Katherine of Valois: The Vicissitudes of Reputation

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Katherine of Valois is probably better known as the wife of Owen Tudor than as the queen of Henry V. She was queen of England for less than two years and thus had little time to exercise queenly roles, beyond producing an heir, the future Henry VI. Consequently accounts of Katherine, both medieval and later, have focused on her not as a queen but as a woman. Based on a single line in a chronicle written down over twenty years after her death, Katherine is regularly characterised as lustful and reckless, hence her extraordinary marriage to Owen Tudor. This essay challenges such approaches to Katherine, arguing that her decision to marry him may have been, instead, a thoughtful act of political self-preservation. It highlights that aspects of her established reputation tell us little about what she was actually like, but instead are founded on gendered stereotypes and misogyny.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLater Plantagenet and the Wars of the Roses Consorts
Subtitle of host publicationPower, Influence and Dynasty
EditorsAidan Norrie, Carolyn Harris, J.L. Laynesmith, Danna R. Messer, Elena Woodacre
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan, Cham
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783030948863
ISBN (Print)9783030948856, 9783030948887
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2023

Publication series

NameQueenship and Power
PublisherPalgrave MacMillan
ISSN (Print)2730-938X
ISSN (Electronic)2730-9398


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