Daughters of Chivalry

Daughters of Chivalry

The Forgotten Princesses of King Edward Longshanks

Book - 2019
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"Revealing the truth behind the life of a royal princess in medieval England, the colorful story of the five remarkable daughters of King Edward I. Virginal, chaste, humble, patiently waiting for rescue by brave knights and handsome princes: this idealized--and largely mythical--notion of the medieval noblewoman still lingers. Yet the reality was very different, as Kelcey Wilson-Lee shows in this vibrant account of the five daughters of the great English king, Edward I, often known as Longshanks. The lives of these sisters--Eleanora, Joanna, Margaret, Mary and Elizabeth--ran the full gamut of experiences open to royal women in the Middle Ages. Living as they did in a courtly culture founded on romantic longing and brilliant pageantry, they knew that a princess was to be chaste yet a mother to many children, preferably sons; meek, yet able to influence a recalcitrant husband or even command a host of men-at-arms. Edward's daughters were of course expected to cement alliances and secure lands and territory by making great dynastic marriages, or endow religious houses with royal favor. But they also skillfully managed enormous households, navigated choppy diplomatic waters and promoted their family's cause throughout Europe--and had the courage to defy their royal father. They might never wear the crown in their own right, but they were utterly confident of their crucial role in the spectacle of medieval kingship. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary sources, Daughters of Chivalry offers a rich portrait of these spirited Plantagenet women. With their libraries of beautifully illustrated psalters and tales of romance, their rich silks and gleaming jewels, we follow these formidable women throughout their lives and see them--at long last--shine from out of the shadows, revealing what it was to be a princess in the Age of Chivalry."-- Publisher's website.
Publisher: New York : Pegasus Books, 2019.
Edition: First Pegasus Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781643131948
164313194X
Branch Call Number: 942.035 WIL
Characteristics: xi, 363 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color), map, genealogical table ; 24 cm

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IndyPL_EllenF Apr 12, 2020

History writer Wilson-Lee has written a collective portrait of the daughters of England's King Edward I, a very difficult task given that medieval women rarely appeared in histories or diaries. She chronicles the obligations, powers, and responsibilities that a king's daughters would have, which... Read More »


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kwylie04
Jun 06, 2020

In 'Daughters of Chivalry', Kelcey Wilson-Lee does a fabulous job restoring the daughters of Edward I of England, proving that medieval princesses were far more than what the stereotypical damsel-in-distress, helpless pawn of powerful men image they've gained in recent times would suggest. Wilson-Lee writes with an easy style, making the book engaging and a delight to follow.

Before this book, I knew next to nothing about these women, though I admit to knowing a fair bit more about their more famous brother and sister-in-law. Learning how these women forged their own paths within the patriarchal world they lived in - and with one of the most intense fathers imaginable (they do not call Edward I "the Hammer of the Scots" for a cuddly attitude, after all) - was an absolute treat. So often people think that princesses in the medieval world had no agency, that they were merely pawns to be moved for the advantage and advancement of men. But these were real women, with minds and hearts and ambitions of their own, and they played their hands well, leading lives on their own terms within the hands they were dealt.

IndyPL_EllenF Apr 12, 2020

History writer Wilson-Lee has written a collective portrait of the daughters of England's King Edward I, a very difficult task given that medieval women rarely appeared in histories or diaries. She chronicles the obligations, powers, and responsibilities that a king's daughters would have, which were more than we would assume women in the Middle Ages would have. However, the book is filled with so many qualifiers and assumptions like "would no doubt have known of..." or "may have felt", it felt more like a docudrama than a history.

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BlueHippo
Jan 01, 2020

Overall, I thought this was a really good book. Clearly, the author has done extensive research into the lives of these women and their families. The book is arranged chronologically. It is sometimes difficult to keep the people straight because of the duplicate names, but the author does a pretty good job of making sure you know about which person she is writing. The only thing I found lacking was the family tree. It is only for the generations of Edward I and his children. I think it would have been helpful to include at least one generation before and one after so you can more easily put these folks in the context of history.

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