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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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The Lady of the Mercians

She was a queen in all but name, but Æthelflæd, the daughter of Alfred the Great, is barely mentioned in contemporary chronicles of the Anglo-Saxon era. Jonny Wilkes wonders whether England owes more to her than to her famous father
Æthelflæd led the Kingdom of Mercia and had several victories over the Vikings

When her for of old, Wessex. greatness, father Æthelflæd she was Alfred, At married around became was destined a baby to 16 King the years Lord of the Mercians and so placed next to the seat of power of a neighbouring Anglo-Saxon kingdom. In her 20s, she helped to build a string of fortifications and patronise churches; in her 30s, she took up the mantle of ruling in place of her indisposed husband and defeated the Vikings in battle; and in her 40s, on her husband’s death, Æthelflæd was chosen to lead above all male contenders.

Vikings were the biggest threat to the Anglo-Saxons in Æthelflæd’s lifetime

She became known as the Lady of the Mercians. She strengthened the economy improved education and intensified her campaign to build towns and defences across her kingdom. She restored Mercian lands by force or negotiation and plunged into enemy territory to throw out the invaders once and for all. She was to die at the height of her power before she reached 50. As a wife, patron and warlord, Æthelflæd helped establish a united England, but as a woman, her place in the histories was reduced, undermined, almost forgotten.

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About BBC History Revealed

William Shakespeare had humble beginnings – how did he transform into England’s greatest playwright? We explore how the ‘upstart crow’ became so widely celebrated. Plus: The mysterious assassins of the medieval Muslim world are explored, we dig into the diaries of Samuel Pepys and take a look at the life of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians.