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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect read - England's medieval Queen Consorts - a classic in the making
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...
Published on 30 Dec 2008 by Amelrode

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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Queens Consort - England's Medieval Queens (two stars only!)
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,...
Published on 12 May 2011 by Sarah


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Queens Consort - England's Medieval Queens (two stars only!), 12 May 2011
By 
Sarah (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens (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. To make the blanket statement that all high-born women were typically described as beauties and seemingly make no attempt to describe each queen was disappointing. If nothing else, there are physical descriptions for each king, and for their male heirs, so this could be used (as it has been by some fictional authors such as Sharon Penman) to create a "best guess" on each queen's physical appearance. In addition, there are detailed descriptions of some queens (eg Philippa of Hainault, Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York)in existence.

Greater context in the introduction regarding key issues for high-born medieval women would have supported the text (for example, female life expectancy, literacy, infant mortality).

The numbers of children born to some queens differed from other books I have read (for example many texts identify 16 children for Edward I and Eleanor of Castile). Some medieval queens would have spent the majority of their queenships pregnant, many of these pregnancies ending in miscarriage or stillbirth, which would have also had an impact on their psychology, their health, and their influence on events.

There were a number of errors scattered through the text, some from careless editing (ie wrong name) but also occasional factual errors. While some points of view expressed by the author were backed up with contemporary evidence and reference to other texts, others (eg the reasons for Eleanor of Acquitaine's annulment, the fate of the Princes in the Tower) were not.

As another reviewer has stated, a family tree (and a list of key dates and people) at the start of each chapter would have been useful - even for someone who has a good overview of medieval history, the family trees are very interwoven and complex.

In summary - a good idea, but quite poor execution.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect read - England's medieval Queen Consorts - a classic in the making, 30 Dec 2008
By 
Amelrode (Vilvoorde) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good focus on area, 16 Oct 2009
By 
K. Edwards (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens (Paperback)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Queens Consort, 28 Sep 2009
By 
G. A. Tipton "Allen Tipton" (Nottingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens (Paperback)
Full of fascinating facts. A good read but not all at once I just wish she had adpopted a more narrative style of writing. It is a book to pick up occasionally & perhaps study rather than sit in a chair, relax & just read.
Allen Tipton
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At last an indepth look at some of the queens of england, 4 Feb 2009
By 
Scott Jarvis (UK) - See all my reviews
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I have to say that this was a fascinating book to read.I am glad that someone has finally compiled a book on the queens of england as they are often the ones who are forgotten and we only really get a good view of life for their husbands.This is the kind of book that i have been waiting to read for ages. Well done Lisa.

I would fully recommend this book to anyone interested in the lives of the medieval queens of england.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at medieval queenship, 19 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. A. B. S. Almeida (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens (Paperback)
There is such a paucity of information on queen's from this period that I thought this book would like other books on medieval queen's, focus largely on the more dominant figure of the king. I was however pleasantly surprised.

Lisa Hilton has definitely gone through the sources with a fine-tooth comb and has written a book that does give a great deal of information on each queen from 1066 - 1485, even touching on pre-Conquest queen's.
Whilst I disagree with some of the author's views expressed in the book, there is no doubt that Ms Hilton wishes to challenge our preconceptions of medieval queens as being more than a feminine counterpoint to the king.

There is, as said a paucity of substantial information on queen's from this period particularly the lesser known ones like Anne of Bohemia and Isabelle of Valois, but Ms Hilton makes the best of a 'bad' situation nonetheless.

The major drawback to the book is that it can feel a little long-winded by the time one gets towards the 15th century queen's. So much information is presented that one may wish to put the book down and come back to it later.

All in all though, a very interesting and redefining(?) book on medieval queen's.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very patchy and a lot of factual errors, 26 Nov 2009
By 
Fren (Northumberland, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens (Paperback)
The first few chapters of this book were great, but I thought the chapter on Eleanor of Aquitaine was a bit weak, as if she couldn't be bothered since Eleanor has been written about by others in far more detail. However, when I reached Isabelle d'Angouleme I was annoyed by the mistakes, starting with the first line. I did wonder if this chapter had been written by someone else or if it had not been proof read.

Things did pick up a bit for a while but I felt as if when writing about Isabelle of France she was over concerned with having a pop at other writers. By the time I reached the chapters about Marguerite de Provence and Elizabeth Woodville I was convinced the same ghost writer who had dealt with Isabelle d'Angouleme was back. She repeatedly refers to Louis XI of France as Louis IX, and that is not the only stupid mistake which should have been picked up by the editor. When she refers to Warwick the Kingmaker she never mentions the fact that he is the brother of Cecily Neville so he is the brother-in-law of Richard Duke of York and maternal uncle of both Edward IV and Richard III. When she mentions Warwick promoting his family members, it would also be true to say that Edward IV was promoting his family members - on his mother's side.

Overall I found this book very disappointing, and I was irritated by the shoddy work and the number of errors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Matilda of Flanders to Elizabeth of York, 21 Oct 2011
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What to believe?, 5 Oct 2010
This review is from: Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens (Paperback)
I was really looking forward to reading this as wanted to fill in some gaps in my knowledge as is so often in history, the woman behind the throne is overlooked.
I think it would have been very helpful to have a family tree of each Queen at the beginning of each chapter as because of the many inter marriages between families, it could be quite confusing trying to visualise how everyone was related.
The chapter on Eleanor of Aquataine was very disappointing. The author was very dismissive of her and seeming not to like her, skipped over vast periods in her life and I felt as if I hadn't been told anything.
The chapter on Anne Neville really was appalling. So factually inaccurate, it is unbelievable that it was left in its form to be published. Quoting Alison Weir also gave away where the author sympathies lie and clearly not with these members of the Yorkists. No mention of Bishop Stillington at all. Richard did not accuse Edward 1V and Duke of Clarence being 'bastard born'. He did not 'take care' of Clarence's son to stop him being a threat to the throne; under the attainder of his father he had no right in the succession. Richard did not stop sleeping with Anne because he was fed up with her but because she had consumption. Did it not occur to the author that Elizabeth York wanted Anne to die because she was suffering and in distress? No, Bessy just wanted her way with Dickon.
These two chapters left me wondering how much of the rest of the book I could take as accurate and truthful.
A really good idea ruined.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Queens Consort, 7 Mar 2014
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This book was most interesting and easy to read. History is my favourite "thing" so I was not disappointed with it ..
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Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens
Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens by Lisa Hilton (Paperback - 6 Aug 2009)
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