The uncrowned queen : Alice Perrers, Edward III and political crisis in fourteenth-century England, 1360-1377
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This thesis is a full political biography of Alice Perrers, the mistress of Edward III from the early 1360s until his death in June 1377 and mother to three of his children. It argues on the basis of the progression of her career that after the death of Edward’s queen consort Philippa of Hainault in August 1369 Alice was able to extend the scope of her power and influence to the point that she became a ‘quasi’ or ‘uncrowned’ queen and, consequently, that her contribution to the political crisis of the 1370s can only be fully understood in terms of queenship. More generally, despite the recent increase on work on Alice, this study suggests that her life deserves a more thorough and nuanced appraisal than it has so far received. Various aspects of Alice’s life are explored: her birth, family and first marriage; her early years as Edward III’s mistress; the change in her status after Philippa of Hainault’s death; her commercial activity as a moneylender and businesswoman; her accumulation of a landed estate and moveable goods; what happened to her in the Good Parliament; her trial in 1377; her marriage to William Wyndesore; and her life after Edward III’s death. By examining Alice’s career in this fashion it is shown that she took a leading role in the court party during the 1370s. Ultimately, by taking the original approach of applying ideas about queenship to a royal mistress this thesis demonstrates that Alice was perceived to have ‘inverted’ or undermined the traditional role that the queen played in complementing and upholding the sovereignty and kingship of her husband, something that has implications for the wider study of not only mistresses, but also queens and queenship and even male favourites.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2023-10-10
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 10th October 2023
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