GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2004-10 > 1096806128
Subject: Re: Emma, England's first queen
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 2004 08:22:08 EDT
Thank you for your observations, and correcting my mangled subject line.
Regarding England's 1st queen, I suppose there are a number of factors to be
First there must be someone who ruled all, or at least substantially all of
England, I have read that the first to be so recognised was Aethelstan (reigned
925 to 939), but I'm not sure if he had any known wife/consort.
Secondly, for the king's consort to be queen, presumably there must have been
a christian marriage. If my notes are correct, I have a marriage for Edmund I
(murdered 946) to Elgifu, but don't know if this was a _recognised christian
Thirdly, it would be best to have the king's consort anointed and crowned
(which I expect happened in the case of Eadgar partly because of his support of
archbishop Dunstan). The problem here is that there have been English monarchs
who were never crowned (Edward V and Edward VIII, then does Lady Jane Grey
count, she is often quoted as the person with the shortest reign, but them
always omitted from lists of monarchs — can't remember if she was crowned, but I
It seems to me that your argument gives Aelfthryth the strongest claim to be
call the 1st English Queen, but because of the nature of the title it is also
perhaps not correct to say that all other candidates do not qualify. Whether
Aelfgifu-Emma does so qualify, I don't know, but this was part of the title
for a mass-media radio programme, so exaggeration cannot be ruled out.
John P. wrote;
> Upon her marriage to Aethelred II, Emma of Normandy adopted (or was given)
> the Anglo-Saxon name Aelfgifu. She is generally known to historians as
> Aelfgifu-Emma, and some historians have inevitably confused her with her
> husband's first consort.
> Whatever we call her, however, Aelfgifu-Emma was not the first queen of
> England. The first woman anointed and crowned as the consort of an
> Anglo-Saxon king of all England, and hence the first who can (and should)
> properly be called queen, was Aethelred II's mother, Eadgar's second wife
> Pauline Stafford discusses Aelfgifu-Emma and Aelfthryth extensively, the
> latter in *Queens, Concubines, and Dowagers: The King's Wife in the Early
> Middle Ages* (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1983), and the former
> in *Queen Emma and Queen Edith: Queenship and Women's Power in
> Eleventh-Century England* (Oxford: Blackwell's, 1997).