29 October, 2016

She's Called Elizabeth, not Isabel! A Big Oopsie in 1314

Edward II's nephew Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford, was killed during the king's disastrous defeat at the battle of Bannockburn on 23 June 1314, aged twenty-three. Gilbert was the eldest grandchild of Edward I, scion of the ancient noble house of Clare, and the greatest nobleman in the country behind Edward II's first cousin Thomas, earl of Lancaster.

Gilbert had married Maud de Burgh, one of the many daughters of the earl of Ulster, on 30 September 1308 when he was seventeen, but their marriage was childless. Edward II stated on 13 July 1314 that his nephew had died without heirs of his body. [Fine Rolls 1307-19, p. 202] However, soon the idea arose that the widowed Countess Maud was in fact pregnant by her late husband; the king had apparently not heard of this on 13 July. The majority of the jurors in the many English counties and elsewhere who issued Gilbert's Inquisition Post Mortem between August and October 1314 correctly stated that his heirs were his three younger sisters Eleanor, Margaret and Elizabeth, but five counties had heard that Gilbert's widow Maud was or might be pregnant, so added the disclaimer that the three de Clare sisters were only the late earl's heirs if Maud was not expecting a child or stated "heir not known, because it is said that the countess is pregnant." This child, whether male or female, would inherit the entirety of Gilbert's vast landholdings in three countries (England, Wales and Ireland) and his two earldoms. I don't know how the story of Maud's pregnancy arose; whether she genuinely was or at least thought she was expecting, whether the jurors of Suffolk, Hampshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire had misunderstood or heard a rumour, but Edward II must have been absolutely delighted. As the heir of a tenant-in-chief, Gilbert's child would become a ward of the king, and Gilbert's vast income would pour into the king's coffers until he or she came of age (twenty-one if male, fourteen or fifteen if female). This would be a massive windfall for Edward, and although he surely mourned the death of the nephew who was only seven years his junior, the prospect of receiving Gilbert's seven thousand pounds a year (minus Maud's dower) for many years  must have sweetened the loss. [For Gilbert's IPM and all the following, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem 1307-27, pp. 325-54]

By 20 May 1315, it had become clear to Gilbert's brother-in-law Hugh Despenser the Younger (Eleanor's husband since May 1306) that Countess Maud could not be pregnant by her husband eleven months after his death, and so he temporarily seized Tonbridge Castle which had belonged to the earl, presumably as a way of drawing the attention of Edward II and his council to the issue. A few weeks later, Hugh sent a petition to the royal council "asserting that the time had long passed and Maud late the wife of the said earl had not borne a child." Unfortunately, not only did Edward II continue to claim that Maud's pregnancy was "well-known in the parts where she lives" well into 1316, the partition of the earl of Gloucester's lands was further delayed by an error made by some of the jurors of the earl's Inq. Post Mortem. All of them had correctly named Eleanor and Margaret as the eldest two sisters, but five counties - Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Devon - incorrectly named the youngest sister Elizabeth as 'Isabel'. Further inquisitions therefore had to be held in these counties and also in London and Hampshire between 2 and 8 August 1315, when the jurors admitted their error and pointed out that "there is no Isabel sister of the said Eleanor and Margaret by the same father and mother; Elizabeth is their sister and co-heir." As is usually the case in IPMs, the given ages of the three sisters varied wildly, and a few counties stated that Elizabeth was as young as sixteen in September 1314; she in fact turned nineteen that month. The Suffolk jurors not only claimed that Elizabeth was called Isabel, they named her as the widow of Thomas de Burgh, when in fact her late husband, son and heir of the earl of Ulster and thus the brother of the supposedly pregnant Countess Maud, was called John.

