Pen & Sword Books

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The Granddaughters of Edward III

The Granddaughters of Edward III written by Kathryn Warner and published by Pen & Sword Books - £20 - Hardback - Pages 232

Edward III may be known for his restoration of English kingly authority after the disastrous

and mysterious fall of his father, Edward II, and eventual demise of his mother, Queen Isabella.

It was Edward III who arguably put England on the map as a military might. This show of

power and strength was not simply through developments in government, success in warfare

or the establishment of the Order of the Garter, which fused ideals of chivalry and national

identity to form camaraderie between king and peerage. The expansion of England as a

formidable European powerhouse was also achieved through the traditional lines of political

marriages, particularly those of the king of England’s own granddaughters.

This is a joint biography of nine of those women who lived between 1355 and 1440, and their dramatic, turbulent lives. One was queen of Portugal and was the mother of the Illustrious Generation; one married into the family of her parents' deadly enemies and became queen of Castile; one became pregnant by the king of England's half-brother while married to someone else, and her third husband was imprisoned for marrying her without permission; one was widowed at about 24 when her husband was summarily beheaded by a mob, and some years later bore an illegitimate daughter to an earl; one saw her marriage annulled so that her husband could marry a Bohemian lady-in-waiting; one was born illegitimate, had sixteen children, and was the grandmother of two kings of England.

I thought The Granddaughters of Edward III by Kathryn Warner was an excellent book in which I learnt quite a bit. The reader gets a look into the lives of four women who are the main people of the book: Philippa, Elizabeth, Mary & Isabella. The author Warner has told their stories very well and we get a good insight into their lives, it would seem that although it was very much a man’s world, these women certainly had a big say in the world too. I have read a number of Warner’s books and she writes so well about royal history and always makes the stories to read and follow. If you are a fan of the medieval period or Edward III, you will most certainly enjoy this book and get quite a bit out of it. My compliments to Warner for another great book.

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