Having a woman rule would be as unnatural as having a hen crow like a rooster at daybreak. Helen Castor examines the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor was the wealthiest woman in 12th Century Europe and is the only woman to have been both queen of England and France. Heiress to the prosperous Duchy of Aquitaine, Eleanor ruled the whole of south-west France. She also accompanied Louis on the Second Crusade. When she failed to provide a male heir to the French throne her marriage was annulled.
Pitiful and pitied by no one, why have I come to the ignominy of this detestable old age, who was ruler of two kingdoms, mother of two kings?
Bata Becomes A Pharaoh
Amanda Foreman looks at how Elizabeth I used language. However she famously refused to marry and share power with a husband, claiming instead she was married to England. Elizabeth used her femininity to unite her supporters against Catholic enemies at home and abroad. In when the Spanish Armada threatened to invade England, she successfully rallied her troops to defeat it. Amanda Foreman explains the legacy of Empress Nur Jahan.
The 20th wife of Emperor Jahangir, Nur Jahan became his chief consort and issued royal decrees in her own name. Forced to live in purdah to keep her away from prying male eyes, Nur Jahan would whisper instructions to her incompetent husband from behind a screen. She used connections with noble women in other Asian countries as a new means of international diplomacy, building commerce and trade for the Mughal Empire.
His wife, who knows so well how to manage him that she obtains whatever she asks for or desires, gets always 'yes,' and hardly ever 'no'. Catherine was a minor German princess who married the heir to the Russian throne, Tsar Peter III, who turned out to be mentally unstable.
When the Tsar was assassinated after only two years in power, Catherine assumed command of Russia. Helped by her lovers Giorgy Orlov and Giorogy Potemkin, she conquered the Ukraine extending the Russian empire to the shores of the strategically important Black Sea.
Joseph| Jewish Virtual Library
She gave the nobility greater powers following peasant unrest. She was called the grandmother of Europe because her nine children married into the royal and noble European families.
When her beloved husband Albert died in she went into 40 years of mourning. Victoria didn't think women should have the vote and called the suffragette movement "mad, wicked folly". As the British Empire expanded to cover quarter of the globe, she came to rule over more subjects than any other woman in history. Great events make me quiet and calm; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves. Margaret Thatcher became the first woman prime minister of Great Britain and gave her name to the ideology 'Thatcherism'. During her tenure the power of the trade unions was dramatically reduced, while much of the economy was opened to market forces.
She polarised the country, but remains a titanic figure in modern British history.
In politics, If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman. Andrew Marr examines the career of Angela Merkel.
The daughter of a pastor in the communist East Germany, Angela Merkel became the first female German head of government. Widely regarded as the most powerful leader in the European Union - even the most powerful women in the world today - she is admired for her use of diplomacy and compromise to resolve disputes both at home and abroad. She refuses to live in the elaborate Chancellery in Berlin, preferring a small flat nearby. Presented by Amanda Vickery.
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