26 October, 2016

Edward II's Grandchildren

Edward II and Isabella of France had four children born between 1312 and 1321, two of whom had children of their own. Their younger son John of Eltham, earl of Cornwall, died unmarried and childless at the age of twenty in 1336, and their younger daughter Joan of the Tower had no children with her husband David II of Scotland (David had no children with his second wife either, and none that I'm aware of with a mistress, therefore was succeeded as king by his half-nephew Robert II, first of the House of Stewart). Edward and Isabella's eldest child Edward III had twelve children with his queen Philippa of Hainault, and their elder daughter Eleanor of Woodstock, duchess of Guelders, had two sons. As well as his dozen legitimate children, Edward III had three known illegitimate children, Sir John de Southeray, Joan and Jane. Nicholas de Litlyngton, abbot of Westminster, often said on genealogical websites to have been one of Edward III's illegitimate children, was emphatically not: he was about the same age as Edward himself and decades older than his putative mother Alice Perrers. Nicholas was most likely an illegitimate son of Hugh Despenser the Younger, or perhaps of Hugh's father Hugh the Elder; he was certainly a member of the Despenser family, called his parents Hugh and Joan and was closely associated with Hugh the Younger's grandsons Edward, Lord Despenser and Henry Despenser, bishop of Norwich. In addition to his four legitimate children with Queen Isabella, Edward II had an illegitimate son called Adam, who died on Edward's Scottish campaign of 1322 as a teenager and left no offspring. Therefore, Edward II's only grandchildren came from his elder legitimate son Edward III and his elder daughter Eleanor of Woodstock.

- Reynald III 'the Fat', duke of Guelders (13 May 1333 - 4 December 1371)

Elder of the two sons of Eleanor of Woodstock and her husband Reynald II, count and later duke of Guelders. Reynald was born a year after his parents' wedding in May 1332, a month before Eleanor's fifteenth birthday (ouch), and when Reynald the elder was in his mid-forties or so. He married his cousin Marie of Brabant, whose father Duke John III was Edward II's nephew, but had no children with her. He did, however, father at least two illegitimate children, a daughter Ponte of Guelders and a son Johan van Hattem, so there may be descendants of Edward II via Eleanor of Woodstock and her elder son.

- Eduard I, duke of Guelders (12 March 1336 - 24 August 1371)

Eleanor of Woodstock's younger son, named after his maternal grandfather, who in 1350 began a civil war against his elder brother for control of the duchy, which lasted for twenty years. Eduard fought in the battle of Baesweiler against Duke Willem II of Jülich (nephew of Edward III's queen Philippa of Hainault) and Duke Wenceslas of Luxembourg (uncle of Richard II's queen Anne of Bohemia) on 22 August 1371, and, badly wounded, died two days later. He was childless; therefore, there were no legitimate descendants of Edward II via his daughter Eleanor of Woodstock. Matilda, the eldest of Reynald III and Eduard's half-sisters, one of the four daughters of Reynald II and his first wife Sophie, and the second sister Marie, who was married to Duke Willem II of Jülich, both laid claim to the duchy of Guelders, which led to the War of the Guelders Succession.

- Edward of Woodstock, prince of Wales and Aquitaine, duke of Cornwall, earl of Chester (15 June 1330 - 8 June 1376)

Edward II's eldest grandchild, born on 15 June 1330 as the first child of Edward III (then aged seventeen) and Philippa of Hainault (probably aged about fifteen or sixteen), and named after his father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Edward was born as heir to the throne, and for decades both he and everybody else expected that he would succeed his father as king of England, but he contracted some serious illness while campaigning in Spain in 1367 and died prematurely on 8 June 1376, a week before his forty-sixth birthday and the year before his father. Edward, rather curiously, remained a bachelor until he was thirty, and married his cousin Joan of Kent in 1361. She was the granddaughter of his great-grandfather Edward I, the daughter of Edward I's youngest son Edmund, earl of Kent. Edward and Joan's eldest son Edward died aged five or in late 1370 or early 1371, and their younger son succeeded his grandfather as King Richard II in 1377 when he was ten.

- Isabella of Woodstock, countess of Bedford (c. 16 June 1332 - shortly before 4 May 1379)

Named after her paternal grandmother Isabella of France, as was conventional for the eldest daughter (this doesn't say anything about Edward III's relationship with his mother). Isabella was the only one of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault's daughters who lived past her teens, and the only one who had children. She did not marry until July 1365 when she was thirty-three, having turned down a number of appropriate suitors: Louis, son of the count of Flanders; a son of Duke John III of Brabant; Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, after the death of his first wife Blanche of Valois (Charles's daughter Anne with his fourth wife Elizabeth of Pomerania married Isabella of Woodstock's nephew Richard II in 1382); and the eldest son of Lord Albret. In 1365 when she was thirty-three, Isabella married the French nobleman Enguerrand de Coucy, and had two daughters: Marie, countess of Bar and Soissons, and Philippa, countess of Oxford and duchess of Ireland, the wife of Richard II's notorious favourite Robert de Vere.

- Joan (c. January 1334 - 1 July 1348)

Named after her maternal grandmother Jeanne or Joan of Valois, countess of Hainault and Holland, as was conventional for the second daughter (and also perhaps after her paternal aunt Joan of the Tower, queen of Scotland). Joan died of plague in 1348 on her way to marry Pedro, son and heir of Alfonso XI of Castile, the future King Pedro 'the Cruel' of Castile. Edward III wrote a wonderful and moving letter to Castile after her death which demonstrates his grief at the loss of his daughter. Pedro later married the French noblewoman Blanche de Bourbon, whose mother was a half-sister of Philip VI and his full sister Jeanne de Valois; he imprisoned her within days of their wedding and she died still in prison eight years later.

