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She Wolves: England's Early Queens

Premier :: 2012-03-07

Airs :: Wednesday 9:00pm on BBC Four

Genre :: Documentary

She Wolves: England's Early Queens poster


In the medieval and Tudor world there was no question in people's minds about the order of God's creation - men ruled and women didn't. A king was a warrior who literally fought to win power then battled to keep it. Yet despite everything that stood in their way, a handful of extraordinary women did attempt to rule medieval and Tudor England. In this series, historian Dr Helen Castor explores seven queens who challenged male power, the fierce reactions they provoked and whether the term 'she wolves' was deserved.

Latest Episode

Series 1 - Episode 3 - Jane, Mary and Elizabeth
Aired - 21 March 2012

Episode summary:

Helen Castor looks at what happened when England was faced not just with inadequate kings, but no kings at all. In 1553, for the first time in English history all the contenders for the crown were female. In the lives of these three Tudor queens - Jane, Mary and Elizabeth - she explores how each woman struggled in turn with wearing a crown that was made for a male head. Elizabeth I seemed to show that not only could a woman rule, but could do so gloriously. But at what cost?

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