What probably caused the confusion, and was almost certain to cause legal difficulties in the future if it was not corrected, was that Gilbert, Eleanor, Margaret and Elizabeth de Clare had a much older half-sister named Isabel de Clare, born in 1262. She and her sister Joan, born c. 1264, were the daughters of Gilbert 'the Red' de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford, from his first marriage to Alice de Lusignan. These two women were thirty years older than their half-siblings, the children of Gilbert the Red and his second wife Joan of Acre, and were not the joint heirs of the younger Gilbert when he died in 1314; only Gilbert's three full sisters were entitled to a share of his enormous inheritance. This confusion between Elizabeth de Clare and her half-sister Isabel, thirty-three years her senior, was probably one of the factors which led to Maurice Berkeley marrying Isabel de Clare in c. 1316. Maurice was born in 1271 and succeeded his elderly father as Lord Berkeley in 1321. His wife Eve la Zouche died in 1314, and he was almost certainly hoping to try to force himself into a share of the de Clare inheritance by marrying Gilbert the Red's eldest daughter, just in case it turned out that she was one of the late earl of Gloucester's heirs after all. Isabel de Clare was fifty-four in 1316, and had never been married before. Ultimately, she and her sister Joan, dowager countess of Fife, inherited nothing. As for the three full de Clare sisters and their husbands, they had to wait until November 1317 for the lands of their late brother to be partitioned and given to them, and Hugh Despenser the Younger was emphatically Not Amused by the long delay.

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.

19 October, 2016

19 October 1330: Arrest of Roger Mortimer

686 years ago today on 19 October 1330, Edward III arrested Roger Mortimer, earl of March, at Nottingham Castle, in a swift and successful coup d'etat against his mother Isabella and her favourite. Edward III, born on 13 November 1312, was not quite eighteen years old. Roger and Isabella were having a conference in her bedchamber when the king and his allies burst in, a situation not nearly as intimate as it might sound to modern ears, and with them were their few remaining allies, including the bishop of Lincoln (who tried to escape down a latrine shaft), Roger's son Geoffrey (who was also arrested but soon released), Sir Hugh Turplington and Sir Oliver Ingham. Twenty or so young knights aided the king, some of whom, such as William Montacute, William Clinton and Robert Ufford, were later rewarded with earldoms. The actual arrest was probably only planned with a few hours' notice, but clearly the young king had been planning some kind of action against Roger Mortimer for a long time, probably since the year before, and struck as soon as he was able. He had sent William Montacute to the pope on his behalf most likely in 1329 with the famous letter containing a sample of his own writing, and after all, it was hardly a coincidence that twenty loyal young knights were with him that night and ready to strike against the hated royal favourite.

Twenty-six years to the day after her husband's arrest, on 19 October 1356, Roger Mortimer's widow Joan née Geneville, dowager countess of March, died at the age of seventy. She outlived eight of their twelve children. At the time of her death, her grandson Roger Mortimer was the second earl of March, her grandson John Hastings (b. 1347) was heir to the earldom of Pembroke, and her grandson Maurice Berkeley was heir to Lord Berkeley. Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, was Joan's son-in-law, and she had numerous great-grandchildren.

09 October, 2016

Hugh Despenser the Younger's Daughters, Forced to become Nuns

Edward II's powerful favourite Hugh Despenser the Younger, lord of Glamorgan, was executed in Hereford on 24 November 1326. His widow Eleanor de Clare, Edward's eldest and favourite niece, was imprisoned in the Tower of London on 17 November, and his eldest son Huchon held out at Caerphilly Castle until 20 March 1327 and then was imprisoned at Bristol Castle until after the downfall of Isabella of France and Roger Mortimer. Hugh's eldest daughter Isabel, who was probably thirteen or fourteen in 1326, was married to the son and heir of his ally the earl of Arundel, executed on 16 November, and his youngest daughter Elizabeth, future Lady Berkeley, was either a baby at this time or still in utero. Hugh's younger three sons Edward, Gilbert and John may have been kept in the Tower of London with their mother, but I don't know.

