Their marriage, however, was full of distrust and Zoe was allowed no power or say in government. Isabella wrote to her son, Henry III, to explain and justify why she had supplanted her own daughter as Hugh’s bride, claiming that his ‘friends’ were worried about Joan’s youth and forcing Hugh to repudiate the English princess in favour of a French bride who was old enough to bear him a son. Although she reconciled with Henry in 1230, Isabella and Hugh continued to play the kings of France and England against each other, always looking for the advantage. While often magnanimous in victory, Æthelflæd could be ruthless when it was her friends who were attacked; even she was not immune from the desire for revenge. In that instant she disinherited her own son, the Dauphin, making Henry V heir to King Charles and handing France over to England. It will be released in the US on 2 September and is available for pre-order from Amazon US. Just as with Æthelflæd, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Isabeau of Bavaria (see Medieval She-Wolves from Part One), they fought for what they wanted, often against impossible odds, and achieved much. She has also made appearances in various other television series including Grafters and Conviction. It has often been applied to suggest a woman of serious character flaws who would invariably put her own interests ahead of others, who fought for what they wanted, be it a crown, their children or independence. Despencer’s death demonstrated the anger Isabella felt towards her husband and his favourite. Michael IV’s life would have probably ended in the same way as his predecessor, Romanos III, drowned in the bath or with a knife in his back, had he not died of natural causes in 1041. Isabella took to wearing widow’s weeds and claimed: ‘I feel that marriage is a joining together of man and woman, maintaining the undivided habit of life. Zoe Porphyrogenita lived most of her life in relative obscurity. Zoe, Isabella of Angouleme and Isabella of France have been much maligned throughout history. Michael IV’s life would have probably ended in the same way as his predecessor, Romanos III, drowned in the bath or with a knife in his back, had he not died of natural causes in 1041, after retiring to a monastery. In 1174, when the rebellion failed, Henry accepted the submission of his sons.

The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway by Snorre Strurluson; Silk and the Sword: The Women of the Norman Conquest by Sharon Bennett Connolly; Ancient History Encyclopedia. Isabella had married Hugh to stop him going over to the French and to guarantee his allegiance to her son. In 1220, however, in a scandalous about-face Hugh IX repudiated Joan and married her mother, his father’s former betrothed. Unforgiven and defeated, Eleanor was sent to perpetual imprisonment in various castles throughout southern England. Æthelflæd’s strength and determination was complemented by her quick actions and an impressive ruthless streak. Isabella and John were married in 1200 and, after 16 years together, they had 5 children; the youngest, Eleanor, was born in 1215. Constantine set about reforming the Byzantine administration, exiling John the Orphanotrophos from court for a second time, and surrounding himself with noted intellectuals, among them Michael Psellos. As contemporaries described her as ‘more Jezebel than Isabel’, accused her of ‘sorcery and witchcraft’, Isabella of Angouleme’s reputation as a heartless mother and habitual schemer seems set to remain.

Michael’s nephew, Zoe’s adopted son, ascended the throne as Michael V. When Michael V was crowned, Zoe was again banished to a monastery, an act which caused an uprising in Constantinople. She did not live to see the successful conclusion to the work she and her brother had worked tirelessly to achieve; between 910 and 920 all Danish territories south of Yorkshire had been conquered. Henry won the Manchester Evening News 'Best Actress in a leading role' title in the Manchester Metropolitan University School of Theatre's production of Pygmalion for Eliza Doolittle in 2002.[1].

For 3 years Isabella and Mortimer ruled England, only to be themselves deposed by Edward III when he turned eighteen; their own arrogance and mismanagement of England causing their downfall. For a wife to rebel against her husband was practically unheard of, and went against the natural order of society, and therefore deserved harsher punishment – where would the world be if women refused to behave? Losing four of her greatest captains in the battle to capture Derby in 917, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reported: ‘With God’s help Ethelfleda, lady of Mercia, captured the fortress known as Derby with all its assets. Look out for Part Two of Medieval She-Wolves, next week. With each of them, applying the term ‘she-wolf’ highlights their strengths, their determination, and the challenges they faced and overcame. But who are we to let facts get in the way of a good story? Zoe Porphyrogenita lived much of her life in relative obscurity. Variously described as being beautiful and hypnotic or so obese that she was crippled, the chroniclers have not been kind to Isabeau.

