The Queen and the Mistress: The Women of Edward III
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Author(s): Gemma Hollman Published by: The History Press, Nov 2022 Binding: Hardback
There were two women in Edward III's life: Philippa of Hainault, his wife of 40 years and bearer of 12 children, and his mistress, Alice Perrers, the 20-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; here Hollman brings to the fore their differences and similarities in a unique look at women and power in the Middle Ages