In this interview special we talk to Dr Gabby Story about the Angevin queens - the Empress Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Berengaria of Navarre and Isabella of Angouleme. We reflect on their relationships with their husbands, their sons and each other as well as what they tell us about queenship.
Isabella of Angoulême had the misfortune to be married to King John and is not one of England's more famous queens, and yet she had a remarkable life, with controversial marriages, shifting alliances, rebellions and plenty of scandal. Plenty of personality, but not always in a good way - will she be able to win us over for the Rex Factor?
Berengaria of Navarre is not one of the more famous consorts, overshadowed by her predecessor, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and indeed her husband, Richard the Lionheart. However, Berengaria has her own story that is worth telling: accompanying Richard on the Third Crusade; fighting the English crown for her dower rights and then ruling a French city. A story worth telling, but will it be enough to earn Berengaria the Rex Factor?
Despite having done two main podcast episodes on Eleanor, we still had lots more stuff to talk about for the Privy Chamber that was either just skirted over or not even mentioned at all previously. There's so much to talk about that we didn't have time for all our usual features, so that will all come in the next Privy Chamber episode.
After a separate full-length biography episode, we now review Eleanor of Aquitaine. And there's lots to talk about in every factor: the Crusades; the Great Revolt; threats to both of her sons as Queen Mother. A long and dramatic life that has plenty to talk about, both good and bad, but when it's all done, where will she stand?
Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of the most famous names in English history and her life is so long and eventful that we're splitting her episode in two. In this episode, we cover her biography, charting her extraordinary life from her upbringing in Aquitaine to her various queenships, encompassing Crusades, rebellions, imprisonments and high stakes diplomacy. Next time we'll review her factor by factor and decide whether she has the Rex Factor.
For the first time in a special episode, we are entirely outside of Britain, going fully Roman with the general and statesman Sulla. Mr Sulla makes for a fascinating character study - a highly successful general, bon viveur and party animal who is also painted as a brutal dictator who destroyed the Roman Republic. So, what will our final verdict be: Good guy? Bad guy? But most importantly, Rex Factor?
(Apologies that Ali's audio is not so good - forgot to turn on the correct settings and his fan was quite noisy!)
In the second and final episode celebrating our tenth anniversary we read through all of your lovely messages with good wishes, how you found the podcast, exotic places you've listened and favourite memories from the podcast. We also go through all the results of our English Monarchs Twitter Poll to crown England's Greatest Monarch for 2020.
We've also been using our time productively so further episodes will be following in the coming weeks with a special episode on Sulla, a Privy Chamber episode for Privy Councillors and (in the not too distant future) Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Rex Factor is ten years old! To celebrate, we are releasing two podcasts. In this first part, we reminisce about ten years of Rex Factor, looking at each season and some of the major things we've worked on. We also reveal the details of a Twitter tournament we will be running in the following month where we pit all the English monarchs against each other and see whether this will have the same outcome as our original play-offs. PLUS we would like to hear from you - please let us know your favourite memories, episodes, quotes, etc. from Rex Factor as well as any questions you might have about the podcast.
Not discussed in the podcast, but the special episode on Sulla is coming soon and then we will be moving on to Eleanor of Aquitaine - apologies for the delay!
It's nearly 10 years since we reviewed Æthelred the Unready and gave him a score of 0 for Battleyness - not surprising for the king who suffered decades of Viking raids and was kicked off the throne (nearly twice) but have we been too harsh? We speak to Brandon Bender who has written a book about Æthelred's military campaign which suggests he was a far more proactive and capable leader than his reputation suggests. Will we be convinced or will Æthelred remain at the bottom of the pile for Battleyness?
Brandon's book is called 'England's Unlikely Commander: The Military Career of Æthelred the Unready'