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Suggested Reading

Letters of the Queens of England
(Anne Crawford)
This book is a fascinating introduction to the foremost women of medieval and tudor England. Offers first-hand evidence of the political and dynastic importance of the grand ladies of the politcal elite.

The Anarchy of King Stephen's Reign
(Edmund King)
The reign of King Stephen (1135-54) is famous as a period of weak government, when Stephen and his rival Empress Matilda contended for power in a succession dispute. During his reign, Stephen lost control over Normandy, the Welsh marches, and much of the North. Even though Stephen remained king for his lifetime, leading churchmen and laymen negotiated a settlement whereby the crown passed to the Empress's son, the future Henry II. This volume by leading scholars is a study of medieval kingship at its most vulnerable and explains how the English monarchy was able to survive the anarchy of King Stephen's reign.

The Empress Matilda: Queen Consort, Queen Mother and Lady of the English
(Marjorie Chibnall)
Granddaughter of William the Conqueror and of King Malcolm of the Scots, and daughter of Henry I, Matilda fought for the throne of England, arguably hers by right, for nine years, and was denied it largely because she was a woman. Contemporary chroniclers said of her that she was "always superior to feminine softness and with a mind steeled and unbroken in adversity". Most of the serious work on her extraordinary, action-packed life and historical importance lies in untranslated German studies of the last century. In this book Marjorie Chibnall examines her career as a whole, as King Henry's daughter, as the wife and consort of Emperor Henry V, as Countess of Anjou after the emperor's death, and as regent for her son, Henry II. An outstanding biography, pieced together from archival sources all over Europe, it is of value and interest both to scholars and the general reader.

The Lioness Roared : The Problems of Female Rule in English History
(Charles Beem)
How were English ruling queens able to assert and maintain their authority over male dominant, patriarchal political cultures? This study combines the methodologies of gender studies and political and constitutional history to provide a sweeping historical explanation for how these women pulled off such a feat. While ruling queens occupied the office of king, they still had to conform to contemporary expectations of womanhood that served as social and political roadblocks to the full exercise of regal power. Charles Beem has identified a specific yet panoramic set of problems facing female rulers throughout British history, from the twelfth century empress Matilda's imaginative efforts to become England's first regnant queen, to Queen Victoria's remarkable exercise of political power during the Bedchamber Crisis of 1839.


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