Queenship in England: 1308–1485 Gender and Power in the Late Middle Ages by Conor Byrne Book Review

Between 1308 and 1485, nine women were married to kings of England. Their status as queen offered them the opportunity to exercise authority in a manner that was denied to other women of the time. This book offers a new study of these nine queens and their queenship in late medieval England.

Isabella of France, wife of Edward II
Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III
Anne of Bohemia, wife of Richard II
Isabelle of France, second wife of Richard II
Joan of Navarre, wife of Henry IV
Katherine of Valois, wife of Henry V
Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI
Elizabeth Wydeville, wife of Edward IV
Anne Neville, wife of Richard III

The fourteenth- and fifteenth-centuries were frequently characterised by dynastic uncertainty and political tensions. Scholars have recognised that the kings who ruled during this time were confronted with challenges to their kingship, as new questions emerged about what it meant to be a successful king in late medieval England. This book examines the challenges faced by the queens who ruled at this time. It investigates the relationship between gender and power at the English court, while exploring how queenship responded to, and was informed by, the tensions at the heart of governance.

Ultimately Queenship in England questions whether a new model of queenship emerged from the great upheavals underpinning the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century polity.

England’s Queens have never stopped to fascinate us, though those before the Tudor era are a bit more unknown than others and so I applaud any attempt to bring these women to light. Conor Byrne’s Queenship in England: 1308–1485 Gender and Power in the Late Middle Ages is an in-depth look at the role these women played as Queen. What comes up most is the fact that some of these women failed to conceive or lost their only son, thus undermining or failing to solidify their position as Queen. It was a sad reality, and that feeling runs throughout the book. It’s certainly a unique look at these Queens.

Queenship in England: 1308–1485 Gender and Power in the Late Middle Ages by Conor Byrne is available now in both the UK and the US.

 

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About Moniek 1137 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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