Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 2019


Benes, Emily. Englands Happie Queene: Female Rulers in Early English History. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. May 2019.


Copyright Emily Benes 2019.


This paper examines the historical records and later literature surrounding three early mythic and historical British queens: Albina, mythic founder of Albion; Cordelia, pre-Roman queen regnant in British legend; and Boudica, the British leader of a first-century CE rebellion against the Romans. My work focuses on who these queens were, what powers they were given, and the mythos around them. I examine when they appear in the historical record and when their stories are expanded upon, and how those stories were influenced by the political culture of England through the early seventeenth century. In particular, I examine English attitudes toward cultivating a sense of national identity and the expectations of women, especially those with political power, within English society, and how these elements influence and inform the changes made to the stories of these queens. This project relies on primary sources from Roman histories written in the first century CE to English chronicles from the beginning of the Stuart era. I have also examined a handful of literary works, particularly plays and poetry, to survey the change in public presentation of these queens.