The Lioness Roared

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How were English ruling queens able to assert and maintain their authority over male dominant, patriarchal political cultures? This study combines the methodologies of gender studies and political and constitutional history to provide a sweeping historical explanation for how these women pulled off such a feat. While ruling queens occupied the office of king, they still had to conform to contemporary expectations of womanhood that served as social and political roadblocks to the full exercise of regal power. Charles Beem has identified a specific yet panoramic set of problems facing female rulers throughout British history, from the twelfth century empress Matilda's imaginative efforts to become England's first regnant queen, to Queen Victoria's remarkable exercise of political power during the Bedchamber Crisis of 1839.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Highly readable, engaging, and enlightening. One might even consider reading this book purely for pleasure."
--The American Historical Review

"This study helpfully puts the spotlight on queenship over the longue durée, providing welcome new avenues for research by transcending the boundaries of individual reigns."
--Journal of British Studies

"There is much to admire about this book. Beem successfully combines traditional political history with gender analysis . . . This is a worthy study of the art of kingly queenship."
--Canadian Journal of History

"Charles Beem has written a stimulating series of case-studies on female regnal power . . . his conceptual clarity and well-crafted review of four historiographies sheds useful light on issues of gender and power."
--Clarissa Campbell Orr, Archives: The Journal of the British Records Association

"Thoughtful and thorough . . . Beem admirably situtates his study both within the fields of women's studies and political history, exploring these women's reigns for what they contribute to our understanding of women's positions and the political situation of the time."
--Medieval Feminist Forum

"The Lioness Roared is a novel and important study of the meaning of 'kingship,' adding as much to our appreciation of the social and political constructs of gender as to our understanding of the problems specific to female rule. Other scholars have investigated individual instances of women on the throne, but none as comprehensively as Charles Beem’s treatment of the rule of British queens from Matilda to Victoria."
--Howard Nenner, Smith College

"Charles Beem examines the queens of England and demonstrates that Elizabeth I was not the only strong and fascinating woman to rule as consort or regnant. With many examples from the medieval period onward, this thoroughly researched and beautifully written study should find a wide and enthusiastic readership."
--Carole Levin, Willa Cather Professor of History, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230606340
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Series: Queenship and Power Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Beem is an Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Pembroke.

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Table of Contents

The lioness roared : introduction 1
1 Making a name for herself : the Empress Matilda and the construction of female lordship in twelfth-century England 25
2 Her kingdom's wife : Mary I and the gendering of regal power 63
3 "I am her majesty's subject" : Queen Anne, Prince George of Denmark, and the transformation of the English male consort 101
4 "What power have I left?" : Queen Victoria's bedchamber crisis revisited 141
Conclusion : does the lioness still roar? 173
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