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From Matilda of Flanders to Elizabeth of York,
This review is from: Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens (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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Initial post: 14 Dec 2011 18:04:57 GMT
Just what I've been looking for; amazing what you find browsing. Made me think, though, of the antihero's mother in "The Way We Live Now", writing a Victorian schlocker called "Criminal Queens" . . .
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