I've been doing some research into a few of Edward II's ancestors lately. I didn't know that he had some Polish blood: one of his great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers was Władysław II, High Duke of Poland and duke of Silesia (1105-1159), whose daughter Richeza married Alfonso VII of Castile. (And that's interesting in itself - a marital alliance between Spain and Poland in the twelfth century.) Richeza and Alfonso's only child Sancha married Alfonso II of Aragon, and their son Alphonse was count of Provence and the grandfather of Edward's paternal grandmother Eleanor:
Edward II - Edward I - Eleanor of Provence, d. 1291 - Ramon Berenger V, count of Provence, d. 1245 - Alphonse, count of Provence, d. 1209 - Sancha of Castile, d. 1208 - Richeza of Poland, d. 1198 - Władysław II, d. 1159.
Władysław's grandfather Sviatopolk II, the father of his mother Sbaslawa or Zbyslava, was the ruler of Kievan Rus and prince of Novgorod. (My friend Christy Robinson knows a lot about this family.) Władysław's father was Bolesław III Wrymouth (d. 1138), prince of Poland. Through Bolesław's mother Judith, Edward II was descended from kings of Bohemia, German dukes and counts, the grand dukes of Kiev (again) and was the ten greats grandson of Olga Prekrasna (d. 969), wife of Igor I of Kiev, who converted to Christianity in Constantinople and took the name Yelena or Helen. She was canonised as a saint and equal-to-the-Apostles in 1547 and is considered the first saint of the Russian Orthodox church, instrumental in spreading Christianity in Russia.
The mother of Richeza of Poland and wife of Władysław II was the German noblewoman Agnes of Babenberg. Agnes' father Leopold III (d. 1136), margrave of Austria - Edward II's six greats grandfather - is the patron saint of Austria. Agnes of Babenberg's mother Agnes of Franconia (d. 1143) was the mother of Conrad III of Germany, the first king of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, by her first marriage. She was the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV (d. 1106), Edward II's seven greats grandfather, by his first wife Bertha of Savoy. Henry IV is most famous for being forced to wait for three days in the snow at Canossa in 1077 by Pope Gregory VII, who had excommunicated him.
Also via Agnes of Babenberg and her father Leopold III, Edward II was the ten greats grandson of Otto Orseolo, doge of Venice from 1008 to 1026, and his wife Sarolta Arpad, daughter of Geza, Grand Prince of the Magyars. Sarolta's brother Stephen (or István, d. 1038) was the first king of Hungary and was canonised in 1083; his feast day is still a national holiday in Hungary. Edward II is descended from Otto Orseolo and Sarolta's daughter Froila. Geza's great-grandfather was Arpad Arpad (d. c. 907), Edward's fourteen greats grandfather, second Grand Prince of the Magyars (after his father Almos).
Another saint in the family, ancestor of Richeza of Poland and Edward II's thirteen greats grandmother, is Saint Ludmila of Bohemia (d. 921), who is a patron saint of Bohemia, the Czech Republic, widows, people who have problems with their in-laws, and - of all people - duchesses. Her grandson Boleslav, Edward's ancestor, was the brother of St Wenceslas (as in 'Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the feast of Stephen, where the snow lay round about...').
Olaf Skötkonung, also known as Olaf Eiríksson, king of Sweden from 995 to 1022, was Edward II's eight or nine greats grandfather through three lines: via Richeza of Poland, and via both of Edward's parents, who were descended from Anna Yaroslavna (also known as Anne of Kiev), daughter of Yaroslav, prince of Novgorod and Kiev and granddaughter of Olaf. Anna married Henry I of France (d. 1060). Olaf Skötkonung's maternal grandmother was Dobrava of Prague, daughter of Boleslas, king of Bohemia and an English mother, Adiva or Edith, daughter of Edward the Elder, king of Wessex, son of Alfred the Great (d. 899). Edward II was descended from Alfred the Great many times over, including via Alfred's daughter Ælfthryth and her son Adalulf (d. 933), count of Boulogne. Edward the Elder's daughter Edith (d. 946) married Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 973), Edward II's ten greats grandparents
Edward II was the great-great-grandson of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine; he was also the great-great-grandson of Alais of France, daughter of Eleanor's former husband Louis VII of France, who was betrothed to Henry and Eleanor's son Richard Lionheart but may have been Henry's mistress.
Edward II - Eleanor of Castile, d. 1290 - Jeanne de Dammartin, queen of Castile and countess of Ponthieu, d. 1279 - Marie, lady of Ponthieu, d. 1250 - Alais of France, countess of Ponthieu and the Vexin, d. c. 1220.
I really like one of Isabella of France's lines: she was the seven greats granddaughter of Harold Godwinson, the king of England killed at the battle of Hastings in 1066, via Harold's daughter Gytha, who married Vladimir II Monomakh, grand duke of Kiev, in about 1070. It makes me happy to think that the kings of England from Edward III onwards are Harold Godwinson's descendants:
Isabella of France - Philip IV, d. 1314 - Isabel of Aragon, queen of France, d. 1271 - Yolande of Hungary, queen of Aragon, d. 1251 - Andras II, king of Hungary, d. 1235 - Bela III, king of Hungary, d. 1196 - Euphrosyne of Kiev, d. before 1186 - Mstislav I, grand duke of Kiev, d. 1132 - Gytha Haroldsdaughter, d. 1107 - Harold Godwinson, king of England, d. 1066.