Zoe returned home to Constantinople and the continued seclusion of the royal palace. The abbot had been under Æthelflæd’s protection and within three days she was leading an army into the Wales to exact revenge. Constantine outlived his wife; Zoe died in 1050, aged about 72. In the same year, 1042, Zoe took a third husband, Emperor Constantine IX, who co-ruled the empire, with the two sisters. He co-ruled the empire with the 2 imperial sisters. So I have chosen 6 women who could have been termed ‘she-wolves’ to show women from both viewpoints, and to demonstrate the strength of the characters and the challenges they faced. She was the niece of Basil II, the warrior emperor who had co-ruled, as senior emperor, with Constantine for over 60 years.

Michael IV then banished Zoe to a monastery. In this she played Casey Carswell, the child-abductoring friend of Claire Peacock. Eleanor, who was captured as she rode towards safety in France, wearing men’s clothing – an act itself highly frowned upon – was not so fortunate. Now 64-years-old, Zoe was empress, once again. The public were not so tolerant and called for Sclerina’s removal; the crisis was resolved by Sclerina’s sudden death from a pulmonary disease. By all accounts, while Basil fought to preserve his empire, Constantine was more in love with the trapping of power, rather than the wielding of it. As empress consort, Zoe asserted herself. With her son Edward, the heir to the throne, in her in France, and with the help of her close friend and adviser – and, quite possibly, her lover – Roger Mortimer, Isabella started attracting support from the disappointed and disillusioned of Edward’s subjects. Of course, a closely guarded prisoner in Old Sarum or at Winchester as Eleanor was at the time of Rosamund’s death, it was impossible for her to do any such thing. As a she-wolf, protecting her cubs, she rebelled against her husband. He was exiled to a monastery, but complaints about such lenient treatment meant that Zoe issued orders for his mutilation and he was blinded, an act symbolically rendering him incapable of ruling. After this, Henry appeared between March and September 2007 in another ITV soap, Coronation Street. In 1325, Isabella went on a diplomatic mission to France to negotiate terms with her brother, the French king Charles IV, who had seized Edward’s lands in France.

Mortimer was hanged at Tyburn and Isabella spent her remaining years in comfortable house arrest, the She-Wolf who had launched an invasion of England and deposed – and possibly murdered – her husband, only to be deposed herself. However, they ignored the challenges faced by a queen whose husband was sinking deeper and deeper into the realms of insanity, going so far as killing four of his own knights during one mental breakdown and thinking he was made of glass in another. Eleanor’s uncle Raymond of Toulouse, Prince of Antioch, welcomed Eleanor warmly and lavished such attention on her that rumours soon arose of an affair. Whatever happened to Edward, Isabella’s revenge was complete; Despencer had been utterly destroyed and Edward was deposed and replaced with his son, the 14-year-old Edward III. By May 1152 Eleanor was married again, to the man who would become her first husband’s greatest rival. She has also made appearances in various other television series including Grafters and Conviction Career. The combination of her indefatigable forces and compassion in victory saw the Danes soon suing for peace; in the summer of 918, the noblemen and magnates of York sent emissaries to Æthelflæd, promising that they would surrender to her.

His guilt was a foregone conclusion. The people of Constantinople and the church wanted to see the crown returned to Zoe and the legitimate dynastic line. As the elder sister, Zoe’s throne was placed slightly forward of her Theodora’s at the joint coronation ceremony, as an obvious indication of which of the sisters was in charge! When the Welsh king eventually submitted to Æthelflæd, he promised to serve her faithfully, and to pay compensation for the murder of the abbot and his people. ",,,, Alumni of Manchester Metropolitan University, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 August 2020, at 17:58. Henry of Anjou would become King of England in 1154 and eventually built an empire that extended 1,000 miles, from the Scottish border in the north to the Pyrenees in the south and incorporating most of western France. With little to recommend her, she stands out as a She-wolf with an impressive ruthless streak, even against her own son.

Silk and the Sword: The Women of the Norman Conquest. Some claim he escaped to the continent, dying years later in Italy, while others are convinced that he was killed in Berkeley Castle, although probably not by a red-hot poker up his bum. Zoe and Theodora Now 64-years-old, Zoe was empress, once again. Eleanor did, however, commit one of the most heinous crimes a woman could in the medieval world. Romanos was an unpopular ruler, his economic policies and military defeat in 1030 causing consternation. Much of Isabeau’s life and career has been re-examined in the twentieth century and she has been exonerated of many of the accusations against her, but, despite the fact Isabeau was backed into a corner, she still signed away her son’s inheritance in favour of a foreign power….

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