So remember Æthelred the Unready?
So this loser ended up marrying a total babe named Emma of Normandy. She’s kiiiiiiiind of like Margaery Tyrell?
(Brief Analysis: In this high definition depiction of the queen, we can see that Emma declined matching Æthelred’s utilitarian bronze pot headgear, opting for a more fanciful hat with wings. We can also see that Emma’s suitors (shhh I know they are clergymen) managed to overlook her disproportionately large right hand and the fact that she was illiterate and presenting them with fake writing squiggles–all evidence that she must have been a total hottie with a great sense of humour #arthistory)
Anyway, to strengthen England’s alliance with Normandy, Emma was forced to wed the Unready–who cruelly renamed her Ælfgifu in order to raise her Anglo-Saxon street cred. Despite Æthelred’s impotence (reader-response criticism, loose cinematic interpretation, total lie made up by me and I’m sure he wasn’t actually impotent), they managed to have a couple of sons and a daughter, but Emma/Ælfgifu clearly just wasn’t that into Æthelred.
Mercifully, Æthelred died pretty young, and guess who rolled into town to take over his kingdom in 1016?! None other than this sexy ass Dane, Cnut the Conqueror! (pronounced ka-newt)
(I picture all Viking-esque characters as Eric Northman.) (Gulps more wine.) So it’s clear to see why Emma tore off her widow’s robes and quickly married Cnut (potentially his hotness…possibly her ambition………most probably some other horrible reason not based at all on romance and muscles.)
Whatever the reason (because he looked like Eric Northman/Tarzan and was awesome), Emma did eventually seem to majorly prefer Cnut (son of Sweyn Forkbeard) to her former husband Æthelred and she exhibited obvious favourtism towards her Cnut-rendered offspring/potential treachery towards her Æthelred offspring. It seems to me (and my podcaster and other historians) that Emma and Cnut had genuine affection for each other, and upon Cnut’s death, Emma championed their son Harthacnut to the throne. Beyond merely ignoring Alfred and Edward (her sons with Æthelred) some folks believe that Emma even had a hand in luring Alfred back to England and subsequently subjecting him to being brutally blinded (and dying shortly thereafter of his wounds!) Murrrrrrrrrrrrrrder most foul! And later when Harthacnut died, Emma actually paid money to try and prevent her son Edward from ascending to the throne. Thanks, Mom!
Why she was so anti her Æthelred sons, we’ll never know for sure–but I choose to believe that it’s because Emma’s king-hopping love for Cnut was one for the ages.
Phewf, that was a bit of a whirlwind tour! Questions?!
It’s not terribly clever or obscure, but today’s Weekes Word suits my current mood.
Acrimony: from the Latin acrimonia and French acrimonie, entering English usage in the mid-16th century as ‘bitter taste or smell’ and now more generally meaning bitterness or ill feeling. Ex: All historians agree that Emma’s acrimonious affection towards her husband Æthelred and his sons can be easily attributed to his unquestionable rubbishness.
xWG // #dazeandweekes