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Female Knights Finally Permitted to Compete in English Heritage Jousting Tournaments

Joust in time for summer!


After centuries of watching dudes have all the fun, lady knights are finally allowed to get their joust on.

English Heritage confirmed to The BBC Thursday that, beginning this summer, women will be permitted to participate in jousting tournaments at Bolsover, Kenilworth, Pendennis, and Carisbrooke castles. Female knights will be allowed to face off against competitors of all genders.

Emily Sewell of English Heritage told The BBC that, given the accomplishments of some of the female knights in the European jousting circuit, it was high time they were allowed to show off their mad skills at English Heritage tournaments:

“Historically, the knights who took part in jousting tournaments were an elite band, the best of the best. No women were amongst that group. Now they are, and in order to bring our visitors the opportunity to witness some of the most accomplished knights on the circuit, it made complete sense to invite the leading female jousters to join us this summer.”

Damn right. The BBC also credits HBO’s Game of Thrones for raising the visibility and popularity of female knights with characters like Brienne of Tarth.

Female jousters showing off their stuff in England this summer will include champions like Nicky Willis, one of the most accomplished female jousters in Europe. Willis told The BBC, “I have heard how much fun it is to joust at Kenilworth, and I can’t wait to be part of the action this year. Kenilworth is famed for some of the most elaborate tournaments in medieval England – as well as playing host to one of England’s strongest women, Queen Elizabeth I – so it’s the perfect place to sort the women from the boys.” Willis’ motto is, fittingly, “Qui dicit non u puellae”—”who says it is not for girls.”

Dutch jouster Alix van Zijl will also bring her A-game against some dude knights at Castle Bolsover and Castle Carisbrooke. Previously, van Zijl was the only lady jouster in competitions like The Grand Tournament in Sankt Wendel. In a 2012 Jousting Life interview, she said of being the lone female knight at a male-dominated tournament, “As long as one is safe and does a good job, has the right attitude and has a good armour, one is welcome. That is the way it should be.”

It sounds like these ladies truly have…the knight stuff! We can’t wait to see what they accomplish during their respective tournaments

(via Jezebel, image via Radu Razvan /

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