History ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-15-2017


This thesis seeks to investigate the social roles of royal daughters in Anglo-Saxon England. The daughters of Anglo-Saxon kings were raised in monasteries or in the royal households of their parents, and were educated in accordance with their royal status. Through their marriages to the rulers of other kingdoms, royal daughters served as the primary vehicles by which Anglo-Saxon ruling dynasties made political alliances with their domestic and continental neighbors. Royal daughters could also be consecrated to the religious life; as nuns and abbesses of prominent monastic institutions, these women served their family’s spiritual interests and wielded substantial spiritual and political influence. In addition, royal daughters in Anglo-Saxon England were in some cases able to wield formal political power. As witnesses to the charters of their fathers and brothers, and, in a few rare cases, as candidates to succeed their fathers on the throne, royal daughters served as instrumental agents in Anglo-Saxon political administration. By examining the diverse roles of royal daughters in Anglo-Saxon society, this thesis argues that these women possessed a degree of power and social influence which was inherent in their status at birth, rather than entirely dependent on their marriages to powerful men.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Timothy Graham

Second Committee Member

Sarah Davis-Secord

Third Committee Member

Jonathan Davis-Secord



Document Type


Included in

History Commons