First of all, I'd like to thank Eric Avebury for his very kind comments about my blog. His post was picked up by the Liberal Democrat writer Jonathan Calder, who was also very nice about the blog.
Anyway, this post and the next one are about men who were relatives of Edward II, by blood or marriage, who were not English, with some short biographies and interesting facts about them.
I'm excluding Edward's uncle Alfonso X of Castile, his father-in-law Philip IV, his brothers-in-law Louis X, Philip V and Charles IV of France, and his son-in-law David II of Scotland, as these men are very well-known and it's easy to find information on them. I'm focusing on the less famous ones.
I've also included some men who *might* have been related to Edward, because they were betrothed to one of his sisters, etc, but the betrothals were broken or ended for some reason, or the marriages never took place. You might also be interested in two of my older posts, on Edward's Castilian family and his ancestry.
To break down the information somewhat, I've divided the men into two posts: Southern and Northern Europe. In the first post, I'll talk about the relatives from Southern Europe:
- The sons of Fernando III of Castile (Edward II's uncles)
- King Sancho IV of Castile and his brother Fernando de la Cerda (Edward's first cousins)
- King Alfonso III of Aragón (almost Edward's brother-in-law)
- Count Amadeo (Amadeus) V of Savoy (another almost-brother-in-law)
And in the second post, the Northern Europeans:
- Dukes Jan II and Jan III of Brabant (brother-in-law and nephew)
- Counts Henri III and Edouard I of Bar (brother-in-law and nephew)
- Count Jan I of Holland (brother-in-law)
- Duke Reinald II of Gelderland (son-in-law)
- Guy de Dampierre, Count of Flanders (potential father-in-law)
- King Eirik II of Norway (another potential father-in-law)
Edward II's grandfather Fernando III, King of Castile and León (canonised in 1671 and known as El Santo, the Saint) was born in 1201 and married Elisabeth von Hohenstaufen on 30 November 1219. Elisabeth, born in 1205, was known as Beatriz de Suavia (Swabia) in her adopted country. Astonishingly, both her grandfathers were emperors: Friedrich Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor (died 1190) and Isaac II Angelus, Byzantine Emperor (died 1204).
Elisabeth's father Philipp of Swabia, King of the Romans, was the youngest of Barbarossa's six sons, the brother of Heinrich VI, and the uncle of Friedrich II, both Holy Roman Emperors in their turn. Philipp was also Bishop of Würzburg from 1190 to 1193; he was born in August 1179, so was presumably only eleven (!?) when elected, decided to give up his ecclestiastical state, and was crowned King of the Romans (i.e., King of Germany) on 8 September 1198.
He married, on 25 May 1197, Irene Angelina, daughter of Isaac Angelus - she had been captured after Philipp's brother Emperor Heinrich VI invaded Sicily on 29 December 1194. Philipp was murdered in Bamberg on 21 June 1208 by Otto von Wittelsbach; Irene Angelina died in childbirth, along with her infant, two months later. Elisabeth von Hohenstaufen was the youngest of their four (surviving) daughters.
Fernando III and Queen Elisabeth/Beatriz had three daughters and seven sons, the half-aunts and half-uncles of Edward II. Their eldest son was Alfonso X, born 23 November 1221, known as El Sabio, the Wise or the Learned, who died in Seville on 4 April 1284 - exactly three weeks before his nephew Edward was born in Caernarfon Castle.
infante don Enrique de Castilla y León, the fourth son, was born in 1230. He was lord of Écija, Medellín, Dueñas, Atienza, Berlanga, Calataãzor, San Esteban de Gormaz, Morón, Cote, Silibar, Arcos and Lebrija. King Fernando died in 1252, and by 1255, Enrique and some of his brothers were already becoming dissatisfied with Alfonso X's rule. Enrique began a rebellion, but was defeated by his brother's troops and forced to flee the country.
