Lancaster Queen: Catherine of Valois

Catherine of Valois
Catherine of Valois

Catherine of Valois was born on the 27th October 1401 at the Royal Palace of the Hotel Saint-Pol in Paris, to parents King Charles VI of France and Isabelle of Bavaria.

On the 2nd June 1420 Catherine of Valois married King Henry V of England, and on the 23rd February 1421 was crowned Queen at Westminster Abbey.

Thomas, the Duke of Clarence, brother to Henry died in France.  Henry went to France in June 1421, to avenge his death.

Queen Catherine bore Henry V a child on the 6th December 1421 at Windsor, and he was named Henry.

Henry V died on the 31st August 1422 in France, sadly never had the chance to meet his son.  King Charles VI of France died shortly thereafter, leaving Henry VI King of England and France.

Catherine was still young, a source of concern for Humphrey, the Duke of Gloucester and Lord Protector to the young King.

In 1427-1428 Parliament passed a bill, that Queen dowager, needed the King’s permission to re-marry, otherwise the groom would forfeit all his lands and possessions.

Catherine had a relationship with one Owen Tudor, and bore him six children.

On the 3rd January 1437. Catherine died and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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Lancaster Queen: Joanna of Navarre

Joanna of Navarre

Joanna of Navarre was born in 1370, in Pamplona, Navarre and on the 2nd October 1386 married John V, the Duke of Brittany and bore him nine children:

Jeanne of Brittany (1387-1388), John VI the Duke of Brittany (1389-1442), Marie of Brittany (1391-1446), Marguerite of Brittany (1392-1428), Arthur III the Duke of Brittany (1393-1458), Gilles of Brittany (1394-1412), Richard of Brittany (1395-1438), Blanche of Brittany (1397-1419) and a daughter (1388).

Her husband died on the 1st November 1399, and she became Regent for John VI the new Duke of Brittany over the next four years.

On the 7th February 1403, she married King Henry IV of England, becoming Queen Consort of England, but bore him no children.

In 1419 during the reign of King Henry V, she was accused of witchcraft, convicted of attempts in poisoning her King.  She spent four years in Pevensey Castle in Sussex.  In 1423 she was moved to Nottingham Castle, where she spent the rest of her life until she died on the 10th June 1437.

She is buried in Canterbury Cathedral next to her husband; King Henry IV of England.

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Lancaster Queen: Mary de Bohun

Mary de Bohun
Mary de Bohun

Mary de Bohun was born in 1368, and the family were of Norman origin and came to England from Normandy with William the Conqueror.  She became the first wife of King Henry IV, and she bore him six children:

Henry (Prince Hal) who became Henry V, John, the Duke of Bedford, Thomas, the Duke of Clarence, Humphrey, the Duke of Gloucester, Blanche of England and Philippa of England.

Mary’s father, Humphrey de Bohun died on the 16th January 1373, with no sons, the estate was divided equally between his two daughters; Mary and Eleanor de Bohun, who became wards of Edward III.

Eleanor de Bohun, married Thomas of Woodstock, the 1st Duke of Gloucester, youngest son of King Edward III and Phillipa of Hainault.

Thomas of Woodstock encouraged Mary, still very much a child, to take the veil and become a Nun, thus his wife would not have to share their father’s estate.

John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster, got wind of this devious plot, and aided by Mary’s mother Joan, abducted the child from the convent, for marriage to Henry of Bolingbroke.

On the 27th July 1380, Henry of Bolingbroke (14) married Mary de Bohun (12) at Arundel Castle, and she went on to bear Henry six children including the future King Henry V.

Mary died on the 4th June 1394 at Peterborough Castle, and was buried at the Church of St.Mary de Castro in Leicester.

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Plantagenet Queen: Isabella of Valois

Isabella of Valois
Isabella of Valois

Isabella of Valois, was born on the 9th November 1389, to parents King Charles VI of France and Queen Isabeau of Bavaria, at the Louvre in Paris.

King Richard II of England, lost his first wife “Anne of Bohemia” to the plague in June of 1394.

Charles VI of France, desperately wanted to prevent any alliance between England and Spain, which could result in an end to peace between England and France.  Furthermore the Duke of Burgundy wanted to see a continuation of trading with England.  To this end, it was essential that Richard II should marry a French princess.

On the 31st October 1396, King Richard II of England, accepted into his care, his child bride; Isabella of Valois, at a ceremony held at St.Omer in France.

