Eadgifu, Anglo-Saxon Queen

M

The Freelance History Writer

Picture of Queen Eadgifu from "The Saxon Cathedral at Canterbury and The Saxon Saints Buried Therein" Picture of Queen Eadgifu from “The Saxon Cathedral at Canterbury and The Saxon Saints Buried Therein”

What little historical records we have pertaining to Queen Eadgifu tell us she exercised considerable power. She was the third wife of Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great. While she didn’t have much prominence during the life of her husband or her stepson Aethelstan, she came to exert her influence during the reigns of her sons and grandsons. She was the first important queen of the tenth century due to her landed interests and to her role in the family politics of the time.

The best estimate of a birthdate for Eadgifu is c. 901. She was the daughter of Ealdorman Sigehelm of Kent. She owned extensive and widespread landholdings in Kent and held Minster in Thanet, and possibly Ely. Edward the Elder had been living with a woman named Ecgwynn…

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