In Honor of Women’s History Month, I want to highlight three women from history, that are my personal favorites:
Cleopatra, Pharoah of Egypt, Queen Elizabeth I of England, and First Lady Anna Elenore Roosevelt.
I find these three powerful women earth-shaking and world altering. Their strength taught me from an early age, what a strong woman looks like and what she is capable of, no matter what society, like Mad Men, would have us think.
This being said, there are plenty of women in history that I look up to, like Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, Jane Austen, Marie Curie, Catherine The Great, Susan B. Anthony and many more. These are women that come to mind when I feel stuck and don’t know where to turn.
What these amazing women have in common is Perseverance and Determination. I’ve learned that this is what it takes to unlock the door to one’s power.
You talk about before her time, Cleopatra was the last Egyptian Pharoah; 5 BC-30 BC; She ruled 21 years until her death at 39. She was Greek not Egyptian and the product of incest. Her parents were brother and sister. Amazingly she wasn’t crazy, like many rulers that married their siblings. A good example was Nero.
Did you know that Cleo spoke 12 languages, was a powerful Politian, a scholar, an author, and a mathematician? In the looks department, Elizabeth Taylor she wasn’t. Her intellect was matched by none and it’s said her voice, charm, and theatrics was what seduced Julius Cesar and Mark Anthony; the most powerful men in Rome. What she lacked in looks, she made up for with wit and intellect.
Cleopatra was of small stature, but commanded respect in her armor as she led her warships into battle. She was fearless and said to have taken her own life rather than be captured by the enemy. It was her skill as a ruler that brought Egypt its wealth and independence.
Then there was Elizabeth I, ruler of England for 45 years; 1558-1603. Liz is my personal favorite, even though she had her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots beheaded. Not nice to kill the ones you love, but there was no room for rivals under any circumstance.
Elizabeth was the best dressed royal in England’s history. She spent a fortune on her wardrobe. She believed in the saying, “Dress for Success.” It was crucial to not only act the part, but to look the part. Her gowns were extravagant; covered in pearls and embroidered in gold. A woman after my heart. Her incredible gowns symbolized England’s wealth and power. For Elizabeth, it was all about keeping England strong, independent, and prosperous. Unfortunately, after her death, her hundreds of gowns were taken apart and sold. None remain today. Damn, that would be an exhibit I wouldn’t miss.
Elizabeth was said to be the greatest monarch that had ever ruled England. A side note is she never signed her name at the bottom of any correspondence because she believed it was beneath her, literally, to do that. She always signed at the top of documents.
Queen Elizabeth I, saved England from many attempted invasions by being shrewd, courageous, and majestic. She was said to have had the temper of her father, King Henry VIII and you know how mad he could get… like beheading his wife, Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, in order to marry another. Elizabeth was only three years old and never spoke of her mother when asked.
Elizabeth I was the Virgin Queen that had many lovers. She never married due to her unwillingness to compromise her power. She knew better. She died at 69.
Lastly, there is Anna Elenore Roosevelt or just Elenore Roosevelt, the longest serving first lady in our history; twelve years, 1933-1945. She was a tireless advocate for Human and Civil rights. Her humanitarian efforts after WW II, saved many European refugees by allowing them to come to America and begin a new life. She was a staunch defender of the rights of African Americans. As First Lady, she traveled around the world promoting Universal Human Rights.
Elenore’s popularity was worldwide. She was the most admired and powerful women of her time. She died at 78 while still advocating for liberal causes in the Democratic party. She worked nonstop championing her causes and still managed to write twenty-seven books.
Her greatest heartache was finding out early in her marriage to Franklin D. Roosevelt, that he was in love with another woman, Lucy Mercer, who was at his bedside when he died. I believe Elenore’s humanitarian causes, helped heal her heart.
These women were complicated and far from perfect, with maybe the exception of Elenore Roosevelt, but what they did have in common was their strong belief in what they were fighting for. All three gave up personal happiness for the greater good of their countries. They were not only strong, but resilient and unwavering. If women were handed the political reins today, l believe you’d see a better world.