The Royal Bastards of Twelfth Century England
Power and Blood
by Dr James Turner
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Pub Date 30 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 25 Apr 2023
Pen & Sword, Pen & Sword History
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The many storied monarchs of twelfth century England lived, fought, loved, and died surrounded by their illegitimate relatives. While their many contributions have too often been overlooked, these illegitimate sons, daughters and siblings occupied crucial positions within the edifice of royal authority, serving their legitimate relatives as proxies and lieutenants. In addition to occupying roles and offices at the centre of royal administration, Anglo-Norman and Angevin royal bastards, exiled to the fringes of family identity by a twist of fate, provided the kings of England with military and political support from amidst the aristocratic affinities into which they were embedded. Rather than merely inert pieces on the dynastic game board or passive conduits of royal association, these men and women were engaged participants in contemporary politics, proactively cultivating and shaping the thrones’ relationship with its principal subjects. This book, the first full length study dedicated to the subject, examines the seminal conflicts and changing shape of the royal dynasty during a period of turbulent and formative development in the nature and institutions royal government through the rarely before accessed perspective of the reigning monarchs’ illegitimate family members and deputies. More than that this study aims, as far as possible, to illuminate and bring to life the lives, triumphs and tragedies of these fascinating half-forgotten personages. The victims of a rapid and profound demographic and social change which drastically recontextualised their position with royal family identity and aristocratic society, the bastards of the English royal family found new methods to survive and thrive.
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