What Did The Day Of Medieval Royalty Look Like?

What Did The Day Of Medieval Royalty Look Like?

The Middle Ages, or the medieval period, spanned roughly from the 5th to the 15th centuries and was filled with fascinating history and dynamic social norms. At the apex of medieval society sat the monarchy. Kings and Queens held significant sway over the life and death of their subjects, and their daily routine was a world away from the common man. In this article, we delve into the everyday life of medieval royalty, focusing on the experiences of both Kings and Queens.

Life of a Medieval King: Duties and Daily Activities

A King’s day would typically begin with the toll of dawn. The medieval King was not just a figurehead; he was an active participant in the governance and defense of his kingdom. His morning would often begin with the morning mass, following the medieval tradition of deeply ingrained Christianity.

After the morning mass, the King’s day was filled with matters of state. He had to manage affairs, dispense justice, and deal with petitions from his subjects. Depending on the period and the kingdom, this could mean holding court, reviewing documents, and meeting with his council of advisors.

The afternoon might include training in martial arts, an essential part of a King’s education and role. Kings were expected to lead their armies into battle and defend their lands from invaders. Therefore, proficiency in swordplay, archery, and horsemanship was not just a luxury but a necessity. In times of peace, hunting was a favorite pastime that also served as military training.

Evenings were often filled with entertainment: feasts, music, and dancing. It was also a time for the King to socialize with his court and show off his wealth and power.

How Were Kings Educated? 

Education was paramount for medieval kings, and it began at an early age. Often tutored by the finest minds of the time, future kings were typically educated in a variety of subjects that were seen as essential for their future roles.

Latin, the language of the Church and scholarship, was a vital part of a future king’s education. Knowledge of Latin allowed the King to read important documents, conduct correspondence, and communicate effectively with the clergy and learned men.

Rhetoric and philosophy were also important subjects. Rhetoric taught the King how to argue effectively and deliver persuasive speeches, a vital skill for a ruler. Philosophy, meanwhile, provided a foundation for ethical decision-making and a broader understanding of the world.

Practical education was equally important. Kings needed to know the art of war. Training in strategy, tactics, and combat, including swordsmanship, archery, and horsemanship, was essential.

Furthermore, kings were taught the complex web of feudal relationships and obligations underpinning medieval society. This knowledge was vital in managing their vassals and maintaining the stability of their realm.

In summary, a medieval king’s education was comprehensive, encompassing academic learning and practical skills, all geared towards preparing them for their future role as monarch.

What Did Medieval Kings Do: Warfare and Diplomacy

Medieval kings were not merely administrators of their kingdoms but also warriors and diplomats. In times of war, they would lead their armies into battle. They would plan tactics, rally their troops, and even engage in combat. The King’s role as a warrior was a significant part of his identity, and his ability to protect and expand his kingdom was an important determinant of his power and prestige.

Medieval kings often had to negotiate with other monarchs on the diplomatic front. This could involve arranging marriages, forging alliances, or resolving disputes. Diplomacy was a delicate art that required a blend of tact, persuasion, and, often, deception. A successful King could navigate these complexities and maintain the peace and prosperity of his kingdom.

A Day in the Life of a Medieval Queen

While the King’s role was primarily in governance and warfare, the Queen’s role was more diverse and often more subtle, though no less important.

Like the King, a Queen’s day would begin with morning mass, followed by breakfast. However, unlike her male counterpart, her duties were often more domestic. She was expected to oversee the running of the royal household, ensuring that everything ran smoothly. This could involve supervising the numerous servants, managing finances, and arranging supplies.

Beyond domestic duties, the Queen also had a significant role in diplomacy. The Queen often served as a diplomat in her own right, participating in negotiations and ruling the kingdom in the King’s absence. She was also the main point of contact between the royal family and the subjects, often involving herself in charitable works.

Medieval Queens’ Daily Life: Patronage and Leisure

In addition to their duties, medieval queens often acted as patrons of the arts, promoting literature, music, and other artistic expression. They significantly influenced the cultural life of the court and, by extension, the kingdom.

Like the King, the Queen also had time for leisure and entertainment. This could involve participating in courtly dances, attending feasts, or engaging in games. Despite the many responsibilities and expectations placed upon them, medieval royalty knew how to enjoy themselves.

What Was It Like to Be a Royal in the Middle Ages?

Being a royal in the Middle Ages was a life of both grandeur and responsibility. The daily routine of a medieval royal was distinct from that of the common people, filled with unique duties and privileges.

As a royal, one lived in the lap of luxury, with access to the finest foods, clothes, and entertainment. Palaces and castles were their homes, furnished with the best the period could offer. They hosted and attended lavish feasts, enjoyed courtly music, and participated in grand hunts.

Yet, alongside such privileges came substantial responsibilities. Royals were at the helm of governance, responsible for lawmaking, justice dispensation, and kingdom management. They needed to strategize and lead in warfare, negotiate alliances, and often navigate tricky political scenarios.

Additionally, royal life was bound by stringent etiquette rules. Every action, from eating to dressing to socializing, had specific customs attached.

Despite the challenges, royals were revered figures, often considered chosen by divine right. Their lives were tied to the stability and prosperity of the kingdom, making their roles both daunting and crucial. Thus, being a royal in the Middle Ages was a fascinating blend of luxury, duty, and influence.

Medieval Times Royalty: A Different World

Life as a medieval monarch was a delicate balance of power, duty, and leisure. Although their lives were filled with responsibilities and risks, they were also filled with privileges and pleasures beyond the reach of the common people. The roles of the King and Queen, while distinct in their duties, were integral to the kingdom’s functioning.

While fairy tales and fantasy shape our modern perception of royalty, the reality of medieval royalty is a complex and fascinating mixture of power, duty, and culture. Understanding their daily life gives us a window into a different world shaped by different values and norms.


In the Middle Ages, the daily life of kings and queens was filled with responsibilities and privileges. Kings started their days with morning mass before tackling matters of state, such as dispensing justice and meeting with advisors. Afternoons were often dedicated to martial training or hunting, while evenings brought entertainment and socializing. Kings were expected to be warriors and diplomats, leading their armies in war and negotiating with other monarchs in peace.

While also starting their day with mass, Queens had roles centered more on domestic duties. They oversaw the royal household, managed finances, and engaged in diplomatic work, often ruling in the King’s absence. Queens were patrons of the arts and significantly influenced the cultural life of the court. Despite the many responsibilities, kings, and queens had time for leisure, participating in dances, feasts, and games. Understanding the daily lives of medieval royalty gives us insight into a world defined by a unique blend of power, duty, culture, and pleasure.