Janet Nelson

Professor emerita
Janet Nelson
Born (1942-03-28) 28 March 1942
Nationality British
Academic background
Alma mater Newnham College, Cambridge
Thesis title Rituals of Royal Inauguration in Early Medieval Europe
Thesis year 1967
Doctoral advisor Walter Ullmann
Academic work
Discipline Historian
Sub discipline Medievalist
Institutions King's College London
Main interests medieval kingship

Dame Janet Laughland Nelson, DBE, FBA (born 28 March 1942)[1] is a British historian. She is Emerita Professor of Medieval History at King's College London.


Nelson was educated at Keswick School, Cumbria and at Newnham College, Cambridge where she earned her BA degree in 1964 and her PhD degree in 1967.[2]

She was appointed a Lecturer at King's College, London in 1970, promoted Reader in 1987, Professor in 1993 and Director of the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies in 1994, retiring in 2007. She was a Vice-President of the British Academy, 2000–01, and President of the Royal Historical Society in 2000–04. She has honorary doctorates from the University of East Anglia (2004), St Andrews University (2007),[2] Queen's University Belfast (2009), and the universities of York (2010), Liverpool (2010) and Nottingham (2010).

Her research to date has been focused on early medieval Europe, including Anglo-Saxon England. She has published widely on kingship, government, political ideas, religion and ritual, and increasingly on women and gender during this period. She was working on a biography of Charlemagne, as well as co-directing, with Simon Keynes (of Cambridge University), the AHRC-funded project Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England.

She has co-edited and/or written the following:

Nelson has also appeared on BBC television and radio, notably as an expert on the Anglo-Saxon Kings in Michael Wood's 2013 series on the subject.[3]


  1. "Birthdays", The Guardian, p. 43, 28 March 2014
  2. 1 2 NELSON, Dame Janet Laughland, (Dame Jinty Nelson), Who's Who 2009, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2008 Profile, ukwhoswho.com; accessed 3 September 2009.
  3. BBC Four - King Alfred and the Anglo Saxons. Accessed 21 August 2013

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Dr Peter Marshall
President of the Royal Historical Society
Succeeded by
Dr Martin Daunton
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