Queens Consort of Westminster Abbey

Twenty-eight queens consort have been crowned in the Abbey over the last thousand years and each has their own fascinating history.

Every day in March you can find out more about the queens consort as we explore the lives of these remarkable women.

From 1 March, we'll be publishing a new story about the queens consort every day.

Today's Consort: Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages. She inherited vast estates and became queen of France when she married Louis VII in 1137. She was later crowned queen of England in the Abbey alongside her second husband, Henry II, in December 1154.

1. Matilda (wife of William I)

Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror. Her husband was crowned here on Christmas Day 1066 and her coronation followed in May 1068. The service asserted that she was divinely placed by God, shared in royal power, and blessed her people by her power and virtue.

2. Edith

Edith married Henry I in the Abbey on 11 November 1100 and was crowned queen at the end of the ceremony, taking the regnal name Matilda. She often acted as regent of England during her husband's frequent absences for military campaigns in France.

Following Matilda's death, Henry I married Adeliza of Louvain in January 1121 and she was crowned a week later. Although less involved in politics than Matilda, Adeliza was a great patron of the arts and literature, and supported the rise of French poetry in the English court.

Matilda (Edith, Mold, Matilda of Scotland) after unknown artist

© National Portrait Gallery, London [Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0]

3. Matilda (wife of Stephen)

A countess in her own right, Matilda of Boulogne was crowned queen of England on 22 March 1136. She had been pregnant when her husband, King Stephen, was crowned the previous December and joined him in England for her own coronation after giving birth to their son William.

Matilda of Boulogne, Queen of England (public domain)