He found refuge in Ponthieu with his stepmother Jeanne de Dammartin, the Dowager Queen of Castile and Countess of Ponthieu (Edward II's grandmother); Enrique was in fact said to be her lover, though I don't know how plausible this story is. Jeanne had been involved in his rebellion, as she was unhappy with her stepson Alfonso who apparently did not allow her full control of her dower lands, and was forced to leave Castile in 1254.
On Jeanne's advice, don Enrique travelled to England in August 1256, where his young half-sister Eleanor (Leonor de Castilla) was already married to the heir to the throne. For three or four years, he cheerfully abused the hospitality of King Henry III, not paying for anything, until even Henry had had enough. Also, English relations with Castile were deteriorating, and Henry might have been attempting to mollify Alfonso X by refusing to continue harbouring his rebel brother.
Don Enrique ended up in North Africa, where he became a mercenary, and was joined by his elder brother don Fadrique, who had been exiled from Castile by their brother the King. In 1266, Enrique helped Charles of Anjou (brother of Louis IX of France) in his campaign to become King of Sicily, and Charles rewarded him with the position of Senator of Rome in July 1267, a post he held for just over a year. For this reason, don Enrique is often known as El Senador, the Senator.
However, Charles of Anjou did not reward Enrique as much as he thought he deserved, so he switched sides and fought against Charles on behalf of his cousin Conradin of Swabia (grandson of Emperor Friedrich II; Charles of Anjou had him beheaded at the age of sixteen). Unfortunately Enrique was captured, and on 28 August 1268, was taken to Naples, where he remained in prison for a staggering thirty years. His half-sister Eleanor and her husband Edward I did their best to get him released, but without success. However, Eleanor kept in touch with Enrique until her death in late 1290.
Don Enrique returned to Castile in 1298, and until his death on 8 August 1304, well into his seventies, served as Regent of Castile for his young great-nephew, Fernando IV.
infante don Felipe de Castilla y León, the fifth son, born in 1231. A pluralist of the highest order, he became Abbot of Castrojeriz in 1243, Bishop of Osma in 1245, Abbot of Covarrubias in 1248, and Abbot of Valladolid in 1249. The same year, still only eighteen, he was elected Archbishop of Seville. His first church appointment came when he was twelve, a little older than his grandfather Philipp of Swabia had been when elected Bishop. :)
Felipe took a leaf out of his grandfather's book in other ways: he gave up his ecclestiastical career to marry, in March 1258. His bride was Kristina, daughter of Haakon IV of Norway - she was apparently betrothed to one of his brothers, though I'm not sure which one. Kristina died childless in 1262, and don Felipe married two more times, fathering a son by his third marriage to Leonor Rodríguez de Castro. He also had three known illegitimate children. In 1255, he joined his brother Enrique's rebellion against King Alfonso, but the King forgave him, presumably (perhaps because Felipe was still a cleric then, so Alfonso had litle choice).
Don Felipe died on 28 November 1274.
infante don Sancho (...etc) was the sixth son, born in 1233. He was brought up by don Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, who served as Archbishop of Toledo from 1209 to 1247. Sancho supposedly studied in Paris - though I'm not sure when, as he himself was elected Archbishop of Toledo on 11 March 1251, the second of Edward II's Castilian uncles to become an Archbishop at the grand old age of eighteen. (You couldn't make this up.) Archbishop don Sancho died on 26 October 1261, still in his twenties.
infante don Fadrique, the second son, was born in 1223 and grew up at the court of his cousin Emperor Friedrich II. He was lord of Sanlúcar de Albaída, Gelves, Gizirat, Abualhinar, Alpechin, Cambullón, Brenes, Riazuela and La Algeba. He was exiled from Castile in 1260 by his brother Alfonso X, presumably because he'd joined his brothers' rebellion, but was reconciled to him in 1272. (Alfonso X evidently had a lot of trouble with fraternal loyalty, or lack of it.) However, Fadrique became involved in the struggle over the Castilian succession [see below], and Alfonso had him secretly executed in 1277. Like most of his brothers, he fathered several illegitimate children.
infante don Fernando, the third son, born in 1225, died during the siege of Seville in 1248. He was made Governor of Murcia and Molina Seca in 1243.
infante don Juan Manuel, the seventh and youngest son, 1234-83. Lord of Elche y Villena, Escalona, Santa Olalla, Peñafiel, Agreda and Roa y Cuéllar. He married firstly Constanza, daughter of King Jaime I of Aragón, and secondly Beatrice, daughter of Count Amadeus IV of Savoy.
