Two British women will become the first jousters to take part in the English Heritage jousting competition this year, a dramatic change for the festival that has in the past preserved gender inequality because of its historical accuracy. Nicky Willis and Alix van Zijl will don complete armor and ride on horseback with their lances as they join three male “knights” to compete in the medieval joust at Kenilworth Castle, the organization announced this week. The women will also joust at other castles around England in the coming weeks. Emily Sewell, the head of events at English Heritage, said “it made complete sense” to invite the top female jousters to join the competition as it would allow visitors to see the top knights on the circuit.
“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,” she said.
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