b. circa 872, England; d. 918, Tamworth, England
Aethelflaed was the daughter of King Alfred the Great of Wessex, a kingdom of Old England before the unification of 927. Around 886, she was married to Aethelred to create an alliance between Wessex and the kingdom of Mercia. She was the effective ruler of Mercia almost from the beginning of the marriage and, with her brother Edward the Elder, played a pivotal role in routing the Danes from eastern England. After her husband’s death in 911, she received the title “Lady of the Mercians.” A brilliant military strategist, she remained in the thick of battle against the Danes, capturing Derby and Leicester, until her death in 918.