ATHELFLAED, LADY OF THE MERCIANS:
AETHELFLAED (r. 911-918 CE) was the daughter of King Alfred the Great of Wessex (r. 871-899 CE) and became queen of Mercia following the death of her husband Aethelred, Lord of the Mercians (r. 881-911 CE). She is best known as the “Lady of the Mercians” who defeated the Vikings and established English rule which would be consolidated by her brother Edward the Elder (r. 899-924 CE) and lay the foundation for the reign of the first recognized English king, Aethelstan, who was king of the Anglo-Saxons 924-927 CE and King of the English 927-939 CE.
Her reign was so effective that she would eclipse those of contemporaries such as her brother Edward the Elder in Wessex and, in her own time, she seems to have been more widely respected than even her famous father. Aethelflaed continued the policies initiated by Alfred in accord with Aethelred but, after her husband’s death, ruled on her own as she orchestrated the policies and practices which resulted in diminishing the power of the Danes in Britain and allowed for unification of the land under Edward and later Aethelstan.