Queen's Mate tells the story of three remarkable women who shaped and presided over the destiny of France during the last years of the 15th century and the early part of the 16th: Anne of France, Anne of Brittany, and Louise of Savoy. Although each is worthy of her own individual biography, their lives were so enmeshed by kinship, marriage and circumstances as to be well served by a book that mirrors the complex interweaving of their lives. Their story is rich enough in dramatic incident to provide a gripping narrative, but the book looks also at the wider issues: at the restrictions, particularly in the exercise of power, placed on the three women by society; at their success in ignoring or pushing back those barriers; at what they wanted or expected for their daughters; and at how they saw themselves in relation to men. The study draws largely on contemporary sources, both printed and manuscript, and presents material hitherto unknown or overlooked. It is the first study of the three women as a group, and indeed is one of the first modern, reliable studies in English or French of any one of them as an individual.
Table of Contents
Contents: Prologue: The Orléans Marriage; ’Certes, c’estoit une maistresse femme’ 1483-1487: The troubled inheritance; First moves; Two steps forward, one step back; The clash of steel; Dress rehearsal; Maids in waiting; Madame s’en va-t-en guerre; The Conquest of Brittany 1487-1491: The child duchess; Madame’s new grandeur; Queen of the Romans; Madame de Bourbon bypassed; Checked and twice mated; A Paladin King 1492-1498: Off with the old, on with the new; A very young queen; Castles in the air; The king’s great venture; Loss; The mute witnesses: Accounts and portraits;The Countess of AngoulÃªme; In the midst of life...; Looking back; The New Dispensation 1498-1506: All change; A sorry business; The countess travels north; Queen by grace of God - again; The same only different; Full bloom; Princesses in the market-place; Mother and daughter; mother and son; The graves of their dead; How are the mighty fallen; Picking up the pieces; The Wheel of Fortune 1507-1515: Madame la Vieille; Checks and balances; Life at court; One small cheer; Draining the cup; La royne est morte; Epilogue: The triumph of Dame Prudence; Appendix I: Louise of Savoy’s Journal; Appendix II: Anne of Brittany’s letter to Claude; Appendix III: Chronological table; Select bibliography; Index.
'...a very thorough and detailed study... an extremely comprehensive analysis.' Choice '... an interesting and readable book...' English Historical Review 'Matarasso's narrative does as good a job as can be imagined of illustrating the personal rivalries as well as the political and cultural lives of these formidable women.... masterful in her command of nineteenth-century sources and scholarship.' Renaissance Quarterly '... a valuable guide to the intermeshed lives of these three powerful and important women.' Sixteenth Century Journal '... Matarasso has triumphed [...] and written a book that is both scholarly and readable.' The Brown Book