© 2018

Queenship and Counsel in Early Modern Europe

  • Helen Matheson-Pollock
  • Joanne Paul
  • Catherine Fletcher


  • Offers the first study of the relationship between queenship and counsel from a pan-European perspective

  • Examines the strategies that royal women employed to establish influence and give counsel

  • Includes a wide variety of sources and themes, from literary text, material culture and architecture to rhetoric, relationships and performance

  • Appeals to scholars of history, politics and literature in early modern Europe, particularly early modern royalty, courts and diplomacy


Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)

About this book


The discourse of political counsel in early modern Europe depended on the participation of men, as both counsellors and counselled. Women were often thought too irrational or imprudent to give or receive political advice—but they did in unprecedented numbers, as this volume shows. These essays trace the relationship between queenship and counsel through over three hundred years of history. Case studies span Europe, from Sweden and Poland-Lithuania via the Habsburg territories to England and France, and feature queens regnant, consort and regent, including Elizabeth I of England, Catherine Jagiellon of Sweden, Catherine de’ Medici and Anna of Denmark. They draw on a variety of innovative sources to recover evidence of queenly counsel, from treatises and letters to poetry, masques and architecture. For scholars of history, politics and literature in early modern Europe, this book enriches our understanding of royal women as political actors.


early modern political discourse Queens consort advisers to royalty early Modern Europe women and power in history sixteenth-century Poland-Lithuania early modern political counsel Catherine of Aragon Mary Tudor Catherine Jagiellon Ladies' Peace early modern diplomacy Catherine de Medici Mary Stuart Elizabeth I in The Faerie Queene Anna of Denmark

Editors and affiliations

  • Helen Matheson-Pollock
    • 1
  • Joanne Paul
    • 2
  • Catherine Fletcher
    • 3
  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.University of SussexBrightonUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Swansea UniversitySwanseaUnited Kingdom

About the editors

Helen Matheson-Pollock is Honorary Research Associate at University College London, UK.

Joanne Paul is Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Sussex, UK.

Catherine Fletcher is Associate Professor in History and Heritage at Swansea University, UK.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Queenship and Counsel in Early Modern Europe
  • Editors Helen Matheson-Pollock
    Joanne Paul
    Catherine Fletcher
  • Series Title Queenship and Power
  • Series Abbreviated Title Queenship and Power
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-76973-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-08337-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-76974-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 284
  • Number of Illustrations 4 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Early Modern Europe
    Gender Studies
    Cultural History
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This is a valuable addition to the Queenship and Counsel series and a useful work for anyone wanting to learn about how queens in Early Modern Europe were counselled and how they received that counsel, with some, like Elizabeth I, taking counsel but often still ignoring it and making her own decision. It is still a very academic work, and so I would only recommend this to those who have some experience of the events in question.” (Charlie Fenton, Tudor Life, Issue 53, January, 2019)