Happy Saint Dunstan’s Day 2019! One of the joys of our new series on the English consorts is that by returning to the Saxons, Ali has once again been presented with the delights of Dunstan.
Dunstan was a remarkable figure from the Anglo-Saxon period, born in the reign of Edward the Elder, coming to court under Athelstan and then serving as a key advisor to Edmund I, Eadred, Edgar the Peaceable and Edward the Martyr before finally dying early in the reign of Æthelred the Unready. Dunstan incurred Ali’s ire by being the resident fun sponge at the Anglo-Saxon court, breaking up a ménage-à-trois for Edgar’s older brother Eadwig, forcing him to return to his coronation banquet when he would much rather have stayed put in his bedchamber. Dunstan was also very long-lived, meaning that while the Saxon kings kept dropping off their perch, Dunstan carried on and on and on…
When we reviewed all the kings and queens of Scots in our second series, Ali had not imagined that Dunstan would be making an appearance, but lo and behold he was there in the reign of Kenneth II, helping to organise a grand imperial ceremony where Edgar the Peaceable was rowed by various kings (including Kenneth) on the River Dee, as well as overseeing an alliance between Edgar and Kenneth. To celebrate his return, Graham surprised Ali with a special jingle, Everybody Loves Dunstan!
In our current series, reviewing all the queen and prince consorts of England, Dunstan has once again taken to the stage. Eadgifu, who was the second consort of Edward the Elder, achieved great prominence as the queen mother to Edmund I and Eadred, witnessing numerous charters and being a key adviser for her sons. She was also an early advocate of the monastic reform movement and thus was a patron of various reform figures including Dunstan. To celebrate his return to the podcast, Graham provided Ali with a new Dunstan jingle, Dunstan’s Back Again!