That left Hugh and Eleanor's middle three daughters Joan, Eleanor and Margaret. Their dates of birth are not known, but Joan, eldest of the three, is unlikely to have been more than twelve in late 1326 and may only have been nine or ten. Margaret, youngest of the three, may have been little more than a toddler. (Eleanor de Clare gave birth in 1323 and in December 1325; this may have been John and Elizabeth, or Margaret and John, with Elizabeth born posthumously in 1327.) On 1 January 1327, an order appears on the Close Roll relating to Eleanor and Margaret Despenser:

"To the prior and convent of Watton. Order to cause Margaret, daughter of Hugh le Despenser the younger, whom the king [i.e. Edward II, who was imprisoned and had nothing to do with this] is sending to them, to be admitted and veiled without delay, to remain forever under the order and regular habit of that house, and to cause her to be professed in the same as speedily as possible. The like to the prior and convent of Sempryngham, for Eleanor, daughter of the said Hugh. To the master of the order of Sempryngham. Order to cause the aforesaid Eleanor and Margaret to be admitted and veiled in the said houses, and to cause them to be professed as speedily as possible." [Calendar of Close Rolls 1323-1327, p. 624.]

The order is missing for Joan Despenser, but she was also veiled at Shaftesbury Abbey. Joan had previously been betrothed to the earl of Kildare's son, and Eleanor to Laurence Hastings (b. 1320), future earl of Pembroke, who married instead Roger Mortimer's daughter Agnes a couple of years later. See also Susan Higginbotham's excellent blog post on this topic from a few years ago. (My goodness, I remember reading and commenting on it as though it was yesterday, and she wrote it almost ten years ago! Scary.)

In 1324, Edward II had sent three of his greatest enemy Roger Mortimer's eight daughters to live at convents with a pittance to live on, but the girls or young women were not veiled as nuns and were later released. Edward sent his own niece Margaret de Clare to live at Sempringham Priory in May 1322 after her husband Hugh Audley joined the Contrariant rebellion against him, and her sister Elizabeth was sent to live at Barking Abbey for a few months also in 1322. Edward's father Edward I had placed the daughters of the last princes of Wales in Lincolnshire convents in the early 1280s: Gwenllian (a great-granddaughter of Edward I's grandfather King John) and Llywelyn the Last's only child, and her cousin Gwladys, daughter of Llywelyn's brother Dafydd. This, callous and cruel as it doubtless was, did at least make a cold kind of sense: it was done to prevent the girls marrying, having children and passing on a claim to the principality of Wales to their children. Dafydd's young sons were also imprisoned for the rest of their lives.

Frances Underhill is the only historian of the fourteenth century I know of besides myself who has dealt with the forced veiling of the Despenser girls in print, in her 1999 biography of Elizabeth de Clare, For Her Good Estate (pp. 39-40). Otherwise the situation is either ignored or we get disingenuous claims that "the girls later became nuns," as though they did it by their own choice. Underhill says that Isabella's aim must have been to prevent anyone claiming the Despenser lands via the girls. This doesn't really work. The Despenser inheritance was forfeit to the Crown after the girls' father and grandfather were executed for treason. The vastly larger de Clare inheritance belonged by right to the girls' mother Eleanor de Clare, who was very much alive. Besides, the girls had four brothers so their chances of inheriting anything from their parents were remote, and it is hard to escape the conclusion that the order to veil the girls was issued out of spite and a desire for revenge on Isabella's part because of her loathing of their dead father. In the chaotic and unprecedented state in which England found itself at the beginning of 1327, when Edward II was imprisoned but still officially king and it was unclear what was going to happen, Isabella still found the time to ponder the fate of three children and to deem their veiling as nuns, their forced acceptance of lifelong binding vows, so important that she required it to be done "as speedily as possible" and "without delay." Both Isabella and her husband Edward II could be remarkably vindictive, and innocent people suffered because of it. Hugh Despenser and Eleanor de Clare's other two daughters Isabel and Elizabeth, who survived the queen's order because they were a) already married and b) a baby or not yet born, both had children, and so did their second son Edward, grandfather of Thomas Despenser who was made earl of Gloucester late in Richard II's reign. Edward Despenser was also the ancestor of Richard III's queen Anne Neville.

