Queens Regnant – Ælfwynn, Lady of the Mercians

Helena Albright as Ælfwynn in The Last Kingdom (2015)(Screenshot/Fair Use)

Ælfwynn was born to Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians before her, and Æthelred but her date of birth is not recorded. She was probably born soon after her parents’ marriage, which happened between 882 and 887. It is possible that her mother was unable to have more children after a difficult birth. She first appears in contemporary accounts in 904 on a charter recording the lease of land. Her father died in 911 after which her mother was chosen as Lady of the Mercians.

Her mother was a daughter of Alfred the Great and thus related to the Kings of England. After her mother’s sudden death in June 918, Ælfwynn succeeded her as Lady of the Mercians. However, she lacked the broad support her mother had. Her uncle, King Edward the Elder of England removed her from power, and there was no opposition to this. He decided to send her to Wessex in December 918, but there is no record of her after her removal from power. It is likely that she entered the religious life.

Mercia was absorbed into the Kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons, later the Kingdom of England.

Recommended media

Jackson, Glenda M. (1999) Women Rulers Throughout the Ages. ISBN: 1576070913 (UK & US)

Zaluckyj, Sarah (2001), Mercia: The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Central England (UK & US)

About Moniek Bloks 2732 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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