By Dana Cushing
The Plantagenet Connection, v. 8 n. 1 (Summer 2000)
Introduction: In my studies of the Third Crusade there has been the occasional but recurring mention of an English princess, whose name is given variously as Giovanna della Inglese, Jehanne, or Joanna Plantagenet. Although her life became inextricably bound with the significant people and events of her era, she remains a shadowy figure who seems to pass through the chronicles without much further notice. As this conference presented the opportunity to speak of women in the medieval world, particularly the Norman world, I decided to set aside my usual books on war and take up the campaign to give light and life to this little-known Queen of Sicily.
Today in this presentation, I shall examine the life of Joanna Plantagenet in several contexts. First I shall examine her life in biography, tracing her early years to her accession to the throne of Sicily. Afterwards I shall shift our focus toward her political person and position as related to Sicily’s government and contemporary events, using a more conventional essay approach. Finally, I shall deal with several important questions regarding the final days of her reign and her life.