For Better, For Worse (and Often it was Worse): Stories of England's Queens - D55 31000

D55 31000 12 hours

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Marriage to the King of England might bring a life of privilege and wealth, but there were drawbacks.  It usually meant marrying a stranger and moving to a foreign country.  It then brought the obligation common to all wives—producing children, along with the added responsibility of having to play a role on the national stage.  An ordinary woman would be judged by her neighbours; the queen was judged by everybody, while being viewed with the same prejudices and fantasies as any other woman.  An incompetent husband was a cross any woman might have to bear, but the wife of an incompetent king might find herself actively engaged in affairs of state, perhaps even having to deal with war and rebellion. In short, a queen might have more burdens to carry than most women, but she might also have more opportunity to demonstrate her courage and character.   But, whatever her triumphs or tragedies, a queen’s life would be recorded by contemporaries and then told and retold in drama and fiction as well as in the history books. The six weeks of the course will begin with medieval queens and end in the 20th century with Mary (George V) and Elizabeth (George VI).  In between, we’ll look at the rival queens of the Wars of the Roses, the queens of Henry VIII and the Stuart and Hanoverian queens. You may learn new things about a queen you thought you knew and be introduced to fascinating women whose stories have been unfamiliar.

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