Who was Lady Godiva?

lady godivaIf you like rock music, you must have heard Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen, the song where Freddy Mercury sings “I’m a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva”. But who is this Lady Godiva? You can learn it from this post.Lady Godiva lived in 11th-century England and was the wife of a guy named Leofric, Earl of Mercia. Legend has it that Leofric had taxed the people of Coventry heavily. People had been pleading for lessening the tax burden in vain, Leofric wasn’t really moved. However, Godiva took the side of the people and urged her husband for relief. According to the accounts of the 13th-century chronicler, Roger of Wendower, Leofric stated that he would only do such a thing if his wife rode across Coventry, in sight of the people.

Lady Godiva accepted the challenge and got on her horse – wearing a birthday suit as his husband had commanded -, only her long hair covering her naked body and rode across the town. As the story goes, nobody saw her, which Leofric regarded as a miracle, so he kept his promise. Though I think the real reason behind it was that he was bothered by the fact that his spouse was that bold. Seriously, what man is happy about his wife riding a naked horse riding a horse naked, exposing herself to the world?

lady godivaThroughout history, Godiva’s story has been embellished and in the 17th century, a voyeur, named Peeping Tom, was added – he was the only one who, peeping from a window, saw her lady take her famous ride. Many historians doubt that Godiva’s story really happened. Whether it’s a myth or a true story, I think Godiva is an extraordinary character. At the beginning of the story, she’s an obedient wife, then she bravely takes on her husband’s challenge to help her people.

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What do you think about Godiva’s story?

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