Edward II also had four Castilian uncles of the full blood, the sons of Fernando III and his second wife Jeanne de Dammartin (Queen Elisabeth died in 1235):
infante don Ximen and infante don Juan, who died in infancy in the 1240s.
infante don Fernando, the eldest child of King Fernando and Queen Jeanne, born in the winter of 1238/39. He succeeded his maternal grandfather Simon de Dammartin as Count of Aumale, married Laure de Montfort-l'Amaury (the niece of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester), and died around 1265. His son Jean had a long-running legal battle with his aunt Eleanor of Castile and Edward I over Ponthieu and Aumale, which he resurrected after Queen Eleanor's death.
infante don Luis, born in 1243. Very obscure, it's difficult to say much about him except that he definitely pre-deceased his mother Jeanne (Eleanor of Castile was the only one of Fernando and Jeanne's five children to outlive her), and married Juana de Manzaneda Giron. He had a son, also Luis, also obscure.
King Sancho IV 'el Bravo' of Castile and Fernando de la Cerda, first cousins of Edward II.
Fernando de la Cerda was the third child and eldest son of King Alfonso X and his wife Violante (or Yolande) of Aragón, born in Valladolid on 23 October 1255. His nickname means 'of the bristle', supposedly a reference to the fact that he was born with hair sprouting on his chest.
On 30 November 1268, he married Blanche, daughter of Louis IX of France and Marguerite of Provence (which makes her a niece of Charles of Anjou, mentioned above, and the first cousin of Edward I of England, whose mother Eleanor was Marguerite of Provence's sister). Fernando and Blanche had two sons, Alfonso and Fernando: Alfonso was born sometime in 1270 when Fernando de la Cerda was only fourteen or fifteen, and Fernando was born posthumously in 1275. Fernando de la Cerda died of a fever at Cuidad Real on 25 July of that year, not yet twenty.
Sancho IV of Castile was the second son of Alfonso X and Queen Violante, born in Valladolid on 12 May 1258. In 1282, he married his cousin Maria de Molina, the granddaughter of King Alfonso IX of León and Queen Berenguela of Castile (parents of Fernando III, and thus Sancho IV's great-grandparents).
After the death of Fernando de la Cerda, their father wished his throne to pass to his grandson, young Alfonso, but Sancho had other ideas. He persuaded a coalition of Castilian nobles to support his claim to the throne, and on the death of his father in 1284, seized control of the kingdom. He imprisoned and executed thousands of the supporters of his young de la Cerda nephews. Until his death on 25 April 1295, he was opposed by many in Castile who felt that Fernando de la Cerda's sons were the rightful inheritors of the country.
King Pedro III of Aragon, their uncle, gave refuge to the disinherited boys, but later held them as hostages. Philip III of France, another uncle, promised his sister Blanche that he would help them, and raised an army, only to ignominously withdraw. Alfonso and Fernando lived in the fortress of Játiva, though they were later released by King Alfonso III of Aragón. Alfonso lived to 1324, and Fernando to 1322; they both married and had children, and Alfonso settled in France.
King Sancho IV ruled Castile until his early death on 25 April 1295 - which was, incidentally, the eleventh birthday of his cousin, the future Edward II - and was succeeded by his son Fernando IV, who was born on 6 December 1285.
Alfonso III, 'el Liberal', King of Aragón and Count of Barcelona, who should have been Edward II's brother-in-law.
Alfonso was born in Valencia on 4 November 1265, the eldest son of King Pedro III, el Grande, the Great, King of Aragón 1276 to 1285, who was himself the son of King Jaime I, el Conquistador, the Conqueror. Alfonso's paternal grandmother Violante was the daughter of King András II of Hungary.
