Reading the obituary of the distinguished French historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (24 November) made me think about his sister, Marie Fauroux, who died in 2021. Educated at the École Nationale des Chartes soon after the second world war, her edition of all of the pre-1066 charters of the dukes of Normandy, published in France in 1961, is of fundamental importance to our understanding of the consequences of the Norman conquest of England in 1066 and everything that followed.
There are those who would argue that it is even more important than Le Roy Ladurie’s book Montaillou for our understanding of the past. She went on to dedicate herself to public service as the wife of Roger Fauroux, who was a minister during the Mitterrand and Chirac presidencies. As we approach the millennium of William the Conqueror’s birth and the public events that will accompany it, Emmanuel’s obituary made me think that we must celebrate his sister’s life as well as his.
Prof David Bates