Influential Women: Empowering Stories of Female Leaders
Throughout history, there have been women who reigned or held royal power and reshaped the fate of their kingdoms. You will learn about three of them here.
King Edward IV, a key political figure in the War of the Roses, fell in love with Elizabeth Woodville at first sight. At the time, Elizabeth was a widow with two children, and King Edward IV was about to get married to a French Princess. However, Edward and Elizabeth got married despite all odds, and she became Queen of England. A few years later, Edward died and his sons, who were going to inherit the throne, disappeared.
After this event, Edward's brother Richard became the King of England, and the population began to suspect that he had killed the two young princes. When Richard was killed in battle, Elizabeth's daughter married the new King (Henry Tudor) thus putting an end to the long-standing War of the Roses.
Catherine was one of the most powerful women in history, and as such, she was given the name "Catherine the Great". She was a German princess born in 1729, and as soon as she became a young woman, she was sent to marry Peter, the Emperor of Russia, for political reasons.
Peter wasn't kind to her, and it was a loveless story. He tried to get rid of her but she found out. After a while, he was assassinated and thus she became Empress of Russia.
In 1773, Cossack soldiers rebelled and organised to march on to Moscow but she stopped the rebellion and kept control of the empire. She expanded Russia's territory and became popular for promoting the arts and education. When she died, Russia stood stronger than ever.
Marie-Antoinette was the daughter of the Emperor of Austria. She was born in 1755 and when she turned 14, she was forced to marry Louis XVI, who was about to become King of France. The aim was to bring both countries, Austria and France, together. Finally, they got married and she became queen when she was only 19.
At that moment in history, France had many financial problems and she continued spending money on jewellery and dresses. Because of her mindless and extravagant way of spending money and resources at a time of economic crises, most of her French subjects were not fond of her.
In 1789, a revolution took place and four years later, King Louis XVI was killed and Marie-Antoinette was executed, ten months after her husband.
She was an infamous Queen of France.
She was the last Empress of Russia.
She was a famous Queen of England involved in the War of the Roses.