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Margaret of Anjou

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how the Queen of England fought to hold on to power for the sake of her son, when her husband's mental illness made him unable to rule.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of the most remarkable queens of the Middle Ages who took control when her husband, Henry VI, was incapable. Margaret of Anjou (1430-1482) wanted Henry to stay in power for the sake of their son, the heir to the throne, and her refusal to back down was seen by her enemies as a cause of the great dynastic struggle of the Wars of the Roses.

The image above is from the Talbot Shrewsbury Book, showing John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, presenting Margaret with that book on her betrothal to Henry


Katherine Lewis
Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Huddersfield

James Ross
Reader in Late Medieval History at the University of Winchester


Joanna Laynesmith
Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Reading

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

51 minutes

Last on

Thu 24 May 2018 21:30


Katherine Lewis at the University of Huddersfield

James Ross at the University of Winchester

Joanna Laynesmith at the University of Reading

Facsimile of the Talbot Shrewsbury book (a wedding gift for Margaret of Anjou) – British Library

The Marguerite d'Anjou portrait medal – V&A collection

‘The prayer roll of Margaret of Anjou, she wolf of France’ by Christopher Muttukumaru – Jesus College Libraries

Margaret of Anjou - Wikipedia



Rowena E. Archer (ed.), Crown, Government and People in the Fifteenth Century (Alan Sutton, 1995), especially ‘Margaret of Anjou, Queen Consort of Henry VI: A Reassessment of her Role 1445-1503’ by Diana Dunn

Helen Castor, She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth (Faber and Faber, 2010)

Keith Dockray, Henry VI, Margaret of Anjou and the Wars of the Roses: A Source Book (Sutton Publishing, 2000)

Theresa Earenfight, Queenship in Medieval Europe (Palgrave, 2013)

Ralph A. Griffiths, The Reign of King Henry VI (first published 1998; Fonthill Media, 2016)

Ralph A. Griffiths (ed.), Patronage, the Crown and the Provinces in Later Medieval England (Sutton, 1981), especially ‘The King's Burden? The Consequences of Royal Marriage in Fifteenth Century England’ by Anne Crawford

David Grummitt, A Short History of the Wars of the Roses (I.B. Tauris, 2012)

J. L. Laynesmith, The Last Medieval Queens (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Katherine J. Lewis, Kingship and Masculinity in Late Medieval England (Routledge, 2013)

Helen E. Maurer, Margaret of Anjou: Queenship and Power in Late Medieval England (Boydell Press, 2005)

Helen Maurer and B. M. Cron, By the Queen: The Letters of Margaret of Anjou (Boydell & Brewer, forthcoming)

A. R. Myers, Crown, Household and Parliament in Fifteenth Century England (Continnuum, 1985)

James Ross, Henry VI: A Good, Simple and Innocent Man (Penguin, 2017)


Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Katherine Lewis
Interviewed Guest James Ross
Interviewed Guest Joanna Laynesmith
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 24 May 2018 09:00
  • Thu 24 May 2018 21:30

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