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Joan Plantagenet (1328 - 1385), acclaimed in her youth as the "Fair Maid of Kent", became notorious for making both a clandestine and a bigamous marriage in her teens and, in her thirties, a scandalous marriage to her kinsman, Edward III's son and heir, Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince. Despite these transgressions, she later became one of the most influential people in the realm and a highlyrespected source of stability. Her life provides a distinctive perspective of a noblewoman at the heart of affairs in fourteenth-century England, a period when the Crown, despite enjoying some striking triumphs, also faced a series of political and social crises which shook conventional expectations. Furthermore, her life adds depth to our understanding of a time when marriage began to be regarded not just as a dynastic arrangement but a contract freely entered into by a couple.
This accessibly written account of her life sets her in the full context of her world, and vividly portrays aspirited medieval woman who was determined to be mistress of her fate and to make a mark in challenging times.