Queen Elizabeth I, Cate Blanchett, Royal, Queen, Women, Feminism, Power, History

Relatable Women of Yore

Elizabeth I

Fluent in French, Greek, Latin, Spanish and Welsh by the time she was 11. Translated the whole of The Consolation of Philosophy by the Roman philosopher Boethius. Would read more Greek in the space of one morning than, according to her tutor, ‘some prebendary of this church doth read Latin in a whole week’. And all this as a child. Grew up to become one of the most successful monarchs of this realm. ‘Yes, but does she have a boyfriend yet????’ ‘Is she seeing someone????’ ‘When is she getting married????’

Cassandra

The Trojan princess cursed to see the future and never to be believed until the day of her death. They all thought she was a rambling maniac – until she said she and Agamemnon, her captor, would be axed to death in the bath by his wife, Clytemnestra. And then they were axed to death in the bath by Clytemnestra. Why do people only ever listen when it’s too late and you are now in several pieces on the floor?

Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi

This 19th-century Maharani Consort was said to have charged into battle with her son strapped to her back, the horse’s reigns clamped between her teeth and brandishing a sword in either hand to reclaim her position and land. She eventually met her death on the battlefield, refusing to surrender. The modern mindset for trying to tidy the house, run a business, have a sex-life, socialise with other humans, have opinions, fix the dishwasher using a YouTube tutorial, financially plan – all on no sleep.

Agrippina the Younger

Agrippina was said to have poisoned her husband, the Emperor Claudius, in order to get her own son, Nero, into the top job. She succeeded – and he repaid her by sending her and some friends out on a lovely boat trip, except the boat had been designed to collapse and kill them all. He hadn’t counted on her being a strong swimmer though, so she hauled ass back to land and sent word to him she was fine. He had her stabbed anyway. You bend over backwards for someone and you don’t even get a thank you. Typical.

Caroline of Brunswick

The extremely rich first cousin of her husband, the extremely poor George IV. Caroline’s wedding involved a husband so drunk, he spent their wedding complaining loudly about her poor personal hygiene and spent most of their wedding night passed out under a grate in the bedroom. Life with an idiot. It’s not easy….right?

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