Very little is known of Queen Boudica’s early life. It is believed that she was trained, as most Celtic women were, to be a warrior. But it is her later life that is of most interest. Wife to King Prasutagus with whom she had two daughters, Queen Boudica, ruler of the Iceni Tribe, is one of history’s most fierce and important women. What is now Norfolk was home to Queen Boudica, who once was an independent ally of Rome before her foolish husband attempted to curry favor with the Romans.
His plan to name both his daughters and the Roman Emperor joint beneficiaries of his kingdom backfired upon his death. His will was ignored; Boudica was betrayed, their kingdom seized, and many of their people were treated worse than slaves. And so, in what we now call the Boudican Revolt, which occurred in 60-61 AD, Queen Boudica lead a rage fulled rebellion that was comprised of the Iceni Tribe, the Trinovantes, and other unnamed Tribes; the Britons.
Queen Boudica’s army took back the Trinovantes capital, Camulodunum (modern Colchester), which had become a Roman settlement. This drew the attention of the Roman Governor Suetonious, who had been a key player in turning the Britons against Rome through his cruelty and in the name of fealty to his people. Aware that fighting the Britons at their next planned battleground could prematurely signal victory for the other side, Suetonious abandoned Londinium (modern London). The brutality of Queen Boudica and her army was continued in their attack of Verulamium (modern day St Albans) while Suetonious gathered his army. Queen Boudica and her army had won the battles, but would they win the war?
Suetonius and his forces, vastly outnumbered by the opposition’s army, stood at the battle of Watling Street; and won. The Britons suffered a great loss, being overcome by the Romans’ more advanced war tactics, and losing what is to be believed around 80,000 of their force. The Romans, on the other hand, lost only 400, and a way out for Britons was unimaginable. What became of her remaining people would have been death or slavery, with no indication made on what happened to her daughters. The exact knowledge of the cause of Queen Boudica’s death is murky. But it is believed that she was 31 when she died; not long after her final battle. Whether through poison ingested at her hand, or by illness, the Romans did not get to claim her death as their victory.
Her story has lived on, inspiring many, from artists to writers, women and men alike. There are movies and tv shows about the Warrior Queen available to watch, but here are a few that you can check out. Tv special Warrior Queen Boudica; movie Warrior Queen; and book series Dreaming the Eagle.