Princess Diana and Meghan Markle have both struggled with the downsides of marrying into the British royal family, however at the least no one ever arrested them on accusations of treasonous witchcraft. Astoundingly, that really came about to 4 royal women in a 70-yr period a few six centuries ago, in a burst of bizarre prosecutions.
The Wars of the Roses, the dramatic fifteenth-century conflict over the English crown, have attracted writers from Shakespeare on. More recently they’ve inspired each “Game of Thrones” and the White Queen saga. Now creator Gemma Hollman affords a brand new lens in this period in Royal Witches: Witchcraft and the Nobility in Fifteenth-Century England.
The 4 women—Joan of Navarre, Eleanor Cobham, Jacquetta of Luxembourg and Elizabeth Woodville—have been far from the witchy stereotype of solitary village women. They were all wise and cultivated, the other halves or widows of powerful men: two kings and kings’ brothers. It was too dangerous for those men’s enemies to attack them directly, so their adversaries undermined them with the aid of concentrated on the girls.
Hollman expertly re-creates their courtly world—the lavish clothes, jewels and palaces that stimulated so much envy. Their personalities necessarily remain elusive, but all four chose unusual paths to marriage, so their sense of business enterprise is clear.
In the 15th century, notion in magic blended easily with nascent science; even critical students pursued alchemy. These ladies can also indeed have turned to “love potions” or fortunetellers—but turned into it treasonous conspiracy against the king? The likes of Cardinal Beaufort and Richard III did their great to make that case.
The accused girls were clever and lucky sufficient to break out the axe. But this was no longer a game: Eleanor’s intended accomplices had been tortured and executed. Eleanor herself, the loved spouse of popular Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, turned into forced to stroll unhooded throughout London on three separate days in “penance,” her humiliating fall visible to all.
Even readers acquainted with the basic records of the Wars of the Roses will see aristocratic skulduggery in a strikingly fresh way in Royal Witches, as we preserve to grapple with the remedy of girls who rise to critical positions even in our personal time.