Ealdgyth of Mercia is not a famous name, but her episode is full of Rex Factors. As consort to Harold Godwinson, she was the last Anglo-Saxon consort and her story has plenty to fascinate: Lady Godiva, Gruffydd ap Llywelyn and a Welsh/Mercian alliance, and of course the dramatic events of 1066. So will the Saxons go out on a high or is Ealdgyth another queen who will remain lost to history?
With Edith of Wessex we come to the dramatic events of 1066 and the fall of the Anglo-Saxons. Edith was the daughter of the powerful earldoman, Godwin, sister to Harold Godwinson and queen consort to Edward the Confessor. Things got off to a shaky start with Edward, but Edith was able to establish herself as a powerful figure at court and tried to position herself for the succession. But when 1066 throws everything into chaos, will Edith be able to ride out the storm?
When is a consort not a consort? When she's Ælfgifu of Northampton! Ælfgifu was married to Cnut while he was king but it was his other wife, Emma of Normandy, who was considered the consort. We decide to take a look at events from Ælfgifu's perspective, revealing a remarkable woman who was for a long time Emma's chief rival, with her dramatic life taking her from a powerful midlands dynasty all across Cnut's North Sea Empire and back again in a battle for dominance. But does she count as a consort and does she deserve the Rex Factor?
Emma takes us from the dark days of Vikings invasions under Æthelred the Unready to the threshold of 1066. Her remarkable and dramatic life saw her twice be Queen Consort, Queen Stepmother and Queen Mother! Emma was often forced to fight to retain her power as England veered between Saxon and Danish rule, but would she do enough to come out on top and gain the Rex Factor?
We're back with the Saxons this week, reviewing Ealdgyth, consort to Edmund Ironside. Ealdgyth was from a prominent midlands family who fell out with King Æthelred the Unready in the difficult period of Viking invasions. We find out how these family links drove her into both danger and power amidst Saxon division and Viking invaders and decide what role she might have played in the. chaotic years of 1013-16.
We take a brief diversion from the Saxons to investigate the Viking consort of Sweyn Forkbeard, Sigrid the Haughty. Or is it? There is much debate about the true identity of Sweyn's wife (or wives) and whether Sigrid even existed at all as much of what we know of her comes from the Icelandic sagas. To help us unpack all of this and learn more about the sagas, we are joined by John and Andy from the Saga Thing podcast. Was Sigrid really Sweyn's wife? Did she really exist? And, most important of all, does she have the Rex Factor?
Saga Thing is a podcast reviewing all the sagas of the Icelanders which you can find here https://sagathingpodcast.wordpress.com
John Churchill is arguably Britain's greatest ever general but there was much more to his life than that. Born a year after the execution of Charles I, he started his career at the hedonistic court of Charles II, was a key figure in the Glorious Revolution, dabbled with the Jacobite cause and was not only the commander of Queen Anne's army but also one of the key figures in her government for most of the reign. We look at his life as a whole as well as famous victories such as the Battle of Blenheim.
We've back from a summer break! In this catch-up episode we explain why we've been busy (real life), read out some of your correspondence AND have an announcement about Rex Factor: The Animated Show.
Without wanting to spoil the episode, we're asking you to help choose which queen (regnant) we should do next. The poll is open now and you just have one week (until Friday 13 September) to make your pick! Vote using the link below:
It's fair to say that we don't know quite as much about Æthelred the Unready's first consort, Ælfgifu of York, as we do about his mother (Ælfthryth) nor indeed his second consort (Emma of Normandy). We pick through what we can find about her and consider why there isn't more to go on.
Ælfthryth was Edgar the Peaceable's third consort but England's first crowned and anointed queen. By building alliances in the church, she was able to raise the office of queenship higher than anything enjoyed by her predecessors and was one of the most influential figures at court. However, she would still face a battle to get her son on the throne, not least from everyone's favourite (and seemingly indestructible) archbishop, Dunstan. Could she fend off the patron saint of fun sponges and win the Rex Factor?