܀ history meme :: and then some ܀ ladies [4/?] Emma of Normandy (c. 985 – 6 March 1052)
↳ Queen of England, Denmark and Norway
Daughter of Richard the Fearless, Duke of Normandy, and his wife Gunnora, Emma became twice Queen of England through her first marriage to Æthelred the Unready and then Cnut the Great (with whom she subsequently became Queen of Denmark and Norway). By Æthelred, she had Edward the Confessor, Alfred and a daughter called Goda and with Cnut she had Harthacnut and Gunhilda, and she became a particularly prominent figure during the reigns of her sons.
After the death of Cnut, Emma supported her son Harthacnut when Cnut’s son with his first wife, Harold, became king. He had Emma and her sons sent into exile where Emma planned with her son an invasion to put him on the throne. However, after a short and brutish reign, Harold died and Harthacnut became king of England. Emma had an active role in governing the state until Edward was called back from exile by his brother and subsequently took over when Harthacnut died. The relationship Edward had with his mother has been noted by chroniclers as strained and that Edward had little affection for her as she preferred her children by Cnut. In one instance, Edward stripped his mother of her property only to have it restored to her after at influence of bishops that were loyal to Emma. She died during Edward’s reign and was buried at Winchester Cathedral.
Apart from her children, another part of her legacy was the Encomium Emmae Reginae which was commissioned by Emma and focuses upon her life with Cnut and the rise of her sons. Biased as it is, it offers insight how it was used as a political tool and to the practices and shaping of early medieval queenship.