Jacquetta of Luxembourg

Jacquetta of Luxembourg

Jacquetta of Luxembourg (1415/1416 – May 30, 1472) was the elder daughter of Peter I, Count of St Pol, Conversano and Brienne and his wife Margaret de Baux (Margherita del Balzo of Andria).

Family and ancestry

Her father Peter I, comte de St-Pol was a hereditary Count of Brienne from 1397 to his death in 1433.

Peter had succeeded his father John, Lord of Beauvoir and mother Marguerite of Enghien. They had co-reigned as Count and Countess of Brienne from 1394 to her death in 1397.

John was a fourth-generation descendant of Waleran I of Luxembourg, Lord of Ligny, second son of Henry V of Luxembourg and Margaret of Bar. This cadet line of the House of Luxembourg reigned in Ligny-en-Barrois.

Her mother Margaret de Baux was a daughter of Francois de Baux, Duke of Andria and Sueva Orsini. Sueva was a daughter of Nicola Orsini, Count of Nola (August 27, 1331 - February 14, 1399) and Jeanne de Sabrano.

Nicola Orsini was a son of Roberto Orsini, Count of Nola (1295-1345) and Sibilla del Balzo. Sibilla was a daughter of Hugh de Baux, Great Seneschal of the Kingdom of Naples.

Roberto Orsini was a son of Romano Orsini, Royal Vicar of Rome and Anastasia de Montfort. Anastasia was the oldest daughter and heiress of Guy de Montfort, Count of Nola and Margherita Aldobrandeschi.

Guy de Montfort was a son of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and Eleanor of England. Eleanor was the youngest child of John of England and his Queen consort Isabella of Angoulême.

Jacquetta herself was an eighth-generation descendant of John and thus distantly related to the Kings of England descending from him.

First marriage

On April 22, 1433 at 17 years of age, Jacquetta married John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford at Therouenne. The Duke was a son of King Henry IV of England and Mary de Bohun.

Jacquetta was a cousin of Sigismund of Luxembourg, the reigning Holy Roman Emperor, and King of Bohemia and Hungary. The marriage was meant to strengthen the ties of the Kingdom of England with the Holy Roman Empire and to increase English influence in the affairs of Continental Europe.

The marriage was childless and the Duke died on the night of September 14/15, 1435 at Rouen. There are famous events associated with this first marriage. Jacquetta's uncle, John II of Luxembourg, Count of Ligny, betrayed Joan of Arc and arrested her.Fact|date=March 2007 He brought Joan in chains to Rouen castle, seat of the Duke of Bedford. During Joan's two year long trial there, she was attacked by a drunken English lord who, according to rumour, had taken her maidenhood. Joan had to be examined in order to prove this rumour false.

econd marriage

Sir Richard Woodville, son of Sir Richard Wydevill who had served as the late Duke's chamberlain, was commissioned by Henry VI of England to bring the young widow to England. During the rough journey, the couple fell in love and married in secret (before March 23, 1436/1437), without seeking the king's permission. Enraged, Henry VI refused to see them but was mollified by the payment of a fine.

By the mid-1440s, the Woodvilles were in ascendancy. Queen Margaret influenced her husband Henry VI to create Richard Woodville 1st Earl Rivers in 1448. Jacquetta was related to both the Queen and the King. Her sister, Isabelle de Saint Pol, married the brother of Queen Margaret, while Jacquetta was herself the erstwhile widow of the uncle of Henry VI.

As royalty, she outranked all ladies at Court with the exception of the Queen herself. As a personal favourite and close relative of the Queen, she also enjoyed special privileges and influence at court. Happily married to the love of her life, Jacquetta bore Richard sixteen children, among them Elizabeth Woodville who was to become the wife of King Edward IV of England, and mother of Elizabeth of York (in her turn mother of King Henry VIII, thus making Jacquetta his great-grandmother).

Jacquetta weathered two accusations of witchcraft during her second marriage,Fact|date=March 2007 once by the mob that illegally beheaded her second husband and once when a little leaden figure of a man of arms "about the size of a thumb" bound up in wire was discovered among her personal effects.Fact|date=March 2007 She was acquitted by her son-in-law, King Edward IV. However, these instances were recalled and cited after her death when Richard III ordered Parliament in 1483 to attaint her daughter, the widowed Queen Elizabeth Woodville, for witchcraft.

Wars of the Roses

The death of her son-in-law Sir John Grey (Elizabeth's husband) in the Second Battle of St Albans (February 22, 1461) against King Edward IV brought out the strong calculating and manipulative mind in Jacquetta. Following her mother's directives, in 1464, Elizabeth (with her two minor sons) accosted Edward (out on a hunt) at Whittlebury Forest near the family home and pleaded with the King to return the confiscated estates of her husband to her sons. Thoroughly bewitched by her beauty, Edward offered to make her his mistress, but she held out for marriage. A desperate Edward married Elizabeth in secret, but the marriage was not disclosed as it would mean difficulty for the House of York. Once it became common knowledge, however, the alliance displeased Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, the King's most trusted ally, and his friends.

With Elizabeth as Queen of England, Jacquetta managed to find rich and influential spouses for all her children and helped her grandchildren achieve high posts. She arranged for her 20-year-old son, John Woodville, to marry the widowed and very rich dowager Duchess of Norfolk, Catherine Neville. The bride was at least forty years older than the groom at the time of the wedding. The marriage caused a furore and earned the Woodvilles considerable unpopularity. Catherine Neville's son, John de Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, especially, turned against the Queen and her family and vowed vengeance against the Yorkist allies for the slur on his family honour.

Sadly, the Woodvilles' luck soon ran out. The Lancastrian side (on which the Woodvilles found themselves) was the losing side in the War of the Roses. In 1466, Richard Woodville was captured by Warwick and executed subsequently in 1469. A broken hearted Jacquetta survived her beloved husband by six years and died in 1472, at about 56 years of age.

Jacquetta was as influential in death as she was in life. She is credited with being the ancestress of most present day European monarchs.

=Children of Jacquetta de Luxembourg by Richard Woodville [per "Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy" by Alison Weir] =

# Elizabeth Woodville (b. c. 1437, d. 1492), Queen consort of Edward IV of England.
# Anne Woodville (b. c. 1438, d. 1489). Married firstly William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier and secondly George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent.
# Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers (b. 1442, d. 1483).
# Mary Woodville (b. 1443, d. 1481). Married William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke.
# Jacquetta Woodville (b. 1444, d. 1509). Married John IX Lestrange, 8th Lord Strange.
# John Woodville (b. 1445, executed 2 August 1469). Married Catherine Neville, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk.
# Lionel Woodville (b. 1447, d. 1485), Bishop of Salisbury.
# Catherine Woodville (b. 1448, d. c. 1513). Married firstly Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham and secondly Jasper Tudor.
# Martha Woodville (b. 1450, d. 1500). Married Sir John Bromley.
# Eleanor Woodville (b. 1452, d. 1512). Married Sir Anthony Grey.
# Margaret Woodville (b. 1454, d. c. 1491) married Sir Thomas FitzAlan, 17th Earl of Arundel.
# Richard Woodville, 3rd Earl Rivers (d. 1491).
# Edward Woodville (d. 1488).
# Lewis Woodville (d. young).
# Thomas Woodville. Married Anne Holland.
# Agnes Woodville (d. 1506). Married William Dormer.


External links

* [http://fabpedigree.com/s087/f005860.htm A pedigree of her]

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