Many of us have no problem remembering who Louis IX is. But do we really know about the woman who crushed his crusade attempt in Egypt? Shagrat Al Durr was known as the woman ‘behind the throne.’ Her husband was a great leader, but when he grew ill and died, she hid his death and continued advising troops on her own. Eventually, his death was discovered, but Al Durr did not just shrink away. No, she took the throne herself and in doing so, sent a devastating blow to would-be conquerors.
However, at the time Egypt was under the rule of the Caliph of Baghdad. Unhappy with a female running the show, the Caliph sent over his own ruler, Aibak. Shagrat reluctantly agreed to step down, but refused to let it end there. She seduces Aibak, marries him and because she had far more knowledge of administration and rule, essentially ran the empire for another seven years.
Today her honor and memory lives on as her bones were transported to a mosque in Egypt that was later named in her honor.