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Book Cover for: What Is Better Than a Good Woman?: Alice Chaucer, Commoner and Yorkist Matriarch, Michèle Schindler

What Is Better Than a Good Woman?: Alice Chaucer, Commoner and Yorkist Matriarch

Michèle Schindler

Granddaughter of Jeoffrey and grandmother to three Yorkist claimants to the throne, Alice Chaucer is one of the most important female figures of the 15th century. It is remarkable that there has not been a biography of her to-date.

Alice Chaucer, Countess of Salisbury and Duchess of Suffolk, is one of the very rare people, and the only woman, not born to nobility who became an important political player in the upheaval of 15th-century England. Widowed, remarkably enough, at the age of 11, that 'marriage' nevertheless set her on the road to power and riches. Her second husband, the Earl of Salisbury, would die at the Siege of Orleans during the Hundred Years War. Her third husband, William de la Pole, was Henry VI's Chief Minister - and paid for that allegiance with his life, murdered and thrown into the English Channel.

Alice survived all this and more - including a state trial in 1451 - and at the same time was a patron of the arts, commissioning art works depicting empowered historical female characters, notably St Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary. Alice possessed a large library. As late as 1472 Alice became custodian of Margaret of Anjou, her former friend and patron. She protected the inheritance of her son John de la Pole ruthlessly and three of his four sons would pursue the Yorkist claim to the throne against Henry VII: they would all die in the attempt. Is it going too far to call Alice Chaucer a proto-feminist? If one considers her choices of subject matter as an art patron, it might not be.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing
  • Publish Date: Nov 7th, 2024
  • Pages: 320
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00in - 1.49lb
  • EAN: 9781398109698
  • Categories: Europe - MedievalHistoricalWomen

About the Author

Schindler, Michèle: - Michèle Schindler studied at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, reading English Studies and history with a focus on mediaeval studies. At the same time she worked as a language teacher, teaching English and German as a second language. In addition to English and German, she is fluent in French, and reads Latin. She is the author of 'Lovell Our Dogge' and 'Alice Chaucer' for Amberley.