Medieval Royal Mistresses

Mischievous Women who Slept with Kings and Princes

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Pub Date 30 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 28 Oct 2022
Pen & Sword, Pen & Sword History

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Description

Marriage for Medieval kings was about politics, power and the provision of legitimate heirs. Mistresses were about love, lust and possession. It was a world that included kidnap, poison, murder, violation, public shaming and accusations of witchcraft. Ambition and quick wits as well as beauty were essential attributes for any royal mistress. Infamy, assassination and imprisonment awaited some royal mistresses who tumbled from favour whilst others disappeared into obscurity or respectable lives as married women and were quickly forgotten.

Meet Nest of Wales, born in turbulent times, whose abduction started a war; Alice Perrers and Jane Shore labelled ‘whores’ and ‘wantons’; Katherine Swynford who turned the medieval world upside down with a royal happy-ever-after and Rosamund Clifford who left history and stepped into legend.

Discover how serial royal womanisers married off their discarded mistresses to bind their allies close. Explore the semi-official roles of some mistresses; the illegitimate children who became kings; secret marriage ceremonies; Edith Forne Sigulfson and Lady Eleanor Talbot who sought atonement through religion as well as the aristocratic women who became the victims of royal lust.

Most of the shameful women who shared the beds of medieval kings were silenced, besmirched or consigned to the footnotes of a patriarchal worldview but they negotiated paths between the private and public spheres of medieval court life - changing history as they went.

Marriage for Medieval kings was about politics, power and the provision of legitimate heirs. Mistresses were about love, lust and possession. It was a world that included kidnap, poison, murder...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781399081948
PRICE £25.00 (GBP)

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