Winchester historians help to tell the full story of royal spouses

19 Jul 2023
Berengaria painting

Historians from the University of Winchester have played an important role in compiling a four-volume history recounting the lives of royal ‘other-halves’ from 1066 to the present day. 

Dr Ellie Woodacre, Reader in Renaissance History at the University, has been one of a team of editors for Palgrave Macmillan’s four-book series on royal consorts which has just been completed with the publication of Norman to Early Plantagenet Consorts: Power, Influence and Dynasty. 

The other three volumes cover the Later Plantagenets and the War of the Roses, Tudors and Stuarts, and Hanoverian and Windsors. 

The collection that covers all of the consorts (male and female) comes right up to the present day with a chapter at the end of the final volume on Queen Camilla and Catherine, the Princess of Wales. 

“Given the recent interest in the role of royal consorts, both in reflections on the life of Prince Philip, the longest serving English/British consort and the renewal of the role of queen consort with the accession of Charles III and Camilla, this is a very timely publication,” said Ellie. 

“It speaks to the development of the consort's role over time, as well as offering accessible and academic short biographies of all of the consorts over nearly a millennium of history. 

“It's very innovative in its span, there is no work which covers this entire range of women and men and even includes the wives of the Protectors during the English Republic period.” 

Ellie - founder of the Royal Studies Network who writes and comments extensively on royal matters in the national media - co-edited the Later Plantagenet and Wars of the Roses (volume two) with Joanna Laynesmith and contributed chapters on The Consorts of the Hundred Years War, Joan of Navarre as well as the epilogue. 

The second volume also features a chapter on the dower lands of England’s medieval queens by a recent graduate of the University, Katia Wright, who is an assistant curator at the Adjutant General’s Corps Museum in Winchester. 

In the latest volume, which is the first by chronology, there is a chapter on Richard the Lionheart’s queen, Berengaria of Navarre, by Dr Gabrielle Storey, a Visiting Research Fellow at Winchester, and Katherine Weikert, Senior Lecturer in Early Medieval European History at the University, has co-authored the epilogue with Danna Messer. 

Pictured above: Berengaria's Alarm for the Safety of her Husband, Richard Coeur de Lion by Charles Allston Collins. Wikemedia Commons

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