Royal women and intra-familial diplomacy in late thirteenth-century Anglo-French relations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This article examines the diplomatic activities of four royal women related to the kings of England and France in the late thirteenth century, during a period of heightened tension in Anglo-French relations. Elite medieval women probably regularly worked in diplomacy between their natal, marital and extended kin, but it is rare that it can be demonstrated in detail. In this example, substantial evidence shows how Marguerite of Provence, Marie of Brabant, Jeanne of Navarre and Blanche of Artois, worked in close collaboration with their male relations and took initiative in negotiating treaties, sharing intelligence, and acting as brokers of favour. That these efforts failed with dramatic consequences probably explains both the richness of extant evidence about the case, and its dismissive treatment by contemporaries and modern historians alike. Instead, it is argued that women's intra-familial diplomacy remained valued by kings and popes, and, indeed, reflected standard diplomatic practice of the time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-804
Number of pages15
JournalWomen's History Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • kingship
  • Medieval history
  • Diplomacy
  • women's history
  • Queenship
  • Political culture
  • feminist studies

Cite this