Arthur's Three Great Queens:
  • Gwenhwyfar daughter of (Cywryd) Gwent,
  • and Gwenhwyfar daughter of Gwythyr son of Greidiawl,
  • and Gwenhwyfar daughter of Gogfran the Giant.

There has long been a tradition of the Goddess of Sovereignty (Welsh: Pendardun--wife of Llyr) being a trinity: for instance, in Irish myth, there is Eriu, Fodhla, and Banbha, who are triplet sisters and queens of Ireland; the three Brigits; the Morrighan, who is Babdh, Macha, and Nemain; and so on. Now, "Morrighan" means "Great Queen" or "Phantom Queen"; "Rhiannon" is the Welsh for "Great Queen," and she appears in the Four Branches of the Mabinogi, and "Gwenhwyfar" is thought to come from "White Phantom," cognate to the Irish figure Findabar, daughter of Mebd.

It is safe to assume, then, that Gwenhwyfar is a manifestation of this trinitarian goddess of sovereingty. Moreover, in some romances, it is said that there are at least two Gueneveres--the true one, and her evil twin, who locks the true one away, but is later murdered, leaving the true Guenevere to be restored.

The father of the third Gwenhwyfar--Gogfran Gawr--is thought to be a version of Bran/Bendigedfran, since his name can be translated as Bran the Giant, and Bran is described as being a giant.

Back to the Welsh Triads.