One aunt, Violante or Yolande, married Alfonso X of Castile, and another, Isabella, married Philip III of France. Alfonso was thus the first cousin of Fernando de la Cerda and Sancho IV, and of Philip IV. His uncle Sancho was elected Archbishop of Toledo in 1266, second successor of Sancho of Castile, above, and his aunt Constanza married don Juan Manuel of Castile, as above.
Alfonso's mother Constanza of Sicily (1249-1302) was the daughter of Manfredo, King of Sicily, who was the son of the Emperor Friedrich II by his mistress Bianca Lancia. Manfredo was born about 1232 - three years before his father Friedrich married his third wife Isabella, sister of Henry III of England and great-aunt of Edward II. Manfredo was probably only seventeen when his daughter Constanza was born, and thirty-three when his grandson Alfonso was born. He was the uncle of Conradin, mentioned above, who was beheaded by Charles of Anjou at the age of sixteen.
Several months after Alfonso's birth, on 26 February 1266, his grandfather King Manfredo was defeated and killed at the Battle of Benevento by none other than Charles of Anjou. Manfredo's three sons by his second wife Helena Dukaina Angelina, Enrico, Federico, and Enzio - Alfonso's half-uncles - were blinded and imprisoned in chains, despite being young children.
Edward I and Pedro III made arrangements for a marriage alliance between Alfonso and Edward's eldest daughter Eleanor (born 1269) as early as 1273. In June 1282, Edward made preparations to send Eleanor to Aragón for her marriage, but her mother Eleanor of Castile and grandmother Eleanor of Provence persuaded him that she was too young - she turned thirteen that month. Of course the women meant well, but in the end, the decision not to send Eleanor meant that the marriage never took place.
Alfonso succeeded his father as King of Aragón on 3 November 1285, the day before his twentieth birthday. A month earlier, his seventeen-year-old cousin had succeeded as Philip IV of France. Soon after, he declared war on his own uncle King Jaime II of Mallorca, and conquered Mallorca in 1285, Ibiza in 1286, and Minorca from the Caliphate of Córdoba on 17 January 1287 - 17 January is still the national holiday of Minorca.
Thanks to endless struggles between Aragón, Sicily, Anjou and the Papacy, too complex to go into here, a succession of Popes refused to recognise Alfonso as King of Aragón, and also to grant a dispensation for him to marry Eleanor. Alfonso's reign was also marred by internal struggles between the King and his nobles, which culminated in Alfonso granting numerous concessions in a document known as the 'Magna Carta of Aragón'.
Finally, King Alfonso was able to turn his attention to his marriage, but before it could take place, he died, in Barcelona on 18 June 1291, only in his mid twenties. He was succeeded by his brother Jaime II, born 1267, who married four times, his first wife being Isabella, daughter of Sancho IV of Castile and Maria de Molina. They married on 1 December 1291, when Jaime was twenty-three and Isabella eight. The marriage was dissolved, and Isabella later married Jean III, Duke of Brittany, great-grandson of Henry III of England. Jaime's second wife Blanche was the granddaughter of Charles of Anjou, and the mother of King Alfonso IV of Aragón. Jaime II died on 2 November 1327, a few weeks after Edward II's (alleged!) death.
A little over two years after Alfonso III's death, Eleanor of England, to whom he had been betrothed for eighteen years, married the Count of Bar, at the advanced age of twenty-four.
Amadeo [Amadeus] V, Count of Savoy, who should have been Edward II's brother-in-law.
Amadeo was born between 1249 and 1253, the son of Tommaso, Count of Savoy. His mother Beatrice di Fieschi was the niece of Pope Innocent IV.
Amadeo was Count of Savoy from 1285 to 1323, and is called 'the Great' because of his enormous success as a ruler. His first wife was Sibylle of Bauge, by whom he had eight children, including his successor Count Edoardo; Edoardo was born in 1284, the same year as Edward II, and married Blanche, one of the many daughters of Duke Robert II of Burgundy (two of her sisters were Queens of France and another married Edward II's nephew Count Edouard of Bar). It's probable that Edoardo was named after Edward I, who was an ally of Amadeo; Amadeo, however, also managed to stay on excellent terms with the Kings of France.
