The Clare sisters were the daughters of King Edward II’s sister Joan of Acre and her first husband Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester. They were named Eleanor, Margaret and Elizabeth. With the death of their only brother Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Hertford, the three sisters became heiresses. Their proximity to the King brought them favour but could also be troubling.
With their lives literally in the hands of their uncle, the sisters were married off if it suited him and they rose and fell in favour throughout their lives. If anything, the book proves that medieval had little say in their own lives, no matter how rich you were. Edward II’s Nieces: The Clare Sisters: Powerful Pawns of the Crown is an interesting look at the lives of these medieval women. It is well-written, and you can tell it has been well-researched. The only trouble I had is that the women were often referred to by whatever married name they had at the time, making it a little confusing. Perhaps with so many marriages, it would have been easier to stick with their maiden name.
Nevertheless, I’d still highly recommended this book for those interesting in the complex court of King Edward II and Queen Isabella.