Book Hack
Royal WitchesBy Gemma Hollman

In a Nutshell

Historian Gemma Hollman explores the lives of four noblewomen from the 15th century and how accusations of witchcraft were weaponized against them for political ends.

Favorite Quote

The narrative of these women is one of centuries of propaganda, changing values and lack of research ... these women were real, complex people, with multiple motives and conflicting feelings. None of them were wholly good or wholly bad.

Gemma Hollman


We often believe that the Late Middle Ages was a very male-dominated era, and that apart from a few notable exceptions, women rarely acted in the political realm.

However, noblewomen had key roles to play in the royal courts of the 15th century and could become very powerful.

In Royal Witches, historian Gemma Hollman highlights four noblewomen who were tied by birth and marriage to the monarchies in England and France: Joan of Navarre, Eleanor Cobham, Jacquetta of Luxembourg, and Elizabeth Woodville.

These women were powerful political figures in court and were all accused of witchcraft in their lifetimes.

Hollman explores how witchcraft accusations were weaponized against powerful women and their husbands, shedding light on their untold stories.

Here are the 3 key insights from this Hack

  1. 1.
    Women occupied a very vulnerable position in 15th-century society
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