Five Medieval Queens You Should Know!

Today I wanted to share with my readers five medieval queens I feel that everyone should know about!   This is not a count down list of the five best, but rather just a list of amazing queens!   I have listed the queens chronologically.

Number 1: Matilda of Scotland (1080 –1118), Queen of Henry I of England

~Matilda is famous for being harsh and a bit scary.   She is the mother of Henry II of England, although interestingly not through her first marriage to King Henry, which was childless.    Henry II was born during her third marriage!

Number 2: Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 –1204), Queen of Louis VII of France and Henry II of England

~Eleanor is most famous for being the queen who had a court of love and who helped embrace the courtly love and chivalric traditions.   She is the only queen on this list to have been queen of both France and England.   She was in fact the daughter-in-law of Matilda because of her marriage to Henry II.   Her legacy can be seen in the literature of her day, and the continuing popularity of the Arthurian legends!

Number 3: Isabella (1295 –1358), She-Wolf of France, Queen of Edward II of England

~Isabella is seen as being a viscous woman who is hated by history, but her story is more nuanced than she is given credit for.   She deposed her husband to rule as regent of their son (King Edward III), and famously had an affair with Roger Mortimer!   Eventually when Edward III was 18 he asserted his power, executing Mortimer and having his mother arrested for two years.   She would go on to live the rest of her life in relative comfort.

Number 4: Margret of Anjou (1430 –1482), Queen of Henry VI of England

~She is another queen seen as a she-wolf.   She had a husband that was more suited to be a monk than a king, and tried to rule in his stead.   This made her hated by the English people.

Number 5: Elizabeth Woodville (1437–1492), Queen of Edward IV of England

~Elizabeth Woodville was born daughter of the former Duchess of Bedford and a knight named Woodville.   She went from having rather humble beginnings in an upstart family with noble roots to being the queen of England.    Edward IV is the first English king to marry for love, and to happily elevate his beautiful bride to the status of queen!     Elizabeth Woodville is also featured in other blog posts by me that were published during Love Week!

Note: I have chosen five queens that happen to have ruled England, but they were also not all English, Eleanor, Isabella, and Margret were all born French.    Matilda was born in Scotland.   Elizabeth Woodville is the only natural born Englishwoman, but her mother was born in Luxembourg and lived in France in her childhood.    All of these queens would have been impacted by their native lands and childhoods.

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a painting of Elizabeth Woodville.    I found it on, and they cite the painting like this: Unidentified painter – Found on — image taken of one of three original paintings at Windsor; Queen’s College, Cambridge; or Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Further Reading/Watching

  • Medieval Queenship edited by John Carmi Parsons
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life by Alison Weir
  • Queens of the Crusades: England’s Medieval Queens Book Two by Alison Weir
  • Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England by Alison Weir
  • The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir
  • The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors by Dan Jones
  • Elizabeth: England’s Slandered Queen by Arlene Okerlund
  • Edward IV & Elizabeth Woodville: A True Romance by Amy Licence
  • The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
  • The White Queen (2013)