She Wolves: England's Early Queens


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The medieval and Tudor world was built for and ruled by men. Women who sought to rule were vilified as “she-wolves.” Yet starting 800 years ago, a handful of extraordinary women decided they would wear England’s crown. In this captivating BBC series based on her book, historian Helen Castor explores the lives of seven English queens who challenged male power—and whether much has changed. 3 episodes, 1 DVD. SDH, viewer’s guide. From Athena.
Episode 1: Matilda and Eleanor
The first woman to attempt to claim the English throne, Matilda-daughter of Henry I, granddaughter of William the Conqueror-was hours from her coronation in 1141 when an angry mob chased her away. Her daughter-in-law, Eleanor of Aquitaine, led a rebellion against her own husband. Neither won the crown, but both ensured that the dynasty would continue.

Episode 2: Isabella and Margaret
Isabella and Margaret were both young French girls and political pawns when they were married to English kings: Isabella to Edward II in the 14th century, Margaret to Henry VI 100 years later. Isabella was accused of murder and Margaret of plunging England into the Wars of the Roses. Shakespeare later dubbed Margaret "She-wolf of France."

Episode 3: Jane, Mary and Elizabeth
In 1553, the death of a 15-year-old boy caused an unprecedented political crisis. Edward VI was Henry VIII's only male heir. For the first time in English history, all of the contenders for his crown were female: Lady Jane Grey, the staunchly Catholic Mary Tudor, and Elizabeth I, who showed how capably and gloriously a woman could rule.
  • 16-page viewer's guide with articles about the first she-wolf, the men who were the monarchs, women in common life, powerful women in history, and matriarchal societies
  • Biography of Helen Castor
Packaging: Single disc
Run Time: 185 minutes
Format: Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
Language: English
Subtitles: No
Color or B&W: Color
CC: No
SDH: Yes
Region Code: 1
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Rating: NR
“Captivating twists and shocking betrayals” —Radio Times (UK)

“Riveting” —The Times (UK)
Cambridge professor Dr. Helen Castor is a historian of medieval England, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Making History, and author of the award-winning book Blood & Roses.

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