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Queen Boudicca, also known as Boadicea, who fought the Romans in Britain in the 1st century AD after they plundered her kingdom and raped her daughters

I’ve alluded to my recent conversation with up-and-coming entrepreneur Ashish Garg, who attended a British grammar school in Uttar Pradesh, India, and did so well there and at his secondary school that he was invited to join a high-tech company in San Jose. I will say more about Ashish’s compelling ideas, but I’d like to mention one of his observations, which I think is significant for Brits at their best.

Ashish noted the number of Queens who had ruled Britain, and wondered what made their rule possible. As we mention in Liberty! The Timeline, as early as the 1st century AD the Roman historian Tacitus had noticed something similar: “The British make no distinctions of sex when appointing commanders” (Agricola).

Queens who ruled in Britain include Queen Matilda, also known as Maud, Mary, Elizabeth I, Anne, and Victoria. Elizabeth II rules today, and was the first monarch whose Prime Minister was a woman. The first Elizabeth and Victoria made such an impression they had ages – the Elizabethan and Victorian – named after them. British men were not swift in giving women the vote, as Emmeline Pankhurst would be the first to attest, but they have had great women at the helm, and over the centuries British women have had scope to act.

All those strong and interesting women on and off the throne have been fundamental to Brits at their best. And British men knew it. They have always been intensely practical, and, if Shakespeare is any guide, they have always been fascinated by heroines.

To read about some of them, see No Wonder They're Great If Their Women Are Like That and Baroness Cox.