Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Can't Wait Wednesday: Matilda II: The Forgotten Queen by Joanna Arman


For this week's Can't Wait Wednesday, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, I'm featuring Matilda II: The Forgotten Queen by Joanna Arman. I have always loved reading about the reigns of Henry I and II but it is hard to find anything on the wife of Henry I. Much has been covered about their daughter, the Empress Matilda, but not so much about her mother, also named Matilda. I am glad to see this subject given a whole book and hope it is informative and interesting. 

*I'm not finding it anywhere for sale in the United States yet but hopefully it won't be long.

Happy Reading!

June 30, 2023


Description courtesy of NetGalley

The wife of King Henry I and the mother of the Empress Maud is a woman and a Queen forgotten to history. She is frequently conflated with her daughter or her mother-in-law. She was born the daughter of the King of Scotland and an Anglo-Saxon princess. Her name was Edith, but her name was changed to Matilda at the time of her marriage.

The Queen who united the line of William the Conqueror with the House of Wessex lived during an age marked by transition and turbulence. She married Henry in the first year of the 12th century and for the eighteen years of her rule aided him in reforming the administrative and legal system due to her knowledge of languages and legal tradition. Together she and her husband founded a series of churches and arranged a marriage for their daughter to the Holy Roman Emperor. Matilda was a woman of letters to corresponded with Kings, Popes, and prelates, and was respected by them all.

Matilda’s greatest legacy was continuity: she united two dynasties and gave the Angevin Kings the legitimacy they needed so much. It was through her that the Empress Matilda and Henry II were able to claim the throne. She was the progenitor of the Plantagenet Kings, but the war and conflict which followed the death of her son William led to a negative stereotyping by Medieval Chroniclers. Although they saw her as pious, they said she was a runaway nun and her marriage to Henry was cursed.

This book provides a much-needed re-evaluation of Edith/Matilda’s role and place in the history of the Queens of England.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating history of notable but forgotten woman. Love the cover of the book.