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Margaret Of Anjou: Monstrous Monarch Or Quintessential Queen?

1759 words - 8 pages

"To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation or city is repugnant to nature, contumely to God, a thing most contarious to his revealed will and approved ordinance, and finally it is the subversion of good order, of all equality and justice."

Queen Margaret of Anjou(1430-1482), wife of King Henry VI of England(1421-1471)has been reveled for centuries. She was nicknamed "she-wolf of France" by Shakespeare and depicted as a ruthless, murderous, cold-hearted monster. However, this may not be an accurate representation of Margaret. She was a powerful woman; born into a life of violence, instability, and loss which shaped her personality into that of a queen who was as formidable as Elizabeth I.
Born March 23, 1430, Margaret of Anjou (Margaret d'Anjou in French)at Pont-à-Mousson, France to Rene of Anjou and Isabella, Duchess of Loreine. Margaret had been born into a great noble family, not only was she the daughter of a duke and niece of King Charles VII of France, she was also a descent of two queens of England: Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror and Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Henry II. Yet while Margaret grew up in a cultured court setting, the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453), a conflict over the French throne between main belligerents of France and England was raging. The constant threat of danger would have a greater affect on a young Margaret more than anyone could have imagined.
As child, Margaret was raised primarily by her mother and grandmother; her father had been taken hostage in Dijon, Burgundy when she was only a few years old. With her mother in charge of her education, Margaret was able to study with the same tutors who taught her brothers until the age of fifteen. A formal education was not the only type of education Margaret earned on behalf of her mother; with her father gone, Isabella was running the kingdom in Rene's stead. In 1434 Isabella even travelled to Naples, Italy in order to defend Rene's claim on the throne.
With Isabella away in Italy, Rene's land was left under the protection of his mother and Margaret's grandmother, Yolande of Aragon. Yolande had already proven to be a capable leader and tactician; she had secured her family's future by befriending a young Charles VII. Between 1415-1417 Charles was the dauphin of France and on the run from enemies. Yolande gave the prince sanctuary and then married him to her daughter Mary. When Charles became king in 1422, Yolande had elevated her family's status astronomically. Another notable deed of Yolande's was her support of famous French hero Joan of Arc. In 1429 Yolande had funded Joan's camagin against the English, earning her great praise. Now, with both her son and daughter away, Yolande became the primary influence on the young Margaret. Under her care, Margaret continued her studies with her tutors, but along with her studies Margaret also learned etiquette and how to check account books. As Margaret matured, it...

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