Throughout history, many women have played an important role in the development of their country. These queens and princesses lived in different times and in different parts of the world, but each of them marked the destiny of their homeland and it is still felt today.
1. Lady Diana, the People’s Princess
It may be that no other princess can one day have the same global impact as Lady Diana Spencer. When Diana married Prince Charles, she was just 20, and the ceremony was dubbed “the wedding of the century.” However, what she left behind isn’t based exclusively on the dazzling wedding dress she wore.
The princess was able to balance the relationship that monarchs around the world had with the people, destroying the protocol that separated them and bringing them closer to the people. Her role as a mother, the empathy she showed for the less fortunate, her work in countless charities made her the most popular figure in the British royal family of her time.
Her sons William, Duke of Cambridge, and Harry, Duke of Sussex, both married for love and consider the upbringing and training they received from their mother the reason they seek to help those most in need. today.
2. Queen Victoria helped build an empire where the sun never sets
Victoria’s reign is the second longest in UK history, surpassed only by her great-great-great-granddaughter, the current Elizabeth II. Victoria ascends the throne when she is only 18 years old, the “Victorian era” is marked by the expansion of the British Empire. In 1877, she became the first Englishwoman to obtain the title of Empress of India. Moreover, at this time, England experienced great industrial, scientific and political advances; under his reign, the modern constitutional monarchy gradually took root in Great Britain.
Victoria married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The couple had nine children who, like twenty-six of their forty-two grandchildren, married different members of European royalty, creating bonds that unite most of the royal houses of this continent. This is why she has been nicknamed the “grandmother of Europe”.
Currently, five working monarchs are descendants of Victoria, including Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, King Harald V of Norway, King Charles XVI Gustav of Sweden, Queen Margaret II of Denmark, King Philip of Spain, and other European royalty.
3. Grace Kelly, the actress who became a princess
Grace Kelly was a well-known Hollywood actress who won an Oscar for her role in A Girl from the Province . However, at the age of 26, when she was at the height of her professional career, she decided to retire from acting. The young woman had met and fell in love with the sovereign prince of Monaco, Rainier III. This union gave new life to the small European principality. More than a thousand journalists from around the world attended the wedding, which helped make Monaco the multi-millionaire playground it is today.
After World War II, the principality was impoverished, but the arrival of the beautiful Grace attracted playboys from all over the world to invest their money. Monaco quickly became a glamorous place with many casinos where the wealthy spent their summer vacations, which was fundamental to reinvigorating Monaco’s economy.
The princess played an important role in the revaluation of Monaco. Grace served as president of the Red Cross and promoted a charity ball (the Rose Ball) that is still celebrated today.
4. Elizabeth I, the virgin queen
The second daughter of King Henry VIII inherited the throne of England after the death of her sister, the Catholic Queen Mary I, in 1558. Under her reign, Elizabeth I succeeded in transforming England into a Protestant country while her sister Marie had reconverted him to Catholicism. Thus, the Independent Protestant Church of Rome was established and eventually evolved into what is known today as the Church of England. It also proclaimed the subordination of the church to the crown, making the monarchy the highest authority. This led the Vatican to excommunicate Elisabeth.
Elizabeth I was the fifth and last ruler of the Tudor house. Although she received many marriage proposals and petitions from Parliament, she never married, so the people of England nicknamed her “the virgin queen” and admired her virginity. His reign is considered his country’s golden age , as this era saw true economic development and is considered the English Renaissance where great writers such as William Shakespeare made their appearance.
5. Anne Boleyn, the queen for whom Henry VIII opposed the church
Although it was her daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, who officially founded the Church of England which is still maintained in this country today, Anne Boleyn is the cause of this break with Catholicism. Anne was the lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon who, despite multiple pregnancies, had been unable to give her king a son. Disappointed by the absence of an heir, Henry VIII falls madly in love with Anne Boleyn and asks his wife for a divorce.
After the Catholic Church refused to annul his marriage, the king decided to sever relations with the Vatican and expelled Catherine and their daughter. Defying the pope, Henry married Anne in 1533, making her queen consort of England.
However, the romance was short-lived. Anne gave birth to a daughter (Elisabeth I) and Henri, again disappointed, lost interest in his wife, who was beheaded a few years later for treason, incest and adultery.
6. Nefertiti, the Egyptian queen who created political propaganda 3,000 years ago
Nefertiti lived around 3,500 years ago in ancient Egypt and her name means “beautiful has come”. She was the wife and right arm of Pharaoh Akhenaten. With her husband, she encouraged a religious revolution that aimed to replace polytheism with the worship of the sun god Aten. Thus began a new iconography that illustrated the private life of the royal couple, particularly focused on the complicity that the couple had with their daughters. Never before had court art depicted rulers in this way.
This method is known today as political propaganda. At that time, his goal was to witness the triumph of the god Aten over the other gods and to show the royal family as the intermediaries between the sun god and his people.
It was the first time that the image of an Egyptian queen was present in public and even private spaces, her figure was even found in several tombs of officials of the time. Historians today debate the possibility that Nefertiti was the mother of Tutankhamun, the last pharaoh of royal blood from the 18th dynasty of Egypt.
7. Princess Pingyang, her army was instrumental in founding a dynasty that lasted three centuries
The Disney movie, Mulan , is said to have been inspired by this Chinese princess. Pingyang was the third daughter of Li Yuan, Duke of Tang, who founded the Tang dynasty in 618 after rebelling against Emperor Yang of Sui. After Pingyang’s father was imprisoned, the young princess went into hiding and used her fortune to buy men’s loyalty. In addition, the woman managed to convince the leaders of rebel groups in several cities to join her cause.
Pingyang assembled an army of 70,000 men called the “Lady’s Army”. After reuniting with his father, they conquered the capital of Chang’an and the duke ascended the throne as the new emperor, forming a dynasty that would rule China for three centuries .
She officially became Princess Zhao of Pingyang and was the only woman to achieve the rank of field marshal. After her death, she was treated to a military funeral, worthy of an eminent general.
8. Mumtaz Mahal, the empress for whom one of the seven wonders of the world was built
Arjumand Banu Begum was a Persian princess when she met the future Emperor of India, Prince Sha Jahan. Arjumand became the fourth wife of Shah, who after her marriage gave her the title Mumtaz Mahal which means “the wonder of the palace”.
The emperor considered her the great love of his life. She accompanied him on his military campaigns through the Mughal Empire. It is said that the beauty of the empress was such that poets of that time constantly wrote about her. The couple had fourteen children, including the future emperor Aurangzeb, considered the last of the Great Mughals. After complications during her last pregnancy, Mumtaz died during childbirth.
The emperor, grieving over the death of his wife, retired from public life for a year and wore only mourning clothes. In honor of his love for his late wife, he began construction of the most beautiful mausoleum in history, the Taj Mahal. In 2007, it was ranked among the 7 wonders of the modern world.
9. Catherine, the Great Empress
Catherine became Empress in 1762 after a coup against her own husband Pierre. During her tenure, she expanded the Russian Empire after conquering New Russia, Crimea, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Courland. She also reformed public administration by introducing new legal ideas inspired by the Enlightenment.
Thanks to her, Russia was considered one of the most educated nations of her time, because Catherine increased the number of books and journals, while working for the strengthening of education, art, culture and medicine. During her 34 years in power, she succeeded in making Russia a military and political power.
Did you know these queens and princesses? Which of these stories surprised you the most? Tell us in the comments which of these women inspired you the most.