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Joanna of Sicily: A Forgotten Queen in Crusading Chronicles

The Grand Jury Room in The Great Hall, The Castle, Castle Avenue, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8UJ

Part of our Extraordinary Women series: Gabby Storey's talk reconstructs the life of one of our unknown queens - Joanna (1165-1199), queen of Sicily. Gabby's talk will also explore the challenges in uncovering the lives of noble & royal women. PRE-BOOKING RECOMMENDED

Joan of England (1165-1199), later known as Joanna of Sicily (r. 1177-1199), is a queen not known to many. Often confused with Joanna, the queen of Napes, Jerusalem and Sicily in the later 13th century, this Joanna was sister of Richard I and twice married, first to William II of Sicily and later Raymond VI, count of Toulouse.

Historical documentation of both her life and political agency is scant, and historians rely primarily on the chronicles to build an image of her life. Chronicles however remain a deeply problematic source for uncovering the lives of noble and royal women.

Gabby will explore how Joanna’s representation has been manipulated by the agendas of the three chroniclers, and how the presentation of her as a bride, childless queen and hostage has created a complex but distorted view. Through discussion of these portrayals Gabby will bring to light a previously under-examined queen, as past research has focused on building a biographical study of her in light of her position as a daughter of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Ultimately, her talk will uncover how although the crusader chronicles can be a complex source when analysing royal women, they allow us to build a picture of Joanna of Sicily, a queen who has been largely forgotten from medieval Anglo-Norman history.

● Sunday 16 September: 1330-1430

Booking Details:
The Great Hall and the Extraordinary Women exhibition are free to explore, but please pre-book the talk to guarantee a place.

Access Information:
Access to Grant Jury Room is via stairs. Venue advises us that disabled access to the Grand Jury Room is by escort only. Ramp access to Great Hall and Queen Eleanor's Garden.

Additional Information:
Max 30 people per tour/session. Talk lasts approx 1 hour, will include Q&A.

Turn right after entering The Great Hall and proceed up the stairs.