Simon MacLean
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Making a difference in tenth-century politics
King Athelstan’s sisters and Frankish queenship
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In the early years of the tenth century several Anglo-Saxon royal women, all daughters of King Edward the Elder of Wessex (899-924) and sisters (or half-sisters) of his son King Athelstan (924-39), were despatched across the Channel as brides for Frankish and Saxon rulers and aristocrats. This chapter addresses the fate of some of these women through an analysis of their political identities. In particular, it is concerned with the ways by which they sought to exercise power in kingdoms where they were outsiders. By directing attention to the outsider status of Athelstan's sisters, the chapter maps out some of the contours of queens' power in tenth-century Francia, identifying differences between them as well as similarities. It explores what it meant for Eadgifu that so many of her sisters were married to the continental big hitters of the day.

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The Franks and the world of the early middle ages

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