Today is the first of our special guest blog posts from the fantastic Irene Carstairs! You can follow her on Twitter @CarstairsIrene or see more of her work at http://www.thathistorynerd.com/.
From the late eleventh century to the early thirteenth century the kingdom of Georgia enjoyed a golden age. Out of the four Bagratid monarchs who ruled during this era, the most influential was Tamar, the first female king of Georgia.
Jack Beesley is a postgraduate in Heritage and Queenship Studies from Queen Mary University of London and Historic Royal Palaces, currently preparing to begin his PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University this October.
At 12.45am on 28th December 1694, Queen Mary II of England died of smallpox at the age of 32. She had suffered for a reasonably short time, only recognising a rash on her arms and chest on December 21st. However, Mary had not been feeling herself for some time. Around May of 1694 she was treated for exhaustion and directed to drink a course of asses’ milk by her doctor. Throughout the year Mary tried to cheer herself up by shopping, one of her favourite activities, purchasing multiple gowns, jewels, shoes, and accessories. Mary liked all things grand, including visits to the theatre. However, she was so worn out throughout her last year that Mary was unable to complete the public appearances she enjoyed, foregoing her outgoing pursuits for frequent retirements at Kensington Palace.
Kathryn Warner’s 2019 Philippa of Hainault: Mother of the English Nation is the first study in over a century to analyse the life of this long-serving fourteenth century queen. Following in the footsteps of her previous biographical works (namely Edward II and Isabella of France), Warner weaves a fascinating story of Philippa’s life, placing her firmly in the centre of European politics.
Cover Image: Hans Eworth, Mary I, 1556-1558, National Portrait Gallery
The Queen is dead; long live the Queen! Though this phrase has been uttered only once in English history, its context is not as well-known as it should be. Many will be quick to identify that the second queen in question is Elizabeth I, who came to the throne on November 17, 1558. Many, though, might struggle to identify her predecessor: Mary I, England’s first crowned queen regnant.
Joan, Lady of Wales, Power and Politics of King John’s Daughter, is a welcome study in medieval queenship as scholarship on Welsh queens has arguably been largely overshadowed by research on their English counterparts. Those who study queenship will recognise the impact of the lack of surviving records and resources from this period which can make it difficult to study women, an issue recognised by Danna Messer. To date, few historical assessments of Joan exist, but Sharon Kay Penman’s Here be Dragons has highlighted her in a fictional manner. However, for royal studies scholars seeking an academic and clear assessment about Joan and the world she lived in, Messer brings Welsh queens to the attention of queenship scholars.
Many English queens in the last twenty years have been placed at the foreground of historical studies in an array of original biographies. One such queen is Catherine of Aragon. Originally published in 2016, Amy Licence brings a new narrative to Catherine and the importance of her role first as Princess of Wales, but then as queen consort to Henry VIII in Catherine of Aragon, An Intimate Life of Henry VIII’s True Wife. The biography, though aimed at a more general audience, is nonetheless very useful for queenship scholars who desire a different approach to the complex world of Tudor queenship.
Like many English monarchs, Queen Mary II carefully cultivated a public image through visual and material culture. Through tangible objects and artworks, regnant queens could secure the loyalty of their public whilst strengthening the image of their dynasty. Mary came from the Stuart family, and the visual culture surrounding her reign demonstrates a strategic attempt to hark back to previous Stuart rulers.
Dr. Elena (Ellie) Woodacre is a Senior Lecturer in Early Modern European History at the University of Winchester who specialises in queenship and royal studies. Ellie has become an evangelist for royal studies as an academic discipline and has been pushing the field of queenship in new directions with her activities in the field and her own research. Her work in promoting royal studies can be seen in her coordination of the ‘Kings & Queens’ conference series, as founder of the Royal Studies Network (www.royalstudiesnetwork.org), Editor-in-Chief of the Royal Studies Journal (www.rsj.winchester.ac.uk) and the editor of two book series–the Gender and Power in the Premodern World series (ARC Humanities Press) and the Lives of Royal Women series (Routledge).