Dr Emily Joan Ward

Emily began her British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at UCL History in January 2021. She is a comparative historian working on Britain and Europe between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, with an especial interest in understanding change and continuity over this period. Her research touches on themes such as life cycle and gender, rulership and authority, and documentary culture and historical writing. The relationship between age and identity is something which particularly fascinates her, and this forms the central focus of her current project on ‘Adolescence and Belonging in Medieval Europe, c.1000–c.1250’. She is interested in how concepts of adolescence shifted across the period, and how wider social and cultural changes impressed themselves on young people.

Emily is also working on her first monograph, Royal Childhood and Child Kingship: Boy Kings in England, Scotland, France and Germany, c.1050–1262, which combines an investigation of boyhood and upbringing with a detailed analysis of child kings and their early experiences of rule. The book is under contract with Cambridge University Press and is based on her doctoral research. Her recent publications include the volume Conquests in Eleventh-Century England: 1016, 1066, edited with Dr Laura Ashe (Worcester College, Oxford). The essays in this volume shed a new light on the backgrounds, contexts, and impacts of the climatic events of 1016 and 1066 from multidisciplinary perspectives. Emily has also published articles and book chapters on maternal power (2016), medieval historiography (2017), notions of immaturity (2018), guardianship and regency (2019), and royal succession (2020).

After completing her BA and MA at the University of East Anglia, Emily spent two years working for Norfolk County Council before undertaking further postgraduate research. She completed her AHRC-funded Ph.D. at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor Elisabeth van Houts. She has previously lectured at the University of Cambridge, University of East Anglia and Anglia Ruskin University and spent three years as a Moses and Mary Finley Research Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge. 

Emily has given public history talks to both primary and secondary school children. She has also led lectures and workshops for the Sutton Trust and international summer schools. She is happy to be contacted regarding history communication and outreach. 

Major publications

  • E. J. Ward, Royal Childhood and Child Kingship: Boy Kings in England, Scotland, France and Germany, c.1050–1262 (Cambridge: CUP, forthcoming)
  • E. J. Ward, Conquests in Eleventh-Century England: 1016, 1066, eds Laura Ashe and Emily Joan Ward (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2020)
  • Child kingship and notions of (im)maturity in north-western Europe, 1050–1262’, Anglo-Norman Studies, 40 (2018), 197–211
  • ‘Anne of Kiev (c.1024–c.1075) and a reassessment of maternal power in the minority kingship of Philip I of France’, Historical Research, 89 (2016), 435–53

Grants, projects and fellowships

  • British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow working on the project ‘Adolescence and Belonging in Medieval Europe, c.1000–c.1250’
  • Awarded a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (SRG1819\190794) for the project ‘Documenting Royal Childhood and Child Kingship: Boy Kings of France, 1052–1235’, 2019
  • Held a Moses and Mary Finley Research Fellowship at Darwin College, University of Cambridge, 2017–2020
  • Held a Scouloudi Doctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research, 2016/17



  • Adolescence in Medieval Europe (second- and third-year undergraduate advanced seminar module)