Robin Hood and Queen Katherine

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"Robin Hood and Queen Katherine" is Child ballad 145. "Robin Hood's Chase", Child ballad 146, takes up after it.[1][2]


Robin befriends Queen Katherine. When King Henry offers a large wager that his archers cannot be excelled, she summons Robin and his men, who come to London under assumed names. Robin's bowmen prevail and reveal their identities. Having promised not to be angry with the queen's archers, the king asks Robin to leave his band of outlaws and join the court (in the main variant), but Robin declines.[1][3]

Historical background[edit]

The Queen Katherine of the title is not certainly identified, nor the spelling of the name certain. Up until as recently as the 18th century, people often spelled their own names differently at different times. So while the periods of time with which Robin Hood has normally been associated did not have any queens named Katherine, because the king is sometimes called Henry, she may be meant as Catherine de Valois, the young French princess married to King Henry V of England, hero of Agincourt, or Katherine of Aragon, placing the story in the time of Henry VIII.


Howard Pyle included this tale in The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood but, to make the tale historically consistent, made it about Eleanor of Aquitaine making a bet with Henry II. Others have followed his lead in the substitution.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Child, Francis James, ed. (1890). Robin Hood and Queen Katherine. English and Scottish Popular Ballads. II Part 2. Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Company. pp. 196–205. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  2. ^ "Robin Hood and Queen Katherine". The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. Internet Sacred Text Archive. 2011. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  3. ^ Waltz, Robert B.; Engle, David G. (2012). "Robin Hood and Queen Katherine". Folklore The Traditional Ballad Index: An Annotated Bibliography of the Folk Songs of the English-Speaking World. California State University, Fresno. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  4. ^ Pyle, Howard (2003). "The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 2017-11-19.