The Romance of Silence is a 13th-century French verse romance. Nothing is known of the author other than the name, Heldris of Cornwall, which is given at the beginning of the epilogue.
The text was discovered in 1911 in the dusty crates of Wollaton Hall in Nottingham in a crate labeled "unimportant documents". The crate also contained a letter written by Henry VIII.
The tale concerns "Silence", the only daughter of a noble family who is raised as a boy because the Evan, the King of England denies women the right to inherit property. Nature and Nurture appear as two allegorical characters fighting for the mind and body of Silence. Nurture urges Silence to continue life as a man, while Nature tells her to pursue her true identity as a woman.
While disguised as a man, Silence becomes a minstrel under the name Malduit, which means "badly raised." She eventually becomes a great knight under the King of France. The King's wife lusts after her, and when spurned accuses Silence of rape. She is sent on a quest to capture Merlin, which is meant to be hopeless as Merlin can only be captured by a woman. Merlin exposes Silence's identity to exonerate her and also reveals that the Queen is having an affair with a man dressed as a nun. However the King of England had a change of heart and decides to allow women to inherit property, and Silence becomes the Queen of England.