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Anne Crawford allows the queens to speak for themselves through their own correspondence, with each letter set in context and a general introduction on the role of the queen in medieval and Tudor England.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780750930611
ISBN-10: 0750930616
Format: Paperback
(244mm x 169mm x 10mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Sutton Publishing Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Publish Date: 29-Aug-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » In this book Anne Crawford brings together letters written by English queens from Matilda of Scotland, Henry I's queen, through to the end of the Tudor period. Crawford's introduction outlines the political, financial and social position of queens in the mediaeval period, making clear that all marriages of the time were 'arranged', not just royal marriages. Marriage was not about the individual and romance: Henry VIII's ideas about love would have seemed bizarre to his predecessors. Marriage was about family and community and, in the royal context, international treaties, land rights and the guarantee of continuity of power: the Queen's first duty was to provide an heir. Relatively little is known about the queens of the period, and virtually nothing of their everyday lives: in many cases no letters are extant, in which cases Crawford has to provide merely a biographical sketch. But these shady figures were not insignificant; even William I's wife, who remains frustratingly obscure, was appointed regent, with considerable political power, in William's absence. The range of letters, which often focus entirely on matters of state and finance, increases into the Tudor period, with Henry VIII's wives providing the most interest. Crawford includes the final letter written by Katherine of Aragon to her husband on the day of her death, and the tragic and foolish Katherine Howard's only extant letter, to her lover Thomas Culpeper. In all cases Crawford prefaces the letters with short biographies and contextualisation, and has provided illustrations throughout - from effigies to portraits. Fully indexed with bibliographies and genealogical tables, this is an excellent and illuminating collection. (Kirkus UK)

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