In this episode we will be discussing the case of Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester. We Shakespeareans will know Eleanor as the woman that Margaret of Anjou slapped in Henry VI Part 2. In the play and in real life, Eleanor was accused and found guilty of using witchcraft which led to severe cons
Publish Date: Nov 06, 2021
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In this episode we will be discussing the case of Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester. We Shakespeareans will know Eleanor as the woman that Margaret of Anjou slapped in Henry VI Part 2. In the play and in real life, Eleanor was accused and found guilty of using witchcraft which led to severe consequences, but fortunately not death. It was, of course, much more complicated than what we see in Shakespeare. By looking into the life and downfall of Eleanor Cobham, we see a smart woman who was caught in the crossfire of a power struggle between her husband and his enemies. She did what she could to survive, but only managed to avoid death in the end.
At her birth, no one would have anticipated that Eleanor would eventually become the most powerful woman in England. However, that is exactly what happened. She married Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the regent of England and heir to the throne. The King, Henry VI, was a child for most of her marriage. Humphrey was not the only one vying for power though, with his strongest enemies being Cardinal Beaufort and the Duke of Suffolk. These two proved to be a powerful team and made cunning moves to take down Humphrey by taking down his beloved wife. Eleanor did her best to survive, which she did, but she ultimately lost everything. By all accounts, Humphrey was a broken man.
It’s an interesting tale full of twists and turns that was expertly laid out by Gemma Hollman in her book Royal Witches. Join us on this journey and learn what Shakespeare got right and what he got wrong.
Full show notes at ripegoodscholar.com/ep40
Teller of Tales by Kevin MacLeod
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