Lady Godiva

Coventry, England

Lady Godiva was a pious noblewoman who married Leofric, the Earl of Mercia. She was a landowner in her own right and Coventry was one of her favourite properties.

Leofric had imposed a hated tax on his people and Lady Godiva reportedly stood up to him and demanded that he abolish the tax. He told her that she would have to ride through Coventry naked before he would change his mind.

Lady Godiva did ride through Coventry naked, surprising her husband so much that he abolished the tax. It is said that she was totally naked, with only her long blonde hair covering her body.

The residents of Coventry loved Lady Godiva so much that they stayed indoors with their windows shuttered so as to not see her naked. It is said that one man named Tom was the only person who dared look at her and he turned blind. This is where the term Peeping Tom originated from.

Lady Godiva was a hero for her people, showing care and selflessness by putting them before herself. She stood up to an oppressive husband and demanded he treat Coventry fairly. She put her dignity and honour at risk to save the common people.

Submitted by:
Cassandra Langdon




Harvard Magazine

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