Famous Mothers in History

mayo 10th, 2016

In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a look at what seven famous historical moms did for their sons and daughters.

If there’s one constant throughout history, it’s the close relationship between mothers and their children. Though different historical periods and circumstances lead to different actions, mothers will always love, protect and fight for (and perhaps try to control) their offspring. In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a look at what seven famous historical moms did for their sons and daughters.



When it came to her son, Alexander the Great, Olympias was a mother whose support knew no bounds. Alexander was born in 356 B.C.E. to Olympias and Philip II of Macedon, who’d married in part to strengthen ties between Macedon and her home of Epirus. When Philip, who practiced polygamy, later took a young Macedonian wife, it was clear that a full-blooded Macedonian heir could threaten Alexander’s claim to the throne. After Philip was assassinated in 336 B.C.E., Olympias therefore came under suspicion for masterminding the killing (though there were plenty of other potential suspects). Whether or not she was behind her husband’s assassination, Olympias was likely responsible for the subsequent death of Philip’s new wife and baby.

Alexander succeeded his father and proceeded to expand the empire. As he did so, Olympias assisted her son by offering advice about policies and people in his circle (as a snake charmer who could make reptiles do as she wished, politics must have been a piece of cake for her). The one thing Olympias didn’t do was accompany Alexander on his military campaigns, but she probably wished she had — if she’d been on hand, perhaps her devotion could have prevented a 32-year-old Alexander’s untimely death from malaria in 323 B.C.E.

Anne Boleyn

Captura de pantalla 2016-05-10 a las 9.41.00Getting her head chopped off when her daughter, the future Elizabeth I, was only two years old, ensured thatAnne Boleyn didn’t have much to do with the girl’s upbringing. But Anne had already done an important thing for her daughter: because she’d managed to marry Elizabeth’s father,Henry VIII, it was possible for Elizabeth to eventually become queen.

In 1526, the married Henry wanted Anne to become his mistress (a position several women, including Anne’s sister, had already filled). Anne vetoed the mistress idea, thus setting in motion a chain of events that would alter English history: When the Pope wouldn’t annul Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, England broke away from the Catholic Church and Henry dissolved the marriage himself. Henry then secretly wed a pregnant Anne in 1533, and Elizabeth was proclaimed a princess when she was born.

If Anne had just been another mistress, Elizabeth would not have been included in Henry’s Third Act of Succession (1544). Though Elizabeth’s younger half-brother and older half-sister would hold the English throne before her, in 1558 she got her chance thanks to her mother.

Queen Victoria

Captura de pantalla 2016-05-10 a las 9.46.55Queen Victoria may have had a country to rule, but that didn’t keep her from trying to govern the lives of her offspring as well (her husband, Prince Albert, once accused her of holding “the mistaken notion the function of a mother is to be always correcting, scolding and ordering them about”). While all nine of her children had to cope with some interference — she didn’t trust the judgement of her heir, Bertie, and therefore wouldn’t let him see cabinet and state papers — it was her youngest child, Beatrice, who experienced the greatest level of control.

A widowed Victoria didn’t want Beatrice to leave her, so when the princess fell in love with and asked to marry Prince Henry of Battenberg, her mother wasn’t pleased. The queen gave her daughter the silent treatment for months, communicating solely by written note. Victoria finally relented and allowed the marriage to take place in 1885, but she also demanded that the couple live with her. Beatrice went along with this — after all, if your mother’s also your queen and sovereign, it’s hard to tell her “no.”

And in the end, Beatrice, Henry and Victoria were happy living together. In this case, maybe mom did know best.

Maria von Trapp

Captura de pantalla 2016-05-10 a las 9.48.49Though many of the details in the beloved musical The Sound of Music are wrong, one thing it gets right is Maria von Trapp’s love for the von Trapp children. In fact, she agreed to Georg von Trapp’s marriage proposal because in it he asked her to become his children’s second mother — she later admitted, “If he had only asked me to marry him I might not have said yes.” (Maria did grow to love her husband.)

It was lucky for the von Trapps that Maria married into their family in 1927. She managed to overcome their dire financial situation in the 1930s by getting them to take in boarders, cut expenses and start performing as a singing group. After the Nazi party came to power, a pregnant Maria helped her husband and their nine children — the seven von Trapp children she’d adopted, plus two youngsters she’d given birth to — leave Austria in 1938.

The real-life Maria was determined enough that she probably could’ve shepherded her family over the Alps, but the von Trapps didn’t follow the route depicted in the movie. Instead, using the excuse of a vacation, Maria and her family took a train to Italy.

Source: Biography Channel