Politics, power and prestige: the historiography of medieval English queens, 1821-1998

Forget, Natalie Erica
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of the histories of medieval English queens published from 1821 to 1998. The purpose of this study is to highlight how since its inception historians have interpreted these royal women as significant historical actors who wielded power and influence. First the circumstances surrounding how and why there emerged a popular interest in queens is determined. The nineteenth-century women who first penned the biographies of these royal women are acknowledged and the content of their histories explored. By the turn of the twentieth century academic historians, the majority of them men, assumed dominance over the perpetuation of this subject by publishing short articles for journals and essays in full-length books. Finally the scholarship published during the last twenty years is examined in order to highlight how historians' interpretation and explanation of "queenly power" has developed. This broad historiographical analysis will help delineate periods of growth and pinpoint areas in need of greater development. This approach to the history of medieval English queens places past work in its proper place of significance to the development of this lengthy tradition. This understanding of the historiography is one modern historians have yet to acknowledge or incorporate in their scholarship today.

medieval, English queens, historians, interpretation, royal women, significance, historical actors, power, influence