The riveting story of two women whose divergent personalities and positions impacted the court of Edward III, one of medieval England's greatest kings.
There were two women in Edward III's life: Philippa of Hainault, his wife of forty years and bearer of twelve children, and his mistress, Alice Perrers, the twenty-year-old who took the king's fancy as his ageing wife grew sick. After Philippa's death Alice began to dominate court, amassing a fortune and persuading the elderly Edward to promote her friends and punish her enemies.
In The Queen and the Mistress, Gemma Hollman brings the story of these two women to life and contrasts the "perfect" medieval queen—the pious, unpolitical, steady Philippa—with the impertinent youth—the wily, charismatic, manipulative Alice. One died a royal, adored, while the full force of the English court united against Alice, wresting both money and power from her and leaving her with nothing but a mission to try to reclaim all that was lost.
Both women had wealth and power but used vitally different methods to dispense it. In The Queen and the Mistress, Hollman brings to the fore their differences and similarities in a unique look at women and power in the Middle Ages.
GemmaHollman has a Master’s degree in Medieval History from the University of York. She runs the Just History Posts blog and Twitter account and has written for the British Numismatic Journal. She is the author of Royal Witches: Witchcraft and the Nobility in Fifteenth Century England, also available from Pegasus Books, and lives Hertfordshire, England.
"An important and timely book looking at royal women who faced envy and political attack in the guise of accusations of witchcraft."
– Philippa Gregory, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Hollman, who has a master’s degree in medieval history, provides an in-depth account of each woman’s rise to power and then chronicles the events of the time. A meticulous historical analysis.”
– Kirkus Reviews
"The way Hollman deftly untangles royal lineages and courtly machinations to bring sky to the stories of these women makes me want to accuse her of witchcraft. Well done."
– J.W. Ocker, Edgar Award-winning author of A Season with the Witch
"Some of history's most overlooked witches finally have their day in a smart expose boiling over with intriguing women."
– Susan Fair, author of American Witches
"This introduces new readers, in the most accessible and colorful way, to a group of royal women who certainly deserve more public notice than they have hitherto received."
– Professor Ronald Hutton, author of 'The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present'
“Even readers familiar with the basic history of the Wars of the Roses will see aristocratic skulduggery in a strikingly fresh way in Royal Witches, as we continue to grapple with the treatment of women who rise to important positions even in our own time.”