Probably the best thing to look at in this regard is character. Most of the women in Robert’s story are real historical figures, and need to be accorded the respect due to them; however, there is a problem. Nearly all of the source material was written by monks, on behalf of Church or State, and with a degree of misogyny which the modern mind will find astonishing in its arrogance.
To be included within any chronicle a woman had to be exceptionally important, or do some deed which was exceptionally noteworthy; ordinary women apparently did not exist in the eleventh century. I’ve obviously not followed this lead but shown the world as it would truly have existed then as now: made up of both men and women. I’ve given a role to women who existed but were never mentioned, for example Robert’s daughter. This woman was married to one of the most powerful men in Normandy, Helias of Saint-Saens, but nobody has thought fit to mention her name. I have; she is Agnes. I’ve also explored powerful female characters who undoubtedly had a major impact on events and on historical characters. Foremost among these is Tegwin, Robert of Normandy’s Welsh mistress and mother of two of his children. While the evidence proves the existence of such a woman, it is very slender; as a novelist I’ve been able to bring life to the woman and to her influence on Robert and his history.