In November of 1396, the couple were married at the Church of St.Nicholas in Calais.  On the 3rd January 1397, Isabella spent the night in the Tower of London and on the 4th rode through the streets of London, where she met Richard at Westminster.  On the 5th January was crowned Queen at her coronation.

Following the coronation, she went to Windsor, to receive her royal education.

Isabella, a child Queen had no political influence, and as such came under the care of the Duchess Eleanor de Bohun and Duchess Katherine Swynford and her French governess Margaret de Courcy.

In February of 1397, Richard and Isabella went on pilgrimage to Canterbury and spent Christmas at Litchfield, and attended the opening of Parliament in January of 1398 at Shrewsbury.

Political trouble was brewing for Richard.  He had the Duke of Gloucester executed, for plotting against him, in an attempt to seize the throne.  Upon returning from Ireland, having put down a rebellion, he found Henry Bolingbroke was leading an insurrection against him… he had no alternative but to exile him from English lands.

Henry Bolingbroke had no intention in staying in exile, so when Richard was back in Ireland, he returned to England and raised an army of thousands of troops.

Edward the Duke of York, who had been appointed by Richard to look after England in his absence, had a choice, Richard or Bolingbroke, he chose Bolingbroke.

Richard was apprehended and escorted to Flint Castle, where Bolingbroke had him arrested on his return to England.

Richard was forced to abdicate and Parliament declared Richard deposed.  Henry Bolingbroke was crowned King Henry IV on the 13th October 1399 at Westminster.

Richard was believed to have been murdered in February of 1400 at Pontefract Castle.  A requiem was held at St.Paul’s Cathedral in London, out of respect.

Isabella had now become England’s prisoner.

King Henry IV proposed that Isabella should marry his heir, Henry of Monmouth, the Prince of Wales.  The proposition was rejected, time and time again by Isabella.

In May of 1401, a treaty was signed at Leulinghem, whereby King Henry IV would return Isabella to France along with her jewels… Isabella was returned, minus her jewels, for they had been retained to swell England’s royal treasury.

The Earl of Worcester delivered her to the Count of St.Pol at Calais on the 21st July 1401.

In May of 1406, Isabella married Charles of Orleans, son of Duke Louis of Orleans.  When Louis was murdered in the November of 1407, Charles became the new Duke.

On the 14th September 1409, Isabella gave birth to a daughter; Jeanne.  A few hours later Isabella died and was buried at the Chapel of the Abbey of St.Laumer in Blois.

In 1624, her remains were moved to the Orleans Chapel, Celestines Church in Paris.

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Plantagenet Queen: Anne of Bohemia

Anne - Richard II Tomb

Anne of Bohemia was born on the 11th May 1366 in Prague, to parents; Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, and Elizabeth of Pomerania, she being the daughter of Bogislaw V, Duke of Pomerania and Elisabeth of Poland.

Pope Urban VI approved the alliance, the marriange of Richard and Anne, noting that he might have a stronger hand to play in negotiations with the French.

Anne was the daughter, of Europe’s most powerful monarch at the time, ruler of half of Europe’s population and territory.  A useful father-in-law for Richard II, one might say.

Anne’s marriage to Richard came about when Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, and his former tutor proposed the said joining of hands.  It was at a time when Christendom had two rival popes.

Anne’s brother, King Wenceslas supported pope Urban VI in Rome, who also had England’s support, whilst the French preferred Pope Clement who lived in Avignon.

Anne had not been the first choice of bride chosen by English nobility or Parliamentary members, for she brought no dowry with her.  Richard had to pay her brother Wenceslas 20,000 florins, for her hand in marriage.

On the plus side, English merchants were permitted to trade with Bohemian lands and the Holy Roman Empire.

In the December of 1381, Anne of Bohemia landed at Dover and travelled to Canterbury, to be received by Thomas, Duke of Gloucester and Richard’s uncle.  She continued onto Blackheath, to be greeted by the Lord-mayor of London.

On the 20th January 1382, King Richard II of England married Anne of Bohemia at Westminster Abbey.  On the 22nd January Anne was crowned Queen.

In 1383, Anne of Bohemia, visited the city of Norwich, visiting the Great Hospital where 252 black eagles were displayed on the ceiling, in her honour.

Anne became a popular Queen in England, as the years passed by, described as intelligent with an inquiring mind, renowned for her love of reading.  Referred to as Good Queen Anne, she was liked by the poor for her acts of kindness and generosity.

