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Dr Elena (Ellie) Woodacre is Reader in Renaissance History. She began her undergraduate studies in her native USA and completed her BA in Humanities with Classical Studies with the OU after she moved to the UK. She received an MA in Medieval Studies (with Merit) from the University of Reading in 2006 and shortly thereafter began her doctoral studies at Bath Spa University. Her PhD thesis was titled 'The Queens of Navarre 1274-1512: Succession, Politics and Partnership and focussed on issues surrounding female rule, matrimonial politics and the relationship between reigning queens and consort kings'. Her recent research has been focused on global, comparative work on queenship and on the economic agency and activity of royal women. She has also been researching the life of Joan of Navarre, duchess of Brittany and later consort queen of Henry IV of England for a forthcoming monograph.

She joined the History Department at Winchester in 2012 and served as the Faculty Coordinator for Postgraduate Research Degrees. 

Elena is the organiser of the ‘Kings & Queens’ conference series and the founder of the Royal Studies Network, a resource that aims to bring together scholars who work on monarchical topics to enable them to collaborate and share information on their research. Follow the RSN on Twitter.

She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Royal Studies Journal, an academic open-access publication launched in 2014. Elena also an editor of two book series: Lives of Royal Women (Routledge) and Gender and Power in the Premodern World (ARC Humanities Press).

Elena is leading an international project 'Examining the Resources and Revenues of Royal Women in Premodern Europe' which brings together researchers from the UK, Europe, North America and Australia to investigate the economic agency and activity of royal women.

Her teaching interests include issues related to gender and power, the Renaissance and the political and cultural history of Early Modern Europe, particularly France, Spain and Italy. Her area of specialism is queenship and royal studies.

Higher Education Teaching Qualification: Higher Education Academy Senior Fellowship (SFHEA). 

Areas of expertise

  • Queenship studies; especially aspects of female rule
  • Royal and court studies
  • The Renaissance 
  • Medieval/early modern French and Iberian history; especially the history of Navarre


Books and book chapters

  • Later Plantagenet and Wars of the Roses Consorts (Vol. 2 of the English Consorts: Power, Influence and Dynasty Collection, co-edited with Joanna Laynesmith), see also chaptersJoan of Navarre: Beloved Queen and (Step)Mother or Unbeloved Witch?, pp. 105-122, Epilogue: Foreign Women as Consorts, pp. 259-277, Consorts of the Hundred Years’ War, pp. 19-25.
  • Joan of Navarre: Infanta, Duchess, Queen, Witch? (Routledge, 2022)
  • Queens and Queenship (ARC Humanities Press, 2021)
  • Routledge History of Monarchy (lead editor; Routledge, 2019), see also chapter 'Understanding the Mechanisms of Monarchy'
  • A Companion to Global Queenship (sole editor; ARC Medieval Press, 2018)
  • Premodern Rulers and Postmodern Viewers: Gender, Sex and Power in Popular Culture (co-edited with Janice North & Karl C. Alvestad; Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); see also chapter 'Early Modern Queens on Screen'
  • Virtuous or Villainess? The image of the royal mother from the early medieval to the Early Modern Eras, (co-edited with Carey Fleiner; Palgrave Macmillan 2016)
  • ‘Cousins & Queens: family ties, political ambition & epistolary fiplomacy in Renaissance Europe’ in G. Sluga, G. Calvi and C. James (eds) Women, diplomacy and international relations from 1500 (Routledge, 2015)
  • Royal mothers and their ruling children: wielding political authority from Antiquity to the Early Modern Era (co-edited with Carey Fleiner; Palgrave Macmillan 2015)
  • ‘The kings consort of Navarre: 1284-1512’ in C. Beem and M. Taylor (eds) The man behind the Queen: the male consort in history (Palgrave Macmillan 2014)
  • The image and perception of monarchy in medieval and Early Modern Europe (co-edited with Sean McGlynn, Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2014)
  • Mediterranean Queenship; negotiating the role of the Queen in the medieval and Early Modern Era (sole editor, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)
  • The Queens Regnant of Navarre: succession, politics and partnership, 1274 1512 (Palgrave MacMillan Queenship and Power Series 2013)
  • ‘The Queen's marriage; matrimonial politics in Pre-Modern Europe’, in J. Murray (ed.) Marriage in Pre-Modern Europe; Italy and beyond (CRRS Publications, 2012), pp 29-46
  • ‘Questionable authority; female sovereigns and their consorts in medieval and Early Modern Chronicles’, in J. Dresvina and N. Sparks (eds), Authority and Gender in Medieval and Renaissance Chronicles (Cambridge Scholars, 2012)

Journal articles

  • 'The Queen of Navarre and a queen from Navarre: Comparing the experience of queenship of Leonor de Trastámara and Joan of Navarre'. Studia Historica Historia Medieval 39.2 (2021), 11-29.
  • 'Saints or Sinners? Sexuality, Reputation and Representation of Queens from Contemporary Sources to Modern Media'. De Medio Aevo 10.2 (2021), 371-85.
  • 'Poder y parentesco: ¿Los fundamentos de reinar? El impacto de las relaciones familiares y conyugales en los reinados de las reinas titulares de Navarra (1274 - 1517)'. Anuario de Estudios Medievales, 46.1 (2016), 167-201.
  • 'Contemplating Royal Women's Access to Power and the Transition between the Middle Ages and the "Monstrous Regiment" of the Early Modern Era' Medieval Feminist Forum Vol.51.2 (2015), 61-68.
  • 'Gender and Status in the Medieval World' (co-authored with Katherine Weikert), Historial Reflections/Reflexions Historiques Vol. 42.1 (Spring 2016), 1-7.
  • 'What is Royal Studies?' Royal Studies Journal Vol. 2.1 (June 2015), 13-20.
  • ‘The She-Wolves of Medieval Navarre’, History Today Vol. 62, Issue 6 (June 2012), 47-51.


For selected conference presentations, see Dr Woodacre's Academia.edu page.

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