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Her Storyline’s Top 30

In celebration of my recent 30th birthday, I wrote about Her Storyline’s top women. Here are just some words and short description of the top thirty off the top of my head. (Excuse the spacing.)

  1. Catherine of Braganza
    Sneaky. Will get justice. She’s so good, she’s bad.
  2. Charlotte Corday
    Oh, Charlotte, Charlotte. What to say? She was self-motivated and determined for sure!
  3. Jael

Oh Jael. Similar to Charlotte.

  1. Anne Neville

Ambitious. Innocent or guilty?

  1. Michal

Intelligent. Impressive. Miss America type intimidating.

  1. Margaret Jacobs

Setting yourself free. Honesty is the best policy.

  1. Marie-Therese

Tough. Survivor who’s generous and loyal. Daddy’s girl.

  1. Madam Elisabeth
    A bit on the wild side. Opinionated and selfless.
  2. Marie-Antoinette

Fun. Nice. Very strict. Like the two Bourbon women mentioned above, virtuous. Lived religion.

  1. Henrietta Barrett Cook
    If Jane Austen had a happy ending. Fighter. Love is a battle field.
  2. Vashti

Beautiful. Rockstar. Heroic. I admire when people stand up for what they believe in. Dignified.

  1. Ann Rule
    She’s saved my life. A couple times.
  2. Philippa Langley

Go for it! They’ll make a movie about it all fifty years from now. Rivals Anne Neville when it comes to guys.

  1. Rachel, the Poetess

Patriot. More powerful than realized. In tune with surroundings and sees beyond.

  1. Catherine of Aragon
    Too good for Henry.
  2. Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Influential. Though she had a bumpy life, she and the characters in her story make me smile.

  1. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist.
    Hardcore. I mean, come on—having a baby at her age? Please make a movie how her husband sacrificed himself for her and John—and then mother and son had to flee from danger!
  2. Mary, Mother of Jesus.
    So good and responsible and trusted. How did she raise the Son of God? And then raised other children? Awestruck. Her husband was a good man—one of the best. Lucky.
  3. Esther

Peaceful but still a fighter. If only her enemies knew the reputation of a Benjaminite and that she was one. Beware the Benjaminite. Don’t mess with people or causes they care about.

  1. Maria Ann Mozart
    Can we please include she was an influence on her brother? Seriously.
  2. Queen Elizabeth II
    She’s nearing 90, has reigned for over 53 years, and sent an email in the ’70s for crying out loud! Extraordinary! Even for us in the present, she beat the odds. The past would drop their jaws too. Take that, David!
  3. Merab
    So Michal had a sister…
  4. Pilate’s wife
    What’s her name?
  5. Martha of Bethany
    It’s cool to be a Martha. Jesus for sure is the greatest champion of women.
  6. Mary of Bethany
    More on her identity please? But I love Martha and Mary.
  7. Grandma Patten

Honored to have known her. Popular and influential. Hope I can do her proud.

  1. Phyllis Wheatley
    After school. Poetry opens up the heart and brain.
  2. Cassandra Austen

Shares he sister’s sense of humor.

  1. Anne Boleyn

Can I be honest here? I don’t really…hold her in high esteem.

  1. Little Mermaid

Okay—fictional character but still popular and relatable. People need to consider her true story.

Cooper_Queen-Catherine-of-Braganza (2)

She Lives With Angels: Others’ Views of Michal and Catherine

 

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Okay, since November 25 was Catherine of Braganza’ birthday, I decided to add another post about her…

If you look around my blog, you might discover that I’m writing a biography of Michal,King  David’s first wife, and the similarities she shares with other princesses. Now,  I don’t imagine Michal looking like any of those princesses.

The last princess I’d ever compare Michal to in physical appearance is Catherine of Braganza. As I was doing some online Michal research, I came across a website about biblical woman and was taken aback that the author, Elizabeth Fletcher, inserted Catherine’s portrait into a her Michal post.  Ironic, isn’t it?

rtiist: After Dirk Stoop

Catherine_of_Braganza, by (after) Dirk Stoop

I emailed her about my project and asked why she used Catherine’s picture. She responded:

“I used her face because the emotions on the Princess’s face seemed to sum up what Michal must have felt…I see sadness, real grief and the beginning of wisdom/understanding in the Princess’ face, even though she is so young. It is a subtly tragic face, and no other image I’ve seen fitted Michal so well.”

That makes sense.  Neither princess foresaw the struggles they’d face. Dirk Stoop’s painting of Catherine before her marriage to Charles screams naïve.

It would be a mistake, however, to judge the two women solely on that portrait. As I mentioned in my earlier post about Catherine , you can see her story unfold with her further portraits.  She transformed from a neglected princess bride into a calculating queen. I cannot rule out, though, both princesses might have carried a certain sadness described by Ms. Fletcher.

Did Catherine ever view herself as Michal?  Neither produced an heir, and both saw their husband as father to many. Even if she didn’t, others made a connection during her lifetime.

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I was surprised to discover John Dryden and Nahum Tate’s 1681/82 allegory poem, “Absalom and Achitophel” in which they based Michal off of Catherine. Michal/Catherine gets one of the more favorable edits:

Such was the charge on pious Michal brought
Michal, that ne’er was cruel e’en in thought.
The best of queens, the most obedient wife,
Impeached of cursed designs on David’s life,
‘Tis scares so much his guardian angel’s care.
Not summer morns such mildness can disclose
The Hermon lily and the Sharon rose,
Neglecting each vain pop of majesty,
Transported Michal feeds her thoughts on high;
She lives with angels, and as angels do,
Quits heaven sometimes to bless the world below,
Where, cherished by her bounty’s plenteous spring,
Reviving widows smile and orphans sing

Whether the two women can be considered angels, the stanza lets the reader know the risks they took to help others.

It’s a relief I’m not the only one to remember and liken Michal to figures thousands of years after her death.

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