Anne often interceded, begging on her knees to her husband, procuring pardons for those who had done wrong.

She became well known through the land, with her pleas of mercy, on behalf of the condemned.  She persuaded Richard to pardon many of the participants who took part in the Peasants Revolt.

Anne’s intercession saved the life of John Northampton, former Mayor of London in 1384, committed the offender to life in prison rather than the gallows.

In 1388, Anne confronted the barons of the Merciless Parliament.  Five of the King’s closest advisors were arrested, and Richard objected to a panel of judges.  The judges came out on the side of the King.  Parliament arrested the judges and sentenced them to death.  Anne’s pleas for their lives saw them exiled to Ireland.

Simon Burley, Richard’s tutor, mentor and friend was accused of treason.  He being a father figure to Richard and Anne.  Parliament decreed he should be hung, drawn and quartered, a barbaric death sentence.

Anne fell to her knees and wept.  Richard could not get the barons to commute the sentence to life in prison, but changed the means of death, to one of beheading.

Anne and Richard, from historical evidence, were truly in love.  Anne was an ideal consort, not stepping over the line, but generally complying with Richard’s decisions, and endeavouring to make him happy.

Of all the palaces and castles, Sheen Palace on the Thames, some seven miles from Westminster, was their favourite venue.

On the 7th June 1394, tragedy struck Richard, when his wife of twelve years; Anne of Bohemia died of the plague at Sheen Palace.  A twelve year love affair came to an end.

Richard was so distraught following Anne’s death, he had Sheen Palace torn down and destroyed.

Richard commissioned a double tomb for the woman who had supported him… So they could be together in death.

King Richard II abdicated his throne in the September of 1399, on the condition his life be spared.  His cousin became Henry IV.

Richard lived out his remaining years at Pontefract Castle, until his death on the 14th February 1400.  King Henry V had Richard’s remains moved from King’s Langley in Buckinghamshire, and placed beside Anne in 1413, in the elaborate tomb Richard had prepared for them at Westminster Abbey.

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Plantagenet Queen: Philippa of Hainault

Queen Philippa of Hainault
Philippa of Hainault

Philippa of Hainault was born on the 24th June 1314 in Valenciennes, in the county of Hainaut.  She was the daughter of William III, Count of Holland and Hainaut, and Joan Valois, grand-daughter of Philip III of France.

King Edward II of England, desired an alliance with Flanders, by way of marriage to his eldest son and heir, Prince Edward to one of Count William of Hainauts daughter’s.

Bishop Stapledon of Exeter, acted as ambassador for Edward II, to determine which daughter would be most suitable as a bride for his son.

In the summer of 1326, Queen Isabella and Prince Edward attended Hainault Court.  Isabella sought assistance to depose the current King Edward her husband, in return for the couple’s betrothal.  Once dispensation had been granted for the marriage of cousins (both great-grandchildren of Philip III of France through their mothers).

In the December of 1327, Philippa arrived in England, with her escort, her uncle; John of Hainaut.  On the 23rd December she reached London, to a rousing reception of cheers.

On the 24th January 1328, Philippa of Hainault married King Edward III at York Minster Cathedral.

Philippa and Edward’s Children:

Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales (The Black Prince) – (1330-1376) married Joan Plantagenet the Countess of Kent.

Isabella (1332-1382) married Enguerrand de Coucy, Seigneur de Coucy, Earl of Bedford.

Princess Joan of England (1335-1348).

Prince William of Hatfield (1337-1337).

Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence (1338-1368) married (1) Elizabeth de Burgh, Countess of Ulster (2) Violante Visconti.

John of Gaunt (1340-1399) married (1) Blanche Plantagenet (2) Constance of Castille (3) Katherine Swynford.

Edmund of Langley (1341-1402) married (1) Isabella of Castille (2) Joan of Holland.

Princess Blanche Plantagenet (1342-1342).

Princess Mary Plantagenet (1334-1362) married John V, Duke of Brittany.

Margaret Plantagenet (1346-1361) married John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke.

Thomas of Woodstock (1335-1397) married Eleanor de Bohun.

Thomas of Windsor (1347-1348)

William of Windsor (1348-1348)

Edward was not ruler of England at the time of his marriage, for his mother Queen Dowager Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, acted jointly as regents, until Edward came of age.

In October of 1330, King Edward staged a coup, ordering the arrest of Isabella and Mortimer, and taking control of his kingdom.

