GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2004-10 > 1096837377
From: "David Webb" <>
Subject: Re: Emma, England's first queen
Date: Sun, 03 Oct 2004 21:02:57 GMT
VEry interesting postin~!!
""John Parsons"" <> wrote in message
> Comments interspersed below....
> >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
> >First there must be someone who ruled all, or at least substantially all
> >England, I have read that the first to be so recognised was Aethelstan
> >925 to 939), but I'm not sure if he had any known wife/consort.
> In fact Egberht, the first "King of England" of the Wessex line, is
> by some scholars as a *bretwalda*, although the term had evidently fallen
> out of use by his time.
> >Secondly, for the king's consort to be queen, presumably there must have
> >a christian marriage. If my notes are correct, I have a marriage for
> >(murdered 946) to Elgifu, but don't know if this was a _recognised
> The point is not Christian marriage but coronation. Alfred and his
> were certainly joined in Christian marriage, but she was not queen.
> Pauline Stafford discusses a well-known passage in Bishop Asser's "Life of
> Alfred" in which Asser states that the kings of the house of Wessex did
> allow their wives the title of queen, only that of *hlaefdige* ("Lady")
> that these women were not allowed to sit with their husbands on a throne.
> Asser explains this was done because an earlier queen of Wessex, wife of
> Egberht's predecessor, was thought to have murdered her husband and in
> consequence, later kings' wives were denied the rank of queen. This queen
> (Eadburh?) was, as it happened, a daughter of Offa of Mercia, the primary
> opponent of the house of Wessex in the late 8th century, and Stafford
> suggests that the claim she killed her husband was probably no more than
> anti-Mercian propaganda at the Wessex court.
> Aethelwulf ill-advisedly permitted his second wife, Judith, to be crowned
> when he married her on the Continent while visiting her father's imperial
> court. The Anglo-Saxons objected violently to this departure from custom
> and it was one of the factors that led to Aethelwulf's deposition.
> Stafford explains that denying the king's wife the title of queen in the
> and most of the 10th centuries was a way to limit the woman's ability to
> enter politics. Only in Edgar's reign was the custom of relegating the
> king's wife to a position of obscurity abandoned. Aelfthryth was crowned
> the same time Edgar received his "imperial" coronation, in 973.
> >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).
> Correct. In particular Aelfthryth profited from her own energetic support
> the see of Winchester. Oddly, however, her marriage to Edgar was
> condemned by the Church as her first husband was related to Edgar within
> prohibited degrees of consanguinity.
> >The problem here is that there have been English monarchs
> >who were never crowned (Edward V and Edward VIII, then does Lady Jane
> >count, she is often quoted as the person with the shortest reign, but
> >always omitted from lists of monarchs - can't remember if she was
> >crowned, but I
> >doubt it).
> First, neither Edward V nor Edward VIII was married while on the throne
> latter of course wed Mrs Simpson after abdicating), so there was no
> of crowning a queen in their reigns.
> Also, both these reigns fell long after the idea had dissipated that a
> had to be crowned before he could rule in the fullness of his powers. In
> earlier medieval centuries it was held that coronation had to take place
> soon as possible after a king acceded to the throne, but this idea began
> lose its force in the late 13th century when Philip III of France and
> I of England succeeded their fathers while absent from their respective
> kingdoms--both were on crusade, Philip with his father Louis IX in N.
> and Edward in Palestine. Philip could not be crowned at Reims for several
> months while Edward, who became king in November 1272, was not crowned
> he returned to England in August 1274. After Edward died in July 1307, his
> son Edward II was not crowned until the following February. (To stabilize
> the regime as soon as possible after Edward II was deposed in January
> however, his son Edward III was crowned at once.)
> Jane Grey was never crowned.
> The idea also disappeared that it was necessary to crown a king's wife.
> Edward I's second wife, Margaret of France, was never crowned but used the
> title of queen and wore crowns in public. Of Henry VIII's six wives, only
> Katharine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn were crowned. (He meant to have Jane
> Seymour crowned but the rite was delayed by an outbreak of sweating
> in London, and not rescheduled before her premature death). Charles I's
> wife Henrietta Maria was not crowned as she refused to go through a
> Protestant rite, but this did not affect her status. To save money,
> II declined to have Catherine of Braganza crowned. George IV refused to
> allow his wife Caroline of Brunswick to be crowned and tried to divorce
> before his coronation, but the attempt failed and she was legally and
> legitimately queen of Great Britain, crowned or not.
> After the 13th century, French queens were not crowned as a matter of
> course; the rite was performed only occasionally, usually in response to
> political circumstances--e.g., Anne of Brittany was crowned twice, once as
> Charles VIII's wife (acknowledging her importance as duchess of Brittany
> her own right) and again as Louis XII's wife (to stress that her queenship
> came from marriage, not inheritance). The last queen of France to be
> was Marie de Medicis in 1610, and that was done only because Henri IV was
> many years older than she and there was a real likelihood that she would
> become regent for her son Louis XIII (as in fact happened since Henri IV
> assassinated the day after her coronation).
> >It seems to me that your argument gives Aelfthryth the strongest claim to
> >call the 1st English Queen, but because of the nature of the title it is
> >perhaps not correct to say that all other candidates do not qualify.
> >Aelfgifu-Emma does so qualify, I don't know, but this was part of the
> >for a mass-media radio programme, so exaggeration cannot be ruled out.
> See above for the status of the wives of Anglo-Saxon kings before Edgar's
> reign. Aelfgifu-Emma was probably crowned as Aethelred's wife, and
> as "regina" with her second husband, Cnut.
> John P.
|Re: Emma, England's first queen by "David Webb" <>|