Celebrate the famous women born in Norfolk and Suffolk this International Women’s Day

Princess Diana visits Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk in April 1989

Princess Diana visits Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk in April 1989 - Credit: Archant Library

The theme of this year's International Women’s day is Choose to Challenge. So, in the spirit of Challenge here are some fantastic famous women from Norfolk and Suffolk who either defied societal expectations or have had tremendous success in their field.

Diana Princess of Wales

Princess Diana visits Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk in April 1989

Princess Diana visits Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk in April 1989 - Credit: Archant Library

Born in Sandringham in Norfolk, Diana is fondly referred to as the ‘People’s Princess’ and over 20 years since her untimely death her legacy still lives on.

Diana's glamourous style and generous nature made her an international icon, she graced the covers of the world's biggest magazines and was subjected to immense media scrutiny all of which she faced humbly. Also, it was her vulnerability and relatability that endeared her to the British public and as a result made the royal family more accessible to the masses. 

Boudica  

Known to the world as the warrior queen of the Iceni tribe who resisted Roman invasion by leading a revolt in 60CE, Boudica is something of a British legend as much of her life is unknown, and what we do know lingers in the space between fact and fiction.   

It is unknown where Boudica was born but as she married Prasutagus, the King of the Iceni tribe who originate in Norfolk she has become synonymous with the county.  

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Maggi Hambling  

Maggi Hambling on Aldeburgh beach, Suffolk in 2006.

Maggi Hambling on Aldeburgh beach, Suffolk in 2006. - Credit: Jerry Turner

Hambling was born in Sudbury and in 1980 became the first artist in residence at the National Gallery.

While principally a painter working in oil since the 70’s it is for controversial sculptures that she is perhaps most well-known. A Conversation with Oscar Wilde, A Sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft and Scallop are the sculptures in question. The latter, Scallop is a memorial to Suffolk born composer Benjamin Britten and can be found on the Aldeburgh Beach.  

Anne Boleyn  

Portrait of Anne Boleyn

Portrait of Anne Boleyn - Credit: Archant Library

It is not actually known when or where Anne was born but it is widely accepted that she was born in 1507 at the family estate of Blickling Hall in Norfolk. 

Anne Boleyn is arguably one of the most influential women in the History of England. To marry Boleyn Henry VIII severed ties with the Vatican and created Protestantism which would change the very fabric of culture in England forever. She also gave birth to Queen Elizabeth I; the most iconic monarch England has ever seen.  

Dame Millicent Fawcett 

Milliecent Fawcett. Photo: United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs/Wikipedia

Milliecent Fawcett. Photo: United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs/Wikipedia - Credit: Archant

Politician and activist Millicent Fawcett was born in Aldeburgh. Fawcett is in part responsible for helping women to gain the vote in 1918 due to her leadership of Britain’s largest women’s rights group the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.

In 2018, she was the first woman honoured with a statue in Parliament Square in London.  

Click the link for more information about International Women's Day 2021 and how you can participate https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

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