Queens of the Crusades

Packed with incredible true stories and legendary medieval intrigue, this epic narrative history chronicles the first five queens from the powerful royal family that ruled England and France for over three hundred years.

The Plantagenet queens of England played a role in some of the most dramatic events in our history. Crusading queens, queens in rebellion against their king, seductive queens, learned queens, queens in battle, queens who enriched England with the romantic culture of southern Europe – these determined women often broke through medieval constraints to exercise power and influence, for good and sometimes for ill.

This second volume of Alison Weir’s critically-acclaimed history of the queens of medieval England now moves into a period of even higher drama, from 1154 to 1291: years of chivalry and courtly love, dynastic ambition, conflict between church and throne, baronial wars, and the ruthless interplay between the rival monarchs of Britain and France. We see events such as the murder of Becket, Magna Carta and the birth of parliaments from a new perspective.

Weir’s narrative begins with the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Henry II established a dynasty which ruled for over three hundred years and created the most powerful empire in western Christendom – but also sowed the seeds for some of the most destructive family conflicts in history and for the collapse, under her son King John, of England’s power in Europe. The lives of Eleanor’s four successors were just as remarkable: Berengaria of Navarre, queen of Richard the Lionheart; Isabella of Angoulême, wife if King John, Alienor of Provence, wife of Henry III, and Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I. In telling their stories, Alison Weir provides an enthralling new perspective on a dramatic period of high romance and sometimes low politics, with determined women at the heart of it.


"The book that I most anticipated this year was Alison Weir’s Queens of the Crusades. Told with all of Weir’s characteristic verve and exceptional eye for detail, this book should find its way into every history lover’s Christmas stocking." (Tracy Borman, Books of the Year, BBC History Magazine)

"It really is the most stunning book and deserves every success.  [Weir has] brought those five queens to life like never before.  I just raced through it - it has all the drama and suspense of a novel...  I honestly thought it was one of her best books ever - and that's saying something. It is just wonderful and so engaging - classic Alison Weir and deserves to soar to the top of the charts, as I'm sure it will." (Tracy Borman, author of The King's Witch, The Devil's Slave and Fallen Angel)

"Weir focuses on the period from 1154 to 1291, offering a meticulous tapestry. [She] effectively interweaves her minutely chronological account into the context of religious wars and cultural currents. As in previous books, the exceedingly knowledgeable author’s prodigious research is impressive. Another treat for Weir fans." (Kirkus Reviews)

"This meticulous group biography of the first five Plantagenet queens of England brushes away long-standing legends. Weir skillfully documents the political, religious, and cultural issues of medieval England and France." (Publishers Weekly)

"Weir now brews her special blend of scholarship and storytelling in the second volume in a biographical series on the country's medieval queens.  Their stories are toldin a single continuous narrative, and the result is like a magnificent tapestry, skillfully woven,ingeniously embroidered down to the smallest detail, and gloriously shot through with theglittering intrigues of the royal court. Aimed at the general reader, this rich and robustaccount will appeal to readers interested in medieval England and some of its most fascinatingroyal women, whose stories are often left out of the history books."

“The author writes clearly and entertainingly of the rich history of the Plantagenet queens of England and for an audience unfamiliar with the subject.” (New York Journal of Books)

"I'm reading Alison Weir's Queens of the Crusades because I love a good history book." (Rachel Hawkins, author of The Wife Upstairs)

“Queens of the Crusades [is Weir’s] latest in an impressive canon of more than two dozen historical biographies and novels. . . . [A] brilliant, compelling and meticulously detailed revelation . . . In its abundant detail about real lives lived amid the broad political strokes of medieval kings, Queens of the Crusades captures a rich sensory impression of how five brilliant yet fallible women managed their subject societies in a precarious and dangerously changeable world.”(Bookreporter)

"I was enthralled by the second instalment of [the] England's Medieval Queens series. Told with all of Alison's characteristic verve and exceptional eye for detail, the narrative sheds new light on seismic events such as the murder of Thomas Becket, Magna Carta and the birth of Parliament. It's a stunning book and I felt bereft after finishing it." (Tracy Borman: Inside Story, for Historic Royal Palaces)


“Alison Weir does it again. She is the epitome of historic authors particularly in this medieval realm. I cannot read enough of her books. …These Queens would be proud to read it and you continue to give the people of this time such respect, awe and dignity.”

“This author is amazing. I cannot even imagine how much time she spends doing research.”

“Being an Alison Weir junkie, I eagerly looked forward to reading Queens of the Crusades. As usual Ms. Weir did not disappoint! True to her style she made history come alive.”

“This time we get the women of history! Thoroughly enjoyed.”


“I’m blown away. Weir always does a great job retelling history in a way that is engaging and brings her subject to life - a difficult feat for the medieval period.”

“I love Alison Weir’s books and this one was no different!”

“Great read! You can’t go wrong.”

“What an amazing, creative read.”

You can read this article in BBC History magazine's December 2020 issue.


To download a book club kit for Queens of the Crusades, click on this link: file:///C:/Users/Alison/AppData/Local/Temp/WEIR_QueensOfTheCrusades_bookclubkit_8.5x11in_final-1.pdf

Preliminary jacket design: