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Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens Hardcover – 9 Oct 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; 1 edition (9 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297852612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297852612
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.5 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 175,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


a highly readable book.. it has a good story to tell (Michael Prestwich BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE)

Critic's Choice: "a procession of Mathildas, Isabelles, Elizabeths and Eleanors who were, as Hilton shows, more than mere corollaries of their husbands" (Lucy Moore DAILY MAIL)

Reading this stimulating pageant of a book.. one frequently shudders at the fate of women in bygone ages (Antonia Fraser MAIL ON SUNDAY)

a fascinating read (CHOICE)

as Hilton displays so effectively through the depth of her research, no two queens were the same.. a fascinating read (Mary Fitzgerald NEW STATESMAN)

why should the men get all the credit? Hilton redresses the imbalance in this absorbing study of 20 queens (TATLER)

Lisa Hilton's corrective Queens Consort illuminates these 20 lives. (Helen Brown DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Juicy tome exploring what it really meant to be married to a medieval king (EASY LIVING)

A treasure trove of little-known facts, this book provides us with a more rounded picture of English history (David McLaurin THE TABLET)

the women's stories are meticulously and confidently written.. definitely worth a read (Sheefa Shiraz FAMILY HISTORY MAGAZINE)

the author convincingly demonstrates that these women were more than merely pawns, and that many of them were exceptional women in their own right (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

England from the perspective of its consort queens - a distaff history of the nation from 1066 to 1503.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on 12 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I have been reading historical fiction and non-fiction for over 20 years, so was pleased to see a book covering all the medieval queens - while some are extremely popular in both non-fiction and fiction (eg Eleanor of Aquitaine, Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York), many others are much more obscure.

I have read a few biographies of pre-Tudor English queens, but have found that these are better described as histories of the reigning king and the times - it seems that there is just not enough information recorded about medieval queens to write a specific biography. I thought, therefore, that the format of this book - a chapter per queen - was an excellent idea, but the book was a disappointment.

Firstly, there seemed to be an assumption that the reader had a background knowledge about key events in each reign (which may not necessarily be the case, especially for overseas readers, or those new to the medieval era). Some events were described in detail, whilst others appeared to be skimmed over.

The personalities of the various medieval kings would have had a signficant impact on their queens, and for the most part, these were ignored.

I realise that it is impossible to accurately analyse the personality of a woman who lived over 500 years ago (particularly given the scarcity of sources for court life pre-Tudor times), but there are "clues" which can be followed, and I think more work could have been done to develop a "personality profile" of each queen. Similiarly, although there are few physical descriptions or illustrations of medieval queens, some do exist, and there are tomb monuments based on actual appearance.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Amelrode VINE VOICE on 30 Dec. 2008
Format: Hardcover
First I was quite a bit sceptical about this book project by Lisa Hilton. I am not too found of books covering several personalities and that over nearly 500 years. Very often, one gets never a real feeling for the personalities covered.

Well, I have to admit Lisa Hilton managed that brilliantly.

20 Queen Consorts are covered, each with rougly 20 pages and all are very different - from the legendary Elenor of Aquitaine, the She-Wolf of France, a Queen accused of witchcraft, well-remember Queens, forgotten Queens or a child Queen. Lisa Hilton describes their individual lives as consort to the King, as the King's wife, mother of Kings and her role she had to fullfill. She shows how the role of Queen Consort develops over the centuries and how each Queen left her mark and developed the role, how Queens contributed to the reign of their husbands, but as well how they were liabilities. Lisa Hilton judges the Queens in a great manner, she is quite clear how she sees them. I loved her style which has a great flow.

I believe Lisa Hilton has done a great job and has written a book which will be a great classic on the medieval Queens Consorts.

I hope she is going to continue with the later Queen Consorts.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Edwards on 16 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Positives - This book is very thorough and gives an in depth narrative of the lives and behaviours of all the queens covered. It also shows the development of the queen consort role from 1066 - 1485

I found the book absorbing and it gave a good picture of the life of women - and of society - in medieveal times

Negatives - I read it in 2 halves as I got bored with the similar style.

I didn't like the author viewpoint 'understandably they...' - I prefer to make my own conclusions of behaviour rather than it being suggested what I should think

I also disagree with the comment about the fact that the 16th century had 2 reigning queens and that this indicates that the queen consort role was more powerful than the actions of later queen consorts suggested - these were queens reigning and were a totally different 'breed' to queen consorts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Harlot, Warrior, Witch, Crusader, Queen. They helped shape the history of a nation but as to what they were like, how worthy a queen, how loving a wife and mother, it is extremely difficult to judge. From Matilda of Flanders to Elizabeth of York, we can't make explicit judgements that are reputable about the tone, tenor and even some of the actual events of their reign. We know that a popular queen was always one in the background, but even that judgement might be usurped by later judgements. Take the 12 crosses that litter the country testifying to the gentility and holiness of Eleanor of Castile. As Lisa Hilton says, these are "...as much a testament to Edward I's conception of the dignity of his kingship, than to Eleanor's own qualities." In fact, other indications have her as no more than a footnote to broad events at best, and unpleasantly grasping when it came to goods and chattels at worst. However, she and Eleanor of Provence did show concern about the practice of early marriage and 'lobbied' in their fashion among the crowned heads of Europe to limit the too-early removal of young girls from their families.

This excellent book gives a grounding in the lives of the medieval queens, up to and including the Wars of the Roses - that's 19 queens and makes a hefty book with 400-plus pages. Anyone interested in medieval history will find this a helpful means of sorting out all the Eleanors, the Matildas, the Catherines, Joans and Isabelles. I found it hard going without a permanent bookmark in the various genealogical tables. If you want to keep your queens straight in your head, you need this book.
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