All the Merry Men Love Maid Marian

As a child, this name conjured up an image of a doe-eyed little fox with a strangely-shaped veil-slash-hat that covered her rather prominent ears. While Maid Marian may or may not be a fictional character, she was probably not a forest-dwelling canid. Rather, she is best known as the wife of the famous English outlaw, Robin Hood!

Now, the story of who Maid Marian really is and whether she was associated with Robin Hood changed over the ages. The name “Maid Marian” first appears as a character in May Day games. She supposedly became associated with Robin Hood as he, too, became a central figure in May Day, since he was linked with the forest and archery. Stories began to erupt around the later 16th century concerning this romantic couple – the character of Robin Hood had been turned into a gentleman, and now all he needed was a virginal maid to pine for.  And who’s to deny an arrow-slinging robber his chance at true love?

Maid Marian Blue Dress w/ Chemise: 

Maid Marian Blue Dress

Maid Marian’s background and persona has differed from story to story throughout the centuries. In the old ballad Robin Hood and Maid Marian, written around the 17th century, Marian disguises herself as a page and is able to hold her own against Robin in a sword fight. In the Victorian era, she was seen again as a delicate maiden. Of course, Hollywood had to put in their two cents, too! In the famous Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood, Maid Marian is depicted as an orphaned noblewoman made a ward of King Richard. In the Kevin Costner film, she is cousin to the King. And in the BBC TV show adaptation, Marian is the daughter of the former Sheriff and fiancée to Robin Hood before he left to the Holy Land. A woman of many faces and many hats, yet I am certain the pointy fox-ear hat is still the best (debate me on that – I dare ye!)

Maid Marian Riding Ensemble with Corset: 

Maid Marian Riding Ensemble with Corset

In the most recent Robin Hood epic, starring Russell Crowe, “Lady Marian” is portrayed by Cate Blanchett, a widow who meets Robin when he returns her husband’s sword to her father-in-law, only to have him request that Robin impersonate her husband, so Marian can keep her land. This Marian is strong-willed and intelligent, struggling to keep her aging father-in-law’s estate afloat in the midst of heavy taxes and meager harvests. Robin finds his heartstrings pulled by the lovely Marian, and they live happily ever after… if you count defeating a French army only to be declared an outlaw by your own king and being forced to flee into the forest with a band of comrades “happily ever after.” If not, I don’t blame you, but I gotta say it makes for a much more interesting tale.

Historical Clothing Realm features an array of Robin Hood officially licensed products. Whether you’re into the dainty maid or the courageous noblewoman, you’ll find the apparel to rightly portray your Maid Marian here: Historical Clothing Realm

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