She Wolves: The Notorious Queens of Medieval England by Elizabeth Norton

Description: This history deals with the bad girls of England’s medieval royal dynasties, the queens who earned themselves a notorious reputation. Some of them are well known and have been the subject of biography—Eleanor of Aquitaine, Emma of Normandy, Isabella of France, and Anne Boleyn, for example—while others have not been written about outside academic journals. The appeal of these notorious queens, apart from their shared taste for witchcraft, murder, adultery, and incest, is that because they were notorious they attracted a great deal of attention during their lifetimes. This study reveals much about the role of the medieval queen and the evolution of the role that led, ultimately, to the reign of Elizabeth I and a new concept of queenship.

Opening: Medieval England saw many queens. Some are remembered as saintly, or at least very nearly saintly, some are barely remembered at all and others are remembered as being truly notorious. Every century from the eighth to the sixteenth boasted at least one notorious queen who would provide scandal for chroniclers’ works for centuries to come. Their reputation and the salacious details of their lives that survive make these women some of the most vivid and interesting personalities of the medieval period. However, their lives were not always recorded truthfully.

Having just read She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth last week, this encounter will be with those queens that were not in that.

DUCK! – I am slinging this one at the wall right now. I can’t think of a single reader of history who would relish this supermarket newstand magazine style of puerile writing. Go for that Castor one instead.

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