03 October, 2016

The Tangled Family of Richard II

Richard II, king of England from June 1377 to September 1399, was born in Bordeaux on 6 January 1367, the feast of the Epiphany or the Three Kings. He was the second son of Edward of Woodstock, prince of Wales and Aquitaine, born on 15 June 1330 as the eldest child of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault, and Joan of Kent, countess of Kent in her own right. Richard of Bordeaux's elder brother Edward of Angoulême died when he was five or six, and Richard's father died in June 1376, so that when his grandfather Edward III died on 21 June 1377, Richard succeeded him as king of England, at the age of ten.

It all starts to get most confusing when you realise that Richard's mother Joan of Kent, who married Edward II's eldest grandson Edward of Woodstock in 1361, was also Edward II's niece: she was the daughter and ultimate heir of Edward's half-brother Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent (1301-1330). This means that a granddaughter of Edward I married a great-grandson of Edward I. It means that as well as being Richard II's great-grandfather, Edward II was also Richard's great-uncle. It means that the maternal grandfather of Richard II was the uncle of his paternal grandfather. And it gets even more confusing. Edmund of Woodstock, earl of Kent, was the son of Marguerite of France, Edward I's second queen. Marguerite was the half-sister of Philip IV of France, and Philip IV's daughter Isabella married Edward II and was the mother of Edward III and great-grandmother of Richard II. Isabella's aunt Marguerite was also Richard II's great-grandmother.  Edward I was both Richard II's great-grandfather and his great-great-grandfather, and Philip III of France was both Richard's great-great-grandfather and his great-great-great-grandfather. Trying to design family trees to take all this into account requires lines going all over the place! It is interesting, though, to note that although Richard II was born in Bordeaux, he was more of English origin than most medieval English kings, and is one of the group who had an English mother (his cousin and usurper Henry IV, Henry V, the brothers Edward IV and Richard III, and Henry VII are the others I can think of - do let me know if you think of more).

It also strikes me that the English nobility of the late fourteenth century were more inter-related than their grandparents and great-grandparents in Edward II's reign had been. At least in Edward's time, you had some marriages abroad which brought new blood in, e.g. the earls of Lincoln (d. 1311) and Arundel (d. 1326) both had Italian mothers. Guy Beauchamp, earl of Warwick (d. 1315) married the rather obscure noblewoman Alice Toeni, and Edward II's cousin Henry, earl of Lancaster (d. 1345) married Maud Chaworth, also faintly obscure (though both Alice and Maud were heiresses). This is rarely the case a few decades later when the same families inter-married constantly, and you end up with impossibly mad situations like Richard II's half-niece Joan Holland, b. c. 1380, marrying Richard's uncle Edmund of Langley, duke of York, a man forty years her senior, when she was about twelve or thirteen. So, the king's niece became his aunt. Joan Holland, as well as being the king's half-niece, was also the niece of the earl of Arundel whom Richard had executed in 1397, the sister-in-law of the earl of March who was a cousin of Richard II and his heir male, and a first cousin of Eleanor de Bohun who was married to Richard II's uncle Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester (Edmund of Langley's brother). In his will of 1392, the earl of Arundel (who had an Italian great-grandmother, as mentioned above) mentioned 'my mother of Norfolk'. This was Margaret, countess and later duchess of Norfolk, sometimes called Margaret Marshall, who was Edward II's niece, the daughter and heir of his other half-brother Thomas of Brotherton, earl of Norfolk (1300-1338). I had to work that one out: Margaret's grandson and heir Thomas Mowbray, earl of Nottingham, was married to Arundel's daughter Elizabeth. Arundel's first wife Elizabeth de Bohun was the sister of Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford and Northampton (d. 1373) and a great-grandson of Edward I, and a much younger half-sister of Roger Mortimer, second earl of March (1328-1360).  Arundel's sister Joan married Humphrey de Bohun and was the mother of Eleanor de Bohun mentioned above, and their other sister Alice married Richard II's half-brother Thomas Holland and was the mother of Joan Holland above. And that's only a tiny part of the inter-relations. Your head could explode trying to figure it all out.