Blanche of Castile:

Following up on the post of a few days ago, I thought of doing a series on similar women.

Blanche of Castile organized two fleets to assist her husband in his invasion of England. Although the invasion failed, the failure was due to a united England's resistance rather than to any failure of effort or intelligence on her part.

Later, following her husband's death, she was regent of France and guardian of their children. During this time she resisted an attack by the English upon her soil, and broke up a cartel of Barons united to claim greater powers from her (as a similar group would wrest the Magna Carta from King John).

She became regent again while her son Louis IX, then king, went on Crusade. He felt quite confident leaving his mother to defend his kingdom, and provide him with support for his wars in the Holy Land.

Has anyone written a book in the last few years about the remarkable women of the Middle Ages, one that doesn't portray them as victims of the Patriarchy, nor as helpless Disney-style "princesses", but allows them to shine in their own glory? One that respects them for who they were and what they did, and shows them as the partners of the men in their lives? Blanche was a very reliable partner to her husband and son, trusted and capable, and therefore possessed of great duties and powers.

Such a book would be a worthy project, if it has not been done. If it has, I would very much enjoy reading it myself.

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