By Nicola Cornick
Why should we be remembering and discussing women from history?
The contribution to history made by women has frequently been overlooked and undervalued. Men and women have worked together to build nations and thereby shape the future. Too often the role of women has been lost, unsung or unrecorded, yet their leadership, courage and strength has been as vital as that of their male counterparts. I feel that women’s contribution to history is an essential part of our heritage and we should derive pride, courage and vision from it.
Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, is one such woman whose contribution to history I feel has been underrated. Born a Scottish princess in 1596, Elizabeth was the only daughter of James VI and I and came to England as a child when her father inherited the throne of England from Queen Elizabeth I. James had two sons; the role of the daughter was to be charming, preferably beautiful and above all, marriageable. Elizabeth fulfilled this part admirably. She was married to a German prince at the age of sixteen to secure a Protestant alliance.
Yet there was another side to Elizabeth’s life. After her husband died young Elizabeth assumed centre stage, fighting to regain her sons’ patrimony. She was a stateswoman, involved in international politics and diplomacy as well as being an influential cultural figure.
Whilst Elizabeth’s beauty and generosity have been remembered, her contribution to the political life of the 17th century has not. It is this story I explore in my book House of Shadows. It’s imperative that we keep discussing women from history because not only does it help us to balance the role of women in the past, it also gives us inspiration for the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicola Cornick studied History at the University of London and has a Master’s Degree in Public History from Ruskin College Oxford. She acts and a history consultant for TV and radio and gives talks on local history and creative writing. Nicola also volunteers as a guide and historian for the National Trust at Ashdown House, where her newest novel House of Shadows is based. Her award-winning novels are international bestsellers and have been translated into 26 languages. She lives in Oxfordshire. For more information, visit Nicola’s website Nicola Cornick, International Bestselling Author. You can follow her on twitter at @NicolaCornick.
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