Last Medieval Queens: English Queenship 1445-1503

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The last medieval queens of England were Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne Neville, and Elizabeth of York - four very different women whose lives and queenship were dominated by the Wars of the Roses. This book is not a traditional biography but a thematic study of the ideology and practice of queenship. It examines the motivations behind the choice of the first English-born queens, the multi-faceted rituals of coronation, childbirth, and funeral, the divided loyalties between family and king, and the significance of a position at the heart of the English power structure that could only be filled by a woman. It sheds new light on the queens' struggles to defend their children's rights to the throne, and argues that ideologically and politically a queen was integral to the proper exercise of mature kingship in this period.