Talking of an Anglo-Saxon connection, as well as another saint in the family, Edward II was the seven greats grandson of Edmund Ironside, briefly king of England for a few months in 1016 until his defeat in battle by Cnut, via Edmund's son Edward the Exile (who grew up in Hungary) and Edward's daughter Saint Margaret, queen of Scotland (who married Malcolm Canmore):
Edward II - Edward I - Henry III - King John - Henry II - Empress Matilda, d. 1167 - Edith (Matilda) of Scotland, queen of England, d. 1118 - Saint Margaret of England/Hungary, queen of Scotland, d. 1093 - Edward the Exile, d. 1057 - Edmund Ironside, d. 1016.
Edward II's great-great-great-great-grandmother Petronilla (c. 1135-1173) was queen of Aragon in her own right. Her father Ramiro was a monk forced to give up his monastic vows temporarily to become king of Aragon on the death of his childless brother; he returned to his monastery after fathering Petronilla (by Agnes of Poitou, aunt of Edward II's great-great-grandmother Eleanor of Aquitaine) and betrothing her as a baby to Raymond Berenger IV, count of Barcelona. Petronilla abdicated in 1163 in favour of her young son Alfonso II, and acted as regent for him until her death the following year.
Edward II - Edward I - Eleanor of Provence - Raymond Berenger, count of Provence - Alphonse, count of Provence - Alfonso II, king of Aragon, d. 1196 - Petronilla, queen of Aragon, d. 1164 - Ramiro 'the Monk', king of Aragon, d. 1147.
Edward's great-grandmother Berenguela (1180-1246, granddaughter through her mother of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine) became queen of Castile in her own right on the death of her brother Enrique I in 1217, but immediately abdicated in favour of her son Fernando III. She acted as her son's regent for a few years and was still his chief adviser after he came of age.
The first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques (c. 1109-1185), was Edward's great-great-great-grandfather:
Edward II - Eleanor of Castile - Fernando III of Castile and Leon, d. 1252 - Alfonso IX of Leon, d. 1230 - Urraca of Portugal, d. 1188 - Afonso Henriques, d. 1185.
Leo VI Mamikonian, emperor of Byzantium (d. 912), was Edward's twelve greats grandfather, by his second wife Zoe Zaoutzaina. Leo was known as 'the Wise' or 'the Philsopher', and his paternity is uncertain, though his mother was certainly the Empress Eudokia Ingerina, wife of one Byzantine emperor and mistress of another.
Edward's thirteen greats grandmother may have been Auria or Oria bint Lopo, who may have been the wife of Fortún Garcés, king of Pamplona (d. 905). She came from the Banu Qasi dynasty of northern Spain, who converted to Islam in the early eighth century following the Umayyad conquest of much of the Iberian peninsula.
Edward was descended from the Bagratuni or Bagratid dynasty, who ruled Armenia as princes and kings from the eighth to eleventh centuries. For example, Varaz-Tirots Bagratuni, Marzpan (i.e. governor-general) of Armenia from 628 to 635, was Edward's twenty greats grandfather (roughly).
This is all so impressive! These ancestors are not so complicated for me to follow this time:>
Wow, Kathryn, this is impressive all in one place. I agree with you that it's nice to see the descendants of Edward II and Isabella of France have some Anglo-Saxon blood! I have a soft spot for the House of Wessex (don't know why) but I did not realize Isabella had that line in her family history.
Thanks, Anerje and Elizabeth! I find all these ancestors fascinating - and with Edward II's daughter-in-law Queen Philippa, some really interesting lines entered the English royal house.
I love the Godwinsons too, Elizabeth! I also edited the post to add Edward II's descent from Edmund Ironside, king of England in 1016, who I'm really fond of.
He's also descended from Boleslaus I, Duke of Bohemia. Boleslaus is perhaps best known for murdering his older brother - Wenceslaus I. Every Christmas his memory is preserved when we sing Good King Wenceslas. Wenceslaus wasn't actually a king but was later given the status because of the popularity of his cult.
He does have some more bizarre ancestors including the God Odin. Perhaps my personal favourite is Gandalf. He was either a king of an area of Sweden or king of the elves. His name was appropriated by Tolkien when he came to invent his new mythology for the English people.
Yes, I mentioned Boleslav/Boleslaus, Wenceslas and the Christmas carol in the post, Christopher (not the murder, though - interesting!).
That's funny about Odin and Gandalf!
For some reason I just didn't see that paragraphy. I must stop flipping between tabs. Sorry pardon.
The murder is quite interesting - Wenceslaus' mother only converted on her marriage. She had his grandmother murdered.
You can also connect him to the Emeror Constantine - it's a little tenuous but the bits that are least believable are the bits that are best attested too.
