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Daughters of Chivalry

Virginal, chaste, humble, patiently waiting for rescue by brave knights and handsome princes: this idealized – and largely mythical – notion of the medieval noblewoman still lingers. Yet the reality was very different, as this biography of five medieval sisters – Eleanora, Joanna, Margaret, Mary and Elizabeth, the daughters of Edward I of England – demonstrates. 

Living as they did in a courtly culture founded on romantic longing and brilliant pageantry, these real princesses skilfully managed enormous households, navigated choppy diplomatic waters and promoted England throughout Europe. And when they needed to, they defied even their father the king. Although they might never wear the crown in their own right, they were utterly confident of their crucial role in the spectacle of medieval kingship.


Daughters of Chivalry offers a rich portrait of these spirited Plantagenet women. With their libraries of beautifully illustrated psalters and tales of romance, their rich silks and gleaming jewels, we follow these formidable women throughout their lives and see them – at long last – shine from out of the shadows, revealing what it was to be a princess in the Age of Chivalry.

"A stunning and intricately researched portrayal of five extraordinary women whose stories have until now remained in the shadows.  The author shatters many of the myths surrounding the lives of medieval princesses and brings them to life in all their startling modernity." -- Tracy Borman, author of Henry VIII: And the Men Who Made Him

"Daughters of Chivalry is a kind of case study of medieval statecraft and family relations and, along the way, a portrait of life at court... We can probably take it for given that whatever there is to be known about Edward's daughters is to be found here. The book will also serve as a rich quarry for romantic novelists. An engaging and enjoyable book

-- Allan Massie, The Wall Street Journal

"Wilson-Lee’s in-depth narrative on these overlooked women, perfect for Anglophiles, adds new context to the much-studied courts of Edwards I and II." 

-- Publishers Weekly

"...a welcome addition to the shelves of medieval history...the book sets out ... to bring the stories of these five forgotten sisters to a new audience, and in this it succeeds admirably and engagingly. If you do know anyone who still labours under the misapprehension that medieval princesses were little more than damsels in distress, send them a copy." -- Catherine Hanley, Literary Review

"[Wilson-Lee] imagines the  experiences of the sisters who are the subject of Daughters of Chivalry with empathy and patience, as they jolt through...dramas straight out of Game of Thrones... Whoop, whoop!" -- Hermione Eyre, The Spectator

"A much needed book - the first for over a century to turn the spotlight on the daughters of Eleanor of Castile and Edward I. Kelcey Wilson-Lee does a wonderful job of bringing these young women, whose lives have to be reconstructed largely from the small print of the account books, to vibrant life. What is even better, she manages to uncover their very different personalities - right down to their taste in clothes! The royal family of the late thirteenth century truly comes alive in her hands."  -- Sara Cockerill, author of Eleanor of Castile: The Shadow Queen

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