Episode 1: Matilda and Eleanor
The first woman to attempt to claim the English throne, Matildadaughter of Henry I, granddaughter of William the Conquerorwas hours from her coronation in 1141 when an angry mob chased her away. Her daughter-in-law, Eleanor of Aquitaine, led a rebellion against her own husband. Neither won the crown, but both ensured that the dynasty would continue.
Episode 2: Isabella and Margaret
Isabella and Margaret were both young French girls and political pawns when they were married to English kings: Isabella to Edward II in the 14th century, Margaret to Henry VI 100 years later. Isabella was accused of murder and Margaret of plunging England into the Wars of the Roses. Shakespeare later dubbed Margaret “She-wolf of France.”
Episode 3: Jane, Mary and Elizabeth
In 1553, the death of a 15-year-old boy caused an unprecedented political crisis. Edward VI was Henry VIII’s only male heir. For the first time in English history, all of the contenders for his crown were female: Lady Jane Grey, the staunchly Catholic Mary Tudor, and Elizabeth I, who showed how capably and gloriously a woman could rule.