Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens from Eleanor of Aquitaine to Elizabeth of York
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The colorful and dramatic history of England's medieval queens.
England's medieval queens were elemental in shaping the history of the nation. In an age where all politics were family politics, dynastic marriages placed English queens at the very center of power—the king's bed. From Matilda of Flanders, William the Conqueror's queen, to Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor consort, England's queens fashioned the nature of monarchy and influenced the direction of the state. Occupying a unique position in the mercurial, often violent world of medieval politics, these queens had to negotiate a role that combined tremendous influence with terrifying vulnerability.
Lisa Hilton's illuminating new book explores the lives of the twenty women who were crowned queen between 1066 and 1503. War, adultery, witchcraft, child abuse, murder—and occasionally even love—formed English queenship, but so too did patronage, learning, and fashion. Lovers of history will enjoy a dramatic narrative that presents an exceptional group of women whose personal ambitions, triumphs, and failures helped to give birth to the modern state. 16 pages of color illustrations
avarice and extravagance. However, this judgement should be considered against one of the achievements of that ‘extravagance’: the restoration of the royal court. One of the Queen’s wedding gifts was a French-made collection of romances presented to her by the Earl of Shrewsbury, John Talbot. The frontispiece features Henry and Marguerite crowned, with Talbot kneeling before them, the King’s chamberlain and counsellors grouped behind him and Marguerite’s ladies watching the presentation. Peeking
Usk, ed. Edward Thompson (London, 1866) Adams, N. and Donahue, C. (eds.), Select Cases from the Ecclesiastical Courts of the Province of Canterbury Donohue (London, 1981) Aelred of Rievaulx, ‘Gene alogia Regum Anglorum’ in Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I, ed. Richard Howlett (Rolls Series, London, 1884) Ambroise, Histoire de la Guerre Sainte, ed. G.Paris (Paris, 1897) Andreas Capellanus, Tractatus de Amore et de Amoris Remedio Anselm, Opera: S. Anselmi Opera Omnia
chapel, 167; charters, 57; Eleanor’s of Castile’s garden, 217; Great Hall, 212, 278, 288; Palace of, 184, 297, 351; Queen’s pond, 196, 217; royal apartments, 343; St James hospital, 48; St Stephen’s Chapel, 416; tournament, 360 Westminster, abbot of, 275 Westminster, Provisions of, 180 Westminster Abbey, 31, 33, 44, 46, 47, 176, 197, 211, 212, 289, 321, 327, 332, 391; Eleanor of Castile’s tomb, 201, 202; Elizabeth Woodville founds chapel in, 376; Jerusalem chamber, 313, 387; Katherine’s tomb,
release, it was necessary to come to a swift accommodation with her treacherous son. John agreed to place the royal castles he had appropriated in Eleanor’s temporary keeping, and Eleanor set about her campaign. In the first of two extraordinary letters to Pope Celestine III, Eleanor recalls in no uncertain terms Henry II’s support for the papacy during the recent conflict between Rome and the Emperor Frederick. ‘Grief,’ she reproaches him, ‘does not recognise a master, is afraid of no ally, it
in their early teens, and their collaboration here suggests they had discussed their experiences intimately. Perhaps Eleanor of Provence took pains to avoid causing the kind of difficulties mothers-in-law could create after hearing about the experiences of her sister Marguerite of France with the overbearing Blanche of Castile. And for her part, Eleanor of Castile was a support to her mother-in-law when she herself became Queen in 1272. When Henry III died at Westminster that November, Eleanor