Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Becky Bookworm Book Review -Special- A forgotten Queen from a forgotten period of history... Queen Emma and the Vikings

Now when you think of the 8th-10th century, of vikings and of memorable historical figures you'd be unsuprised to hear the mention of names such as King Alfred, The Great Army, Guthrum who then became Athelstan, Ivar Longbroke, Harald Hardrada, Harold Godwineson and perhaps even William the Conquerer, Duke of Normandy.
You would be suprised if someone mentions these names, King Ethelred the Unready (Ill-Counciled), King Swein of Denmark, King Cnut/Canute/Knutr, Edmund Ironside, Harold Harefoot, the young Prince and then King Edward (later known as the confessor).
But the real name which would make you blink and ask 'Who?' belongs not to a man, as all the above do, but to a woman.
A woman who not only led a remarkable life, but was Queen of England not once, but twice, and proved to be a formidable Queen Mother to the two sons who reigned after her (in life and in death).
Her name is .... Emma, of Normandy, but in English historical records she is noted as Algifu (for the Saxons found it hard to pronounce her Norman name).

Emma's historical and very personal story, woven into the ruling foundations of this country and her connections to the Vikings of Denmark, are so complicated and span so many years that I find it hard to even summarise it all in just a few simple paragraphs.


It does best to say that Emma, as a young Queen twice over, Widowed twice over, has a son from each of her two marriages die (one murdered by Harold Harefoot's men and another who did become King then suffer a drink induced stroke), and a King's Mother twice over, faced more life threatening political agendas and social falls and rises, than Queen Elizabeth the 1st and even Queen Victoria combinded. Yet her survival skills through cunning diplomacy, political tactics of alliances and influential social positioning kept her within a great deal of power for the majority of her lifetime at the English court right up until her death possibly in her eighties/nineties which is a tremendous feat just of longevity in a world where most didn't live past their forties let alone enter their fifties.

If you wish to learn about this truly amazing woman, who should be remembered for what she lived through, I highly recommend the book below which revealed her to me if only because I read about her second husband King Cnut/Canute/Knutr first, but her life story eclipsed his remarkable tale.

Click on the cover to read my review.

Queen Emma And The Vikings: The Woman Who Shaped The Events Of 1066

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