Capetian Women pp 137-161 | Cite as

Blanche of Castile and Facinger’s “Medieval Queenship”: Reassessing the Argument

  • Miriam Shadis
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In her now classic 1968 essay, “A Study of Medieval Queenship: Capetian France, 987–1237,” Marion Facinger traced the dwindling presence of the queen of France in official documents after an apogee of power for Capetian royal wives, beginning with the reign of Adelaide of Maurienne (r. 1115–37). Facinger concluded that over time, French queens became private individuals, distanced from the king’s official curia. Queenly influence on government was possible only through a queen’s personal relations with her husband, which themselves were contained by his visits to her household, or an occasional invitation by the king to his wife or mother to offer advice, lend her support or, perhaps, serve as regent in his absence. Dowager queens were lords only in their personal domains and even there, they did not enjoy the military privileges usually pertaining to such authority. They spent their retirements in good works, occasionally receiving summons to court to offer an opinion or lend glamor to a state occasion.1


Thirteenth Century Twelfth Century Queen Mother Official Role French Court 
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  1. 1.
    Marion F. Facinger, “A Study of Medieval Queenship: Capetian France, 987–1237,” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History 5 (1968): 3–48.Google Scholar
  2. 54.
    Ernst H. Kantorowicz, The king’s two bodies: a study in medieaval political theology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957 ).Google Scholar

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© Kathleen Nolan 2003

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  • Miriam Shadis

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