Category:Noble Women

From Grevinde af Markland
Jump to: navigation, search
An idealized picture of a Noble Woman from the middle ages
Unlike their male counterparts, noble women during the middle ages were not equal in any real way. Even if a woman held a title in her own right she, nor her sons, would be summoned to Parliament until she died. The women of the Middle Ages were totally dominated by the male members of their family. The women were expected to instantly obey not only their father, but also their brothers and any other male members of the family. Any unruly girls were beaten into submission and disobedience was seen as a crime against religion. The education of Noble women in the Middle Ages concentrated on the practical as opposed to academic. Young noble women as young as seven girls would be sent away from their home to live with another noble family. There she would be taught a range of subjects and skills. Manners and etiquette were of prime importance, including how to curtsey and how to mix with the greatest nobles in the land. Time would be spent learning how to dance and ride. Archery were also taught to young noble women. These young girls were expected to act as servants to the older ladies of the castle.

The duties of the young noble women would be to look after clothes and the assist ladies with their dressing and coiffure. Some housewifely duties such as preserving fruits and household management would be taught, to prepare them for their duties as a married woman. High ranking young women would take on the role of ladies-in-waiting and were taught French. Young noble women would also be taught the principles of the Medieval Code of Chivalry and Courtly Love and would join the spectators at jousting tournaments. However, then we had the outliers to this social normative behavior. Here women became powerful Queens, Countesses and Baronesses. Respected rulers, soldiers, knights, and commanders in their own right. They were artists, scholars, educators, builders, and bestowed with land and titles by royalty which was all outside normative social rules for noble women. Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland (1542-1587) was one such woman whose life provided tragedy and romance, more dramatic than any legend. Mary was found to be plotting against Elizabeth; letters in code, from her to others, were found and she was deemed guilty of treason. She was taken to Fotheringhay Castle and executed in 1587.