Roger Mortimer was tried for treason, found guilty and beheaded at Tyburn.  Isabella was sent to Berkhamsted Castle, and then placed under house arrest at Windsor Castle until 1332.  Finally she was moved to Castle Rising in Norfolk, where she would spend the remainder of her life.

Philippa served as England’s regent during Richard’s absence in 1346, when King David planned an attack on England.

Philippa proved a worthy Queen, gathering English forces near Newcastle.  She put courage into her troops, riding out upon a white charger, (much like Joan of Arc would have done).

The English troops and longbow archers served their Queen well, with victory over the Scots.

In 1369, Edward visited Philippa at her deathbed, asking if she had any final wish.  She only wanted one thing, that they both be buried side by side in Westminster Abbey.

Philippa of Hainault died from Black Death on the 15th August 1369 at Windsor Castle.  She was buried at Westminster Abbey, following a state funeral on the 29th January 1370.

When she died, Edward never really recovered; his reason for living had gone.  Edward and England mourned the passing of their Queen.

In 1377, King Edward III died, and he fulfilled Philippa’s dying wish, and was buried next to his beloved Queen.

Plantagenet Queen: Isabella Capet

Isabella-of-France
Isabella Capet

Isabella Capet was born to parents King Philip IV of France, and Jeanne of Navarre in 1295.  She was one of seven children, and three of her brothers reigned as Kings of France; Charles IV, Louis X and Philip V.

In the “Treaty of Montreuil” of June 1299, her future marriage was arranged, between Prince Edward, the son and heir of King Edward I of England.  It was a political marriage, designed to bring an end to war’s over England’s territories in France.

Isabella aged thirteen; married Edward II aged twenty-four in Boulogne on the 25th January 1308, and were crowned King and Queen of England on the 25th February 1308.

She bore Edward II a son on the 13th November 1312, Edward, the future Edward III of England.

By the 1320’s, Isabella and Edward’s dislike toward’s each other had scaled to new heights.  Edward would spend more and more time, with Pier Gaveston, in what was referred to, as having a homosexual affair, than he would with his own wife.

In the March of 1325, Isabella went to France to see her brother; King Charles IV.  Her intended mission was to put an end to land disputes between England and France.  An agreement was made, that England could have Gascony and Ponthieu provided Edward attended the King’s court in Paris and paid homage to him.

It was at this time; Isabella met Roger Mortimer, an escapee from the Tower of London, who whisked her off her feet… she fell in love with him.

In the September of 1325, Edward listened to advice from his advisors, the Despenser’s, that he should not go to France, but send his son; Prince Edward.  Prince Edward, prior to leaving for France on the 12th September, received the title of “Count of Ponthieu.”

On the 21st September 1325, Prince Edward paid homage to King Charles IV of France, and in return Charles IV bestowed upon him, the title of Duke of Aquitaine.

With her son, Prince Edward, safe by her side, Isabella began setting the scene of removing her husband Edward II, from his position as King of England.

In November 1325, the English Parliament sent a petition for Isabella to return to England… she refused, which incurred the annoyance of her brother; Charles.

Isabella left France and attended the court of her brother; William II, the Count of Hainault, who assisted her, with her plans to invade England.  In return Prince Edward, now the Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Ponthieu, would marry his daughter; Philippa.

In 1326, England prepared for an invasion of their lands, which had been financed partly by money advanced from Philippa’s dowry.

On the 24th September 1326, Isabella and her loyal supporters, landed at Orwell in Suffolk.  Isabella’s army advanced on London seeking out Edward, but he left the safety of the Tower of London, with the Despensers and the Earl of Winchester.

Isabella was welcomed upon entering Bristol, in the October.  The Earl of Winchester, who resided in the castle, surrendered and was executed on the 27th October 1326, as a traitor.

King Edward II, was captured at the “Abbey of Neath” in Wales, and imprisoned in Berkeley Castle.  The Despensers were captured, put on trial, and Hugh le Despenser was executed as a traitor.

Prince Edward was crowned as King of England on the 29th January 1327, after his father; Edward II renounced his throne in favour of his son; Edward III.

Isabella of France, mother of King Edward III, and her lover Roger Mortimer, acted as Regents to the young King, until he became of age to rule.

In 1330, Edward III took control of his duties, as King of England.  Roger Mortimer was arrested on the charge of treason, and executed on the 29th November.

King Edward III imprisoned his mother, Isabella of France at Castle Rising, where she lived out her remaining years, until she died on the 22nd August 1358.

She haunts this castle, her final resting place…

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