Matilda of Scotland, Queen of England

Fans of St. Margaret of Scotland, who made it into the Faithful Four in Lent Madness this year, might enjoy reading about her daughter, Matilda of Scotland, Queen of England. So will fans of strong women and feminist firsts:

For the 18 years of her marriage, [Matilda] was part of the king’s council and participated in policy decisions. Henry would name her head of the council when he traveled to Normandy to administer his dukedom there. She issued judgments and charters. Her family connections with her brothers in Scotland kept the two kingdoms at peace. The historians state she played a vital role in affairs of the kingdom. Her position amounted to being vice-regal. She was the deputy of the king, acting in his name. It is arguable but she may have been the one medieval queen to wield so much power. Matilda was very skilled and effective in persuading Henry to follow her advice and do her will and may have relished in her power. In 1111, there is affirmation of a seal used by Matilda to verify a document. This is the first use of a seal by a European Queen and a rare use of a seal by a queen-consort.

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5 Responses to Matilda of Scotland, Queen of England

  1. Susan Abernethy says:

    If you are interested in Saint Margaret, I also have a blog about her.

    • Thanks, Susan! And thanks for your blog – what a wonderful collection of inspiring women. I look forward to continuing to read there.

      • Susan Abernethy says:

        You’re so welcome gaudetetheology. I appreciate your blog too. My father had been an ordained Presbyterian minister for over 50 years!

  2. Theophrastus says:

    It is arguable but she may have been the one medieval queen to wield so much power.

    Surely this is not true — even in Britain. One thinks of Boudicca (certainly the most celebrated woman of pre-modern Britain!), Eleanor of Aquitaine, and (depending on when you think the medieval period extended to) Mary Queen of Scots.

    Of course there was Anna of Kiev, who brought Christianity to Russia.

    In Japan there were the eight empresses who ruled: Suiko, Kogyoku, Jito, Gemmei, Gensho, Koken, Meisho and Go-Sakuramachi.

    But by general agreement among historians, the most powerful queen in the medieval period was Theodora I, the great Byzantine Empress.

    It is worth noting that most of these women were significant religious figures as well.

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