She Wolves – Episode 1 – Empress Matilda and Eleanor of Aquitaine 07.03.2012


Empress Matilda
Empress Matilda

England’s queens not always liked – problem with women and power
Matilda chased from the capital by an angry mob
First woman to claim the English crown in her own right
Men fought to win power and battled to keep it – handful of women did attempt to rule England, challenged male power
“She-wolves”
Just how far we’ve come and how little we’ve changed
24 June 1141 39 year old Matilda sat down at a banquet – first woman to rule England in her own right?
Daughter of Henry I and granddaughter of William the Conqueror.
Throws the country into 20 years of civil war
Seen as domineering and destructive – challenged the assumption that only a man could wear the crown Continue reading “She Wolves – Episode 1 – Empress Matilda and Eleanor of Aquitaine 07.03.2012”

Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty Part 1 – Henry II – 27/11/2014


Henry II
Henry II

300 and more years they crushed all competition
Plantagenets = greatest dynasty of all time
Ambition, jealousy, hatred, revenge – forged England as a nation
Henry II 1154-1189
European superpower and betrayal within his own family
1153 England failing, Matilda lost to Stephen
Henry II was Matilda’s son, sails to England with an invasion force, crown rightfully his
Fiery temper, very ambitious
Within a year, Stephen dead and Henry crowned, but doesn’t speak English
Problems with barons raiding and looting – future depends on bringing barons to heel
Wigmore Castle – Hugh Mortimer last baron to hold out, Henry lays siege but doesn’t want to destroy
Mortimer folds and Henry gives him power

Formidable ally – Eleanor of Aquitaine is his wife, already have one son – political player in her own right
Plantagenet empire from Scotland to the Pyrenees – maintain control?
Use clerks to do his work, basis of the civil service, National Archives show basis of control Continue reading “Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty Part 1 – Henry II – 27/11/2014”

My Notes from Episode 1 of ‘The Plantagenets’ Shown on BBC 17.03.2014


All 15 Plantagenet kings were supposedly descended from the Countess of Anjou.
Family politics and dynastic ambition.
War, justice, parliament and architecture.
Anjou (West France) 12th century. 1128 Matilda, daughter of Henry I of France ordered to marry Geoffrey of Anjou. After a year they separated but she eventually gave him 3 sons.
Fight for the throne – Matilda named heir but throne seized by Stephen = civil war ‘the Anarchy’.
1142 Stephen besieged Matilda for 3 months – she crept away.

Eleanor of Aquitaine from the Hulton Archive
Eleanor of Aquitaine from the Hulton Archive

Fighting stopped when Matilda’s son, Henry, came of age – married Eleanor of Aquitane, who had initially married Louis VII of France.
Henry and Eleanor had a lot of land in France and four sons.
Wanted to win the English crown.
Many joined the Plantagenets. Henry and Stephen met at Wallingford Castle, but the armies refused to fight.
Stephen recognised Henry as heir. In 1154 Henry became Henry II of England. Continue reading “My Notes from Episode 1 of ‘The Plantagenets’ Shown on BBC 17.03.2014”