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 Middle AgesThe 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, toprepare 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.
The Age of Consent in the Middle Ages
The romance of Courtly love was completely opposite tothe practicalities of Medieval marriage. The Age of Consent - With parental permission it was legal for boys to marry at fourteen and girls at twelve. A betrothal often took place when the prospective bride and groom were as young as 7 years old and in the case of Higher nobility many were betrothed as babies. But a marriage was only legal once the marriage had been consummated.
Noble Women Womenand Marriage
Noble women had very little, if any, choice in who her husband might be. Marriages were frequently arranged so that both families involved would benefit. Marriages would be arranged to bring prestige or wealth to the family of noble women. Marriage for love was a rare occurrence. Noble women of the Middle Ages were expected to bring a dowry to the marriage. A dowry was an amount ofmoney, goods, and property that the bride would bring to the marriage. The law gave a husband full rights over his wife, whether she was a Noble woman or a commoner. She effectively became his property. A wealthy marriage of a Noble woman was celebrated by nine days of feasting and jousting.
The story of Queen Matilda ( Empress Matilda - the 'Lady of the English' )
King Henry I of England had twolegitimate children. William and Matilda. William was killed during the White Ship disaster. The impact of White Ship disaster was that it left Henry with no male heir. Henry then called upon all his chief noblemen to swear that they would take her for their queen in England, and their duchess in Normandy, after his own death. Young Maude , her Latin name was Matilda, was married to the GermanHenry V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Her husband died in 1125 and Matilda returned to England. In 1127 she was forced to marry Geoffrey of Anjou. It was a tempestuous marriage, Matilda left her younger husband (he was 11 years her junior) but was reconciled and produced three sons. The eldest son was Henry, who was born on March 5, 1133 (later, King Henry II of England). Her second son was Geoffrey,Count of Nantes and her youngest son was called William.
Matilda's father, King Henry I of England, died in 1135. Matilda was ready to take her place as Queen of England. Neither English nor Normans had ever been ruled by a woman, and Queen Matilda, the Empress Maude, as she called herself, was a proud, disagreeable, ill-tempered woman, whom nobody liked.
The barons who had vowed to support...