Joan of Arc or Boudicca? Boudicca every time for me, I fear….

Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1854

Joan of Arc means a great deal to France, but I’m afraid I have never really cottoned on to her. Perhaps because I’m a little uncomfortable when it comes to people who “hear voices”. Not that I’m saying she deserved her horrible death. Far from it. No one deserves that. But when it comes to great female warriors, I prefer Boudicca/Boadicea. Clearly I will never become St Sandra!

Anyway, today (17th July) in 1429, at Joan’s urgent behest, the Dauphin was crowned Charles VII of France at Reims. Joan was in attendance (see illustration above). It was in the middle of the Hundred Years War, and the English were at the gates, so to speak. The King of England, Henry VI, was a child of about eight, but even if he’d been twenty-eight he wouldn’t have been much good. He was useless. Period. Later, during his long periods of “madness”, he was simply even more useless.  So his uncle, John, Duke of Bedford, was regent. Bedford was a good leader and things were going well…until a peasant girl threw a spanner in his works.

Jeanne d’Arc, known as The Maid of Orléans, came from nowhere, having visions and believing herself to be under the guidance of God’s angels and saints. Dressed in armour as a man, she took command of the French army and caused Bedford a bit of bother. Which the duke did not appreciate, of course.

To cut a long story short, she was eventually captured, tried and sentenced to burn at the stake as a witch. This dire event took place on 30th May 1430

The English get all the blame for this atrocity, but it wasn’t entirely their doing. To begin with, she’d fallen into the hands of Jean II, Count of Luxembourg, who sold her to the English for 10,000 gold livres. see here.

To read more about Joan’s fate, go to the Guardian

And I still prefer Boudicca/Boadicea, I’m afraid.


  1. Jehanne la Pucelle was a saint in my book, if you had to deal with that nest of vipers at the French court, had to drag a weasely, pettish, fey, devious, backstabbing, waste of time and effort like the dauphin (ie. Charles VII) to Reims to be crowned king when you just should have crowned the miserable wretch with a cudgel then yes, a sainthood, knighthood and “Beam me up Scotty” get me outta here!

    Joan’s voices, on that I am not theologically competent to pass judgment, they could have been the garden variety type (“Amma, skipped the gym again this week, right?”) or full blown conversations in which Shakespeare would have been madly keen to scribble down for his stash of future soliloquies, again NONE of us know. What I find so admirable is that she was set up, what should have been a ecclesiastical trial instead became a political one that she was not going to win, and whether she was 18 or 20 she was up against earned, deviously educated men in the theological points of law and she bested them, made them look ridiculous, embarrassed them, which is probably the worst thing she could have done.

    For ricardians her story intersects in many unexpected ways, QEW’s dear mother was once married to Bedford, the duke who has the unhappy stain in history as ultimately her executioner. Both Bedford and HV were for reasons I do not know, a mite leery of witches, not sure if that is just Shakespeare backhistory in play or something well known in their lifetimes. The duc de Orleans’ illegitimate son, Jean de Dunois, was one of Joan’s most valued lieutenants, and with her from Orleans onward and afterwards; I had a mad crush on this “Bastard de Orleans” (the French did begin using the accent marks until the mid 1600’s) and in my preteen mind I saw him valiantly continuing her crusade against the “goddamns” (I’ve often wondered about this term, was it something she heard English soldiers calling out??)

    As a unrepentant Francophile I can only say I do wonder what Richard would make of me! lol Mais je l’aime aussi!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “…a weasely, pettish, fey, devious, backstabbing, waste of time and effort like the dauphin…”???? Good heavens, amma, say it how it is! But I do concede that I’m in the minority where Joan is concerned. I’ll never earn a halo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Viscountessw,

      I defer, in humility and proper recognition to my betters, that you are far above me, I am a peasant, I think like a peasant, prefer bare feet, eschew fine (and annoying) laces and tissuey veils, I tend to be blunt then have to scrape my way back into someone’s good graces … you on the other hand serve a fine and noble cause, that of a maligned Richard (see what I did there?), and for that a halo, perhaps unseen by OTHERS, we do indeed, see, or perhaps a coronet with a tracery of delicate alternating white boars and roses?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. May I have some whopping great emeralds among the white boars and roses, please? I’m anybody’s for an emerald!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Fie, do not cheppen thyself viscountessw for mere baubles! Yn thy coronet wyll be emeraudes clustered about the roses, but not thorns! Unless ye wishes they be pricked with poison, and easy to pluck and so jab any one who would do ye manasses (took me awhile to figure out that meant ‘menace/menacing’) …

    I have taken to middle English, spell anyway you want, in the same sentence, makes no diff, sound like you’ve been partying with me on tequila, fine, whoohoo


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: