Queens Preface

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PREFACE

This book, Medieval and Reformation Reigning Queens of England, is a factual narrative on lives of Norman, Plantagenet and Tudor reigning queens from the Norman Conquest of 1066 to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603.

Among the thirty-two biographies summarized here are the four royal women who ruled, or tried to rule in her own right: these queens regnant are Empress Matilda, Lady Jane Gray, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I. They each received the same level of attention in the author’s previous work, Lives of England’s Monarchs (2005), as was given to their male counterparts. The major events in the lives of these reigning queens are readily available from the previous companion work, and in many other sources; thus, the lives of reigning queens are only briefly reviewed in the present study.

Here, major emphasis is given to queens consort, the wives of England’s ruling kings. Histories of England usually consider it sufficient to credit these great ladies with little more than facts that they were mothers of a rising heir apparent. Aside from producing an heir to the throne—or failing to do so—the queens consort are notable more for neglect than recognition of the roles each consecutively played in the pageant of England. The queens consort chronicled here are those of the Norman, Plantagenet and Tudor Dynasties: namely, Norman queens consort, Matilda of Flanders, Matilda of Scotland, Matilda of Boulogne; Plantagenet queens consort, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Berengaria of Navarre, Joan of Gloucester, Isabelle of Angoulême. Eleanor of Provence, Eleanor of Castile, Marguerite of France, Isabella of France, Philippa of Hainault, Anne of Bohemia, Isabella of Valois, Joanna of Navarre, Katherine of Valois, Margaret of ...

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...on is needed to clarify important events, lengthy footnotes called “Digressions” are inserted. Like any footnote, they can be ignored without fatal detriment to the narrative it follows.

An Appendix entitled “Royal Lines of Descent” summarizes lineages for ruling monarchs in the seven English dynasties that have ruled England from Saxon to Modern Time. The appropriate part of this table is repeated in the introduction to each dynasty as it is introduced in the text; the seven lineages are 1. Saxon—Wessex Earl-King Dynasty (802-1066); 2. Norman Dynasty (1066-1154); 3. Plantagenet Dynasty (1066-1485); 4. Tudor Dynasty (1485-1603); 5. Stuart Dynasty (1603-1714); 6. Hanover Dynasty (1714-1901); 7. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha—Windsor Dynasty (1901—present). Queens of the Stuart, Hanover and Windsor dynastic lines are subjects for a work-in-progress volume to follow.
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