Emily Joan WardSep 30, 2022
Royal Childhood and Child Kingship
Boy Kings in England, Scotland, France and Germany, c. 1050–1262
Cambridge University Press 2022
Royal Childhood and Child Kingship: Boy Kings in England, Scotland, France and Germany, c. 1050–1262 (Cambridge University Press, 2022) refines adult-focused perspectives on medieval rulership. Dr. Emily Joan Ward exposes the problematic nature of working from the assumption that kingship equated to adult power. Children's participation and political assent could be important facets of the day-to-day activities of rule, as this study shows through an examination of royal charters, oaths to young boys, cross-kingdom diplomacy and coronation.
The first comparative and thematic study of child rulership in this period, Dr. Ward analyses eight case studies across northwestern Europe from c.1050 to c.1250. Dr. Ward stresses innovations and adaptations in royal government, questions the exaggeration of political disorder under a boy king, and suggests a ruler's childhood posed far less of a challenge than their adolescence and youth.
Uniting social, cultural and political historical methodologies, Dr. Ward unveils how wider societal changes between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries altered children's lived experiences of royal rule and modified how people thought about child kingship.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.