- William of Hatfield, born January 1337, died March 1337

Named after his maternal grandfather William, count of Hainault and Holland, and died as a baby.

- Lionel of Antwerp, duke of Clarence (29 November 1338 - 17 October 1368)

The third son of Edward III and Queen Philippa and the second to survive adulthood, Lionel married his cousin Elizabeth de Burgh when he was still a child. She was the granddaughter and heir of Edward II's niece Elizabeth de Clare and heir to her father the earl of Ulster, and was six and a half years Lionel's senior. Their only child Philippa of Clarence was born in August 1355 when Lionel was still only sixteen; she was Edward III's eldest legitimate grandchild, though Edward of Woodstock was the father of at least one of the illegitimate variety by then. Philippa was the mother of Roger Mortimer, earl of March (b. 1374). Lionel, a widower from 1363, married Violante Visconti of Milan in 1368 but died not long after his wedding, a few weeks before his thirtieth birthday.

- John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster (early March 1340 - 3 February 1399)

The Grandfather of Europe: father of a king (Henry IV of England) and two queens (Philippa, queen of Portugal, and Katherine, queen of Castile), father of the Beauforts, hero of Anya Seton's novel, ancestor of absolutely everyone. First married to Blanche of Lancaster in 1359, then Constanza, rightful queen of Castile in her own right in 1371, then his long-term mistress Katherine Swynford in 1396.

- Edmund of Langley, duke of York (5 June 1341 - 1 August 1402)

The last survivor of Edward III's children, the only one to live past 1400, and born only fifteen months after his brother John of Gaunt (the middle three of Edward III's sons were all very close in age, born November 1338, March 1340 and June 1341). Edmund was made earl of Cambridge in 1362 and was later made duke of York by his nephew Richard II. He married Isabel of Castile, younger sister of his sister-in-law Constanza, with whom he had two sons and a daughter (though there's speculation that his younger son Richard, earl of Cambridge, grandfather of Edward IV and Richard III, was really the son of Richard II's half-brother John Holland). In 1393, the fifty-two-year-old widower Edmund married his second wife Joan Holland, niece of Richard II and of John Holland. She was about thirteen. (Lovely.) This marriage produced no children. Edmund was left as guardian of the realm by Richard II on three occasions, most famously in 1399 when his nephew Henry of Lancaster invaded and ended up becoming King Henry IV.

- Blanche, born and died in March 1342, so very soon after the birth of her brother Edmund; it seems very likely that she was some months premature, which probably explains why she did not live long.

- Mary (10 October 1344 - after 1 October 1361)

Mary married Duke John IV of Brittany in 1361; he later married Richard II's half-sister Joan Holland (Joan of Kent's daughter from her first marriage to Sir Thomas Holland) and thirdly Joan of Navarre, daughter of King Charles II 'the Bad'. Joan of Navarre married secondly Henry IV of England as his second wife, after he became king. Both Mary and her sister Margaret, twenty-one months her junior, died as teenagers and left no children.

- Margaret (20 July 1346 - after 1 October 1361)

Margaret married John Hastings, earl of Pembroke, in 1359. Via his mother Agnes Mortimer he was the grandson of Roger Mortimer (d. 1330), first earl of March, and was also the grandson of Juliana Hastings née Leyburne, and was born in 1347, so was a little younger than his wife. After Margaret's early, childless death, Pembroke married Edward III's first cousin Anne Manny, younger daughter and co-heir of Margaret, countess of Norfolk, daughter and heir of Edward II's half-brother Thomas of Brotherton.

William of Windsor, born and died in 1348; the second son of Edward III and Queen Philippa to bear the name William, and the second to die as a baby.

- Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester (7 January 1355 - September 1397)

Apparently a surprise late child and seven and a half years younger than his nearest (known) sibling, in much the same way as Henry III and Eleanor of Provence's youngest child Katherine, born in November 1253 (who died aged three and a half) was almost nine years younger than her nearest sibling Edmund of Lancaster. Thomas was a quarter of a century older than his eldest brother the prince of Wales, and born when his father was forty-two and his mother probably forty or so. Thomas was only a dozen years older than his nephew Richard II; they detested each other, and Richard had Thomas murdered in Calais in September 1397. Thomas married Eleanor de Bohun, elder daughter and co-heir of Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford and Northampton (1342-73) and a great-grandson of Edward I. Their only son Humphrey died as a teenager in 1399 and their ultimate heir was their daughter Anne, countess of Stafford, ancestor of the fifteenth-century Stafford dukes of Buckingham.

Sir John Southeray (b. c. 1364), Joan and Jane

Edward III's illegitimate children with his mistress Alice Perrers, born when he was in his fifties. John was knighted in April 1377 with his half-nephews the future Richard II and the future Henry IV, who were both ten.


Anerje said...

Edward III and his queen made up for the lack of grandchildren from his other siblings. So many children- and the result was civil war.

Anonymous said...

Well, Edward II certainly produced many interesting family lines and some of the most famous events in English history - Hundred Year's war and Wars of the Roses, to name two events. I'm still trying to get to grips with 'who-married-who' as it is very complicated inter-marrying. A very detailed post, thank you, I shall read up about the ones I know little about. Amanda