King’s Ely student joint winner of prestigious History Essay Prize

July 27, 2020

A King’s Ely Sixth Form student has been announced as the joint winner of this year’s Peterhouse Vellacott History Essay Prize.

Eleanor Wallace’s winning essay is entitled ‘The Body of a Weak and Feeble Woman’: A Study of Proactive Queenship in the Twelfth Century. The competition is organised by Peterhouse, Cambridge – the oldest constituent college of the University of Cambridge – and hundreds of students enter each year so, quite rightly, Eleanor is delighted to have come joint first.

Eleanor, who has been a student at King’s Ely since joining King’s Ely Acremont Nursery in 2005, said: “I entered the Peterhouse Vellacott History Essay Competition at the beginning of the Summer term, having written it over the Easter Holidays. I am immensely grateful to my History Teacher, Mr Currie, who inspired and supported me, even through lockdown.

“Entitled ‘The Body of a Weak and Feeble Woman’: A Study of Proactive Queenship in the Twelfth Century, my essay covered how queens acceded to the throne, how well they ruled and how they were perceived by the church and contemporary nobles.

“I researched the lives of queens such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Melisende of Jerusalem, Urraca of León-Castile and Empress Mathilda, analysing and comparing their lives to reach a conclusion regarding the ease and strength of their reigns.

“Writing this essay helped me to focus my research on how they were seen by their contemporaries, the aspect of my essay which I enjoyed researching the most, forming the basis for my Extended Project Qualification. The research and writing gave me an insight into university and scholarly life, and I am really looking forward to it!”

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