Queens of the Age of Chivalry

I'm delighted to introduce the third volume of my history of the queens of medieval England. I first began researching the subject many years ago. After working on a biography of the wives of Henry VIII, I wanted to go back in time and look at their predecessors. I've always been fascinated by the roles of women in history, particularly royal women who led such rarefied and ritualised lives and often exercised what we now call 'soft power' behind the scenes.  

When I started researching, there was little focus on women's history. Agnes Strickland's multi-volume Lives of the Queens of England, written in the 1840s, was still the standard work, despite being hopelessly outdated and overlaid with Victorian values. Many of the women I have written about in recent years - notably Katherine Swynford and Mary Boleyn - were relegated to footnotes in more modern works. My aim was always to retrieve women's histories because they are fascinating in their own right. 

For decades, my bulging research files were stored away. When I became a published author, I was able to draw on them for my books on the Wars of the Roses, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Isabella of France. Yet there was so much more, and I was delighted when, in 2014, my publishers commissioned this quartet of books on England's Medieval Queens. The third in the series covers five fourteenth-century consorts who lived at the height of the Age of Chivalry in a brutal and turbulent era that saw the Hundred Years War, the Black Death and the Peasants' Revolt. Three were devoted wives, one was a child, and one overthrew her husband. You will discover how queens lived and died, how they wielded power, and how they dealt with war, betrayal and tragedy. Welcome to the female world of the fourteenth century!



“A thorough and illuminating survey of the Plantagenet dynasty.” (Publishers Weekly)


The third volume of Alison Weir’s magisterial history of the queens of medieval England.

Selected as the Random House Book Club's Classic Pick for December 2022.

A December 2022 Amazon Best of the Month pick in Biographies & Memoirs and in History.

"Medieval queens were seen as mere dynastic trophies, yet many of the Plantagenet queens of the high middle ages dramatically broke away from the restrictions imposed on their sex, as Alison Weir shows in this gripping group biography of England’s fourteenth-century consorts.

Using personal letters and wonderfully vivid sources, Alison Weir evokes the lives of five remarkable queens: Marguerite of France, Isabella of France, Philippa of Hainault, Anne of Bohemia and Isabella of Valois.  

The turbulent, brutal Age of Chivalry witnessed the Black Death, the Peasants’ Revolt, the Hundred Years’ War against France and savage baronial wars against the monarchy in which these queens were passionately involved. Queens of the Age of Chivalry brilliantly recreates this truly dramatic period of history through the lives of five extraordinary women."

Packed with dramatic true stories from one of European history’s most romantic and turbulent eras, this epic narrative chronicles the five vividly rendered queens of the Plantagenet kings who ruled England between 1299 and 1399.

The Age of Chivalry describes a period of medieval history dominated by the social, religious, and moral code of knighthood that prized noble deeds, military greatness, and the game of courtly love between aristocratic men and women. It was also a period of high drama in English history, which included the toppling of two kings, the Hundred Years War, the Black Death, and the Peasants’ Revolt. Feudalism was breaking down, resulting in social and political turmoil.

Against this dramatic milieu, Alison Weir describes the lives and reigns of five queen consorts: Marguerite of France was twenty when she became the second wife of sixty-year-old King Edward I. Isabella of France, later known as “the She-Wolf,” dethroned her husband, Edward II, and ruled England with her lover. In contrast, Philippa of Hainault was a popular queen to the deposed king’s son Edward III. Anne of Bohemia was queen to Richard II, but she died young and childless. Isabella of Valois became Richard’s second wife when she was only six years old, but was caught up in events when he was violently overthrown.

This was a turbulent and brutal age, despite its chivalric color and ethos, and it stands as a vivid backdrop to the extraordinary stories of these queens’ lives.







“Beautifully done.” (NetGalley Reviewer)

“Ms. Weir does it again! … I have read all of Alison Weir’s books and she hasn’t disappointed yet. … I anxiously await her next offering.” 
(NetGalley Reviewer) 

'Weir focuses on broader themes of chivalry that shaped the era’s alliances and debunks the most scandalous court gossip. The result is a thorough and illuminating survey of the Plantagenet dynasty.' (Publishers Weekly)

“A stunning read that will keep fans interested from beginning until the end! … I learned a lot from this book! … 5 stars and more! I highly 
recommend!”  (NetGalley Reviewer)

“Well-researched, competent popular medieval history.” (Kirkus Reviews)

"Engaging... Weir is an excellent storyteller: descriptions are vivid and her knowledge of the sources is extensive." (The Spectator)

“Like few nonfiction authors of our time, Alison Weir again shows that history, when done properly, can captivate the mind and heart as well
as (or maybe even better than) the most creative fiction.” (Bookreporter)

Preliminary jacket designs: