MatildaMatilda: Empress, Queen, Warrior

Published by Yale University Press in 2019
ISBN: 9780300227253 (hardback); 9780300251470 (paperback)

Matilda was a daughter, wife, and mother. But she was also empress, heir to the English crown—the first woman ever to hold the position—and an able military general.

This new biography explores Matilda’s achievements as military and political leader, and sets her life and career in full context. Catherine Hanley provides fresh insight into Matilda’s campaign to claim the title of queen, her approach to allied kingdoms and rival rulers, and her role in the succession crisis. Hanley highlights how Matilda fought for the throne, and argues that although she never sat on it herself her reward was to see her son become king. Extraordinarily, her line has continued through every single monarch of England or Britain from that time to the present day.

Excerpts from reviews of Matilda

Buy from Yale UK
Buy from Yale US
Buy from Amazon

LouisLouis: the French prince who invaded England

Published by Yale University Press in 2016
ISBN: 9780300217452

In 1215 a group of English barons, dissatisfied with the weak and despicable King John, decided that they needed a new monarch. They wanted a strong, experienced man, of royal blood, and they found him on the other side of the Channel: astonishingly, the most attractive candidate for the crown of England was Louis, eldest son and heir of the king of France. In this fascinating biography of England’s least-known “king”- and the first to be written in English – Catherine Hanley explores the life and times of “Louis the Lion” before, during, and beyond his quest for the English throne. She illuminates the national and international context of his 1216 invasion, and explains why and how after sixteen fruitless months he failed to make himself King Louis I of England. Hanley also explores Louis’s subsequent reign over France until his untimely death on the Albigensian Crusade. Published eight centuries after the creation of Magna Carta and on the 800th anniversary of Louis’s proclamation as king, this fascinating story is a colorful tale of national culture, power, and politics that brings a long-forgotten life out of the shadows of history.

Excerpts from reviews of Louis

Buy from Yale (UK)
Buy from Yale (US)
Buy at Amazon

War and combatWar and Combat 1150-1270: The Evidence from Old French Literature

Published by Boydell and Brewer in 2003.
ISBN: 9780859917810

War and Combat is an academic book which takes an interdisciplinary look at warfare in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

War and combat were significant factors in the lives of all conditions of people during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; thousands of men, women and children prepared for, engaged in and suffered from the consequences of almost endemic armed conflict. However, while war and combat feature prominently in many of the forms of literature written at the time, the theme of warfare in some types of narrative source remains a relatively under-studied area. This book offers an investigation of the depiction of warfare in contemporary writings, in both fictional narratives and factual accounts, aiming to bridge the gap between the disciplines of literature and military history.

Excerpts from reviews of War and Combat

Buy at Amazon
Buy from Boydell and Brewer

Partonopeus de Blois

An Electronic Edition

Prepared by: Penny Eley, Penny Simons, Mario Longtin, Catherine Hanley, Philip Shaw

Partonopeus de Blois is a medieval French verse romance, composed in the last third of the twelfth century. It tells of how the young hero, Partonopeus, is transported to a mysterious city where he encounters the heroine Melior. He becomes her lover without ever seeing her, but eventually breaks the taboo on bringing a light into her bedchamber and is banished by her. After various adventures, he is forgiven, wins her hand in marriage at a three-day tournament, and becomes emperor of Byzantium. A continuation then tells the story of the hero’s former squire, Anselot, and of an unsuccessful invasion by Partonopeus’s former love-rival, the sultan of Persia.

I have also published academic articles in a variety of peer-reviewed journals in the UK, France and the USA. My most recent activity in this area was writing several entries for the Oxford Encyclopaedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology.

It’s a combination that is probably not readily apparent, but I also used to have a sideline writing about cricket, having had articles published in Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, the Australian Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, Wisden Cricket Monthly, the websites and, and Inside Cricket (an Australian cricket magazine). I loved it, and I’m pleased to say that while I was involved in cricket writing, I was able to pursue a lifelong interest, and to meet a number of utterly charming sports journalists (that’s not a phrase you hear often!), players and ex-players.