Edward I's second daughter Joan of Acre was widowed in December 1295, when Gilbert 'the Red' de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, died. Joan was still only twenty-three, and on 16 March 1297, her father wrote to Count Amadeo offering him Joan's hand in marriage. Shortly afterwards, however, Joan of Acre informed her father that she had secretly married Ralph de Monthermer, a squire in her late husband's service. Edward, furious, imprisoned Ralph and confiscated Joan's lands, but in the end he had little choice but to accept the marriage.
Amadeo V, instead, married Marie of Brabant, who, like Joan of Acre, was decades younger than he was. She was the daughter of Duke Jan I, niece of Marie of Brabant who was the second wife of Philip III of France, and sister of Duke Jan II, one of the subjects of my next post...
....coming very soon!
Congratulations for the pat on the back! It's very well deserved.
It's amazing how interconnected all the royal families are, isn't it? Even a Spanish-Norwegian marriage, linking one end of Europe to the other. This international dimension seems to get neglected in the history I remember from school, which is a shame because it's fascinating.
Wonderful post! Incidentally, the tradition of giving high church posts to very young men went on for centuries - I think George III's second son Frederick was made Bishop of Osnabruck at a very young age!
Also interesting that Eleanor of Castile and Eleanor of Provence stopped Edward I from sending his daughter to Aragon - bit of an unusual show of concern for a medieval mother and grandmother, wasn't it?
Thanks for the kind comments!
Carla: I'm sure I'd have been much more interested in history at school if we'd learnt all these family connections and intriguing details about people! :)
Liam: another example would be William the Conqueror's half-brother Odo, who became Bishop of Bayeux at a very young age - probably about 13 or 14, though some historians think he might have been as old as 18 or 19 (le gasp! :) Interesting that there's around seven centuries or more between Odo and your example of George III's son, so it was a very long-lasting tradition.
You've picked up on the part of the post that really intrigues me (Great minds and all that! :) Both Eleanors had married and moved to England/Gascony at the same age that young Eleanor was in 1282, which suggests to me that they thought they'd been too young and were keen to spare their (grand)daughter the same fate. Interesting also that Edward I took their advice and didn't send his daughter to Spain, though political considerations re: Aragon/Sicily/the Papacy etc might have played a role too.
Eleanor of Castile also raised objections to her daughter Mary becoming a nun, though she was overruled on that occasion.
Lol, you can be glad the House Plantagenet died out or Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace would be on the list of aims for the ETA today. :)
Hm, since Prince William separated from Kate (and good luck for him to have gotten rid of that ambitious girl), is there any unmarried lass connected to the Spanish royal family of suitable age for him? *grin* Nay, that's a connection that won't work today, the one family stoutly Protestant and the other stoutly Catholic. Though religion should not play a role these days.
Thank you again for demystifying genealogy, Kathryn! I'm also happy to know, at last, over what part of the world, precisely, a "King of the Romans" ruled! I would never have guessed Germany.
Harsh words about the Duchess from Gabrielle! (Looking back, who could see how drastically THAT situation would change?) I'm shocked because I thought Kate was as popular as Princess Diana! In fact, whenever I see photos of that beautiful young woman in her cute little hats, I think Prince William wanted, in the words of the old song,
"to marry a gal,
just like the gal,
who married dear old dad!"
But since the accident that killed his mother, I've been out of touch with the activities of the royal family and public opinion concerning them. The memory of Princess Diana's death is too painful.
But that brings to mind--yes, here it comes--a question: I've read that Princess Diana was a direct descendent of "our own" le Despensers, and that her family even uses their coat of arms. Is that true? If so, how wild! The lineage of the future King can be traced back to both Edward and Hugh.
A wonderful post, Kathryn!
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