5 historical castles built and ruled by women

AAlexandra December 12, 2023 7:01 AM

When we think of castles, we often picture a valiant knight or a wise king. But throughout history, there have been numerous castles built and ruled by women. These female leaders made significant contributions to their kingdoms and the architectural world. Let's dive into the stories of these impressive women and their castles.

1. Castle of Mey - Queen Mother Elizabeth

Built in the 16th century, the Castle of Mey was owned by the Queen Mother Elizabeth for nearly fifty years. She fell in love with the castle during a visit to Scotland and decided to purchase and restore it. Under her ownership, the castle flourished, becoming a popular tourist destination in Scotland.

2. Château de Chenonceau - Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de' Medici

The Château de Chenonceau is a true testament to the skill and vision of women. Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of King Henry II, was given the château and she built the arched bridge across the river. However, after King Henry's death, his wife Catherine de' Medici forced Diane to exchange it for the Château Chaumont. Catherine then added a gallery on top of the bridge, transforming the château into a stunning architectural masterpiece.

3. Castle Stalker - Lady Stewart

Castle Stalker, located in Scotland, is linked to a formidable woman named Lady Stewart. She successfully laid siege to the castle in the 1440s, proving her strategic skills and leadership.

4. Hever Castle - Anne Boleyn

Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII. Anne's influence is still visible in the castle's design and decoration, making it a must-visit site for history buffs.

5. Castle Leoch - Lady MacKenzie

Fictional Castle Leoch from the popular TV series Outlander was ruled by Lady MacKenzie. The castle, however, is based on the real-life Doune Castle – a medieval stronghold in Scotland.

To sum up, here's a quick overview:

Castle Woman Associated
Castle of Mey Queen Mother Elizabeth
Château de Chenonceau Diane de Poitiers & Catherine de' Medici
Castle Stalker Lady Stewart
Hever Castle Anne Boleyn
Castle Leoch Lady MacKenzie

These castles serve as enduring symbols of feminine power in a predominantly male-dominated era. Despite the obstacles they faced, these women used their influence, creativity, and determination to leave their mark on history.

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