This new book has new theories on who Joan of Arc was, and it promises to be controversial. It’s on my reading list:
New book angers historians with claims maid was not an illiterate peasant but a royal.
She was a peasant teenager inspired by voices from God to lead the French against the English, and burned as a witch before being recognised as a hero and saint. For centuries, France's cult of Joan of Arc has been seized on by politicians looking for patriotic martyr figures, including by Nicolas Sarkozy during his presidential campaign.
According the authors, Joan of Arc was not an innocent, uneducated and simple young girl, possessed by religious visions, but a trained and educated “spy” by the courts:
n L'Affaire Jeanne d'Arc, or the Joan of Arc Affair, French investigative journalist Marcel Gay and former secret service agent Roger Senzig claim that France's most famous virgin peasant was the illegitimate daughter of the French queen consort, Isabeau of Bavaria, who groomed her for use as a political puppet. They claim Joan was manipulated in a cover-up they call Operation Virgin.