No problem - it's kind of hidden in the middle a bit. :)
Thanks for all the info - much appreciated - I'll do some reading about the murders. Really interesting! Will look into the possible Constantine connection too.
I didn't know Isabella was a distant descendant of Harold Godwinsson. Though I suppose the aristocratic family lines are so interconnected that practically every family is connected to every other if you go back over enough generations.
That's true, Carla - Edward and Isabella themselves were related many times over (second cousins once removed was the closest connection). I like the idea of Harold's daughter marrying into Kiev!
Oops, that was me - how did I manage to post it anonymously?
I had no idea Edward was related to Heinrich (Henry) IV. Another one to add to my list of English/German connections. :)
Conrad III's sister Bertha (Betrada) married Adalbert of Ravenstein and their daughter Liutgard married Conrad Margrave of Meissen of House Wettin. I've mentioned House Wettin a few times in my posts about Thuringia because they would later become landgraves of Thuringia as well.
The parents of said Conrad were Thimo of Wettin and Ida of Northeim, a daughter of the (in)famous Otto of Northeim. Her sister Richenza was among the ancestors of Heinrich the Lion of Saxony, who married Mathilde of England, daughter of Henry II and Eleanor.
Albrecht (Albert) II of House Wettin would later marry Margaretha of Staufen, a daughter of Friedrich II and Isabelle of England, a daughter of King John.
So our dear Edward is related to the Houses Wettin and Northeim, as well as the Welfen family, probably several times over. :D
Thanks for all the info, Gabriele! I love all these royal connections. Was really pleased to find Edward's descent from Heinrich. :)
He certainly shared with Heinrich that they both had the 'wrong' sort of men around, according to those who thought they should have been in the inner circle. Heinrich picked his advisors for loyaly and ability, not rank. *gasp* :) I think Ed did this too (at least for loyalty).
It's a shame that I only got round to reading this wonderful post almost 8 years after it was written. To be fair, I only started reading your blog in late 2017, and I've been making my way backwards sytematically as well as doing some background reading for most of the posts. Being a Hungarian myself, I was surprised by the Hungarian ancestry. Also Prince Árpád mentioned as Árpád Árpád made me smile a little. I've never seen him mentioned like this in Hungarian. Is this a common practice of referring to someone who has the whole dynasty named after him? For example we would call St. Stephen Árpádházi Szent István (St. Stephen of the House of Árpád) rather than "Árpád István" . I know that surnames started to be used regularly (and officially) much later (and in most cases only in modern times for royalty) , but the "Árpádházi" form follows one of the Hungarian naming conventions for the nobility, and I guess that's why it sounds way more natural to the Hungarian ear. Anyway, I tremendously enjoyed this post as all the others I've read. :)
Hi Emőke, lovely to see you here! Thank you for the information! 'Árpád Árpád' does sound slightly weird, doesn't it? :-D I also love the Hungarian ancestry. In my recent bio of Edward II's daughter-in-law Philippa of Hainault, I mention that Philippa was the great-great-granddaughter of István V (if I remember correctly), king of Hungary, and his wife Elizabeth the Cuman (in the book I tried to spell 'Elizabeth' in the Hungarian way, but I can't remember how to write it now, sorry :). Erszebet maybe? But with some diacritical marks :)
So glad you're enjoying the blog, and do please feel free to comment any time you like! :-)
Yes, Kun Erzsébet. Despite being from a pagan background and only later taking up Catholicism, she was the ancestor of quite a few members of western royalty through her daughter, Mary, who married Charles II of Naples. For example, her great-granddaughter, Clementia was Queen consort of Louis X of France. It's such a shame that the House of Árpád became extinct so early (although I bet the Tudors would have appreciated a good 400-year run for their dynasty). IMO, this dynasty was full of fascinating people with almost each generation having devout Christians and some family members with pagan tendencies. Fierce warriors leading full-blown military campaigns as kings even at the age of 17-18. Unfortunately, too many of them died in their 20s or early 30s, which ultimately led to the extinction of the dynasty.
I always love the genealogical aspect of your posts, but sometimes I find it a little hard to follow, so I need to draw a sketch of the family tree to fully appreciate the information. Do you by any chance keep track of these complex relations on an online platform like Ancestry or Family Echo? Or can you remember all this information without any visual aid whatsoever?
I make the point in my Philippa of Hainault book that King Philip VI of France and the children of King Edward III of England all had the mitochondrial DNA of Kun Erzsébet (thanks!), as they were descended from her in the female line. Kind of fascinating, to me anyway, to think that the 'Black Prince' and John of Gaunt had the mtDNA of a shamanistic people of the steppes! (The line is: Erzsébet, queen of Hungary - Marie of Hungary, queen of Naples - Marguerite of Anjou-Naples, countess of Valois - Philip VI of France and his sister Jeanne de Valois, mother of Philippa of Hainault, queen of England).
Unfortunately no, I don't use Ancestry or anything similar - I just keep it all in my head, or very occasionally jot down a rough family tree on a piece of paper! I do love designing family trees for my books, but I write them out on paper and the publishers then design them digitally.
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