material was lacking.

Fortunately, the gap wasn’t filled by clichéd set-ups of Dr Castor poring over medieval manuscripts. Equally thankfully, purposeful striding was at a minimum – although close-ups of pounding horse's hooves to suggest urgency were overused. Snatches from historic documents were read out by other voices but there were no talking heads, another plus. In a refreshingly unfussy, old-fashioned touch, Dr Castor directly addressed the camera or provided the voiceover.

The generally measured approach extended to eschewing the ghastly analogies that can clog history docs: neither Matilda and Eleanor were the Madonna of the Middle Ages or the Margaret Thatcher of their era.

a reader's comment

"I have to say I am rather disappointed with this series. It fails to accept the roles of the earlier queens of england and the impact they had on the 'she-wolf' sterotype. Ælfthryth mother of Æthelred II (commonly know as Æthelred 'unread' or the unready) is among the first 'queens' to have been entitled 'she-wolf' by the chroniclers of the time.

Another early queen so often forgotten when she should not be is 'Queen' Emma. As the wife of two kings of England, the mother of two kings of England and the Great Aunt of William the Conquorer it is shameful that she is not dipicted in any historical TV adaptations. She played a huge role in the governing of England at a time when the foundations of our country was laid to be built on by the following rulers.

It would be nice for the BBC to delve a little further back and truely include ALL the 'she-wolves' of England and not simply leave the public beleiving that before Matilda, queens were simply ignored or incapable, when this is clearly untrue."

MagMil 03-16-2012 10:08 PM

***England's Early Queens *** Episode 2

Enjoy!!! :flowers:

Englands Early Queens Ep 2 Part 1 - YouTube
Englands Early Queens Ep 2 Part 2 - YouTube
Englands Early Queens Ep 2 Part 3 - YouTube
Englands Early Queens Ep 2 Part 4 - YouTube

Tilia C. 03-17-2012 11:13 AM

Thanks for posting links to this excellent documentary!

MagMil 03-22-2012 09:12 PM

Episode 3 :smile:

Englands Early Queens Ep 3 Part 1 - YouTube
Englands Early Queens Ep 3 Part 2 - YouTube
Englands Early Queens Ep 3 Part 3 - YouTube
Englands Early Queens Ep 3 Part 4 - YouTube

PrincessKaimi 03-22-2012 09:45 PM

Ooo thank you for those links, MagMil. Cannot wait to watch!

MagMil 03-22-2012 09:48 PM

You 're welcome :smile:
ENJOY watching!!! :flowers:

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