Catherine of Valois


Catherine of Valois

Infobox British Royalty|majesty|consort
name =Catherine of Valois
title =Queen consort of England


imgw =150px
caption =
reign =2 June 1420 - 31 August 1422
coronation =23 February 1421
spouse =Henry V
Owen Tudor
spouse-type =Spouse
issue =Henry VI
Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond
Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford
issue-link = #Children by Owen Tudor
issue-pipe = among others
royal house =House of Valois
father =Charles VI of France
mother =Isabella of Bavaria
date of birth =27 October 1401
place of birth =Paris, France
date of death =3 January 1437 (aged 35)
place of death =London, England
place of burial =Westminster Abbey|

Catherine of Valois (27 October 1401 – 3 January 1437) was the Queen consort of England from 1420 until 1422. She was the daughter of King Charles VI of France, wife of King Henry V of England, mother of King Henry VI of England, and through her secret marriage with Owen Tudor, the grandmother of King Henry VII of England. Catherine's older sister, Isabella of Valois, was Queen consort of England from 1396 – 1400, as the child bride of King Richard II of England.

Catherine was buried at Westminster Abbey, and during the reign of Henry VII her coffin lid was accidentally raised, revealing her corpse, which for generations became a tourist attraction; Catherine's remains were not properly re-interred until the reign of Queen Victoria.

Summary of Katherine

Katherine of Valois was the daughter of King Charles VI of France and his wife Isabelle of Bavaria. She was born at the Hotel of St. Pol (a royal palace in Paris) on October 27, 1401. Early on there had been a discussion of marrying her to the son of Henry IV, but the King died before negotiations could begin. The new king, Henry V, also proposed the match, but demanded a large dowry and acknowledgement of his right to the throne of France.

Henry V went to war with France and even after the English victory at Agincourt, plans for the marriage continued. Katherine was said to be very attractive and when Henry finally met her at Meulan he became enamored. In May 1420, a peace treaty was made between England and France and Charles acknowledged Henry of England as his heir. Katherine and Henry were married at the parish Church of St. John.

Katherine went to England with her new husband and was crowned as Queen in Westminster Abbey in February 1421. In June 1421, Henry returned to France to continue his campaigns.

By this time, Katherine was several months pregnant and gave birth to Prince Henry on December 6, 1421 at Windsor. The boy and his father would never see each other. During the siege of Meaux, Henry V contracted some sort of illness and died on August 31, 1422, just before he would have turned 35 years old. Katherine was not quite 21 and was left a widow and Dowager Queen of England.

Charles VI died a couple of months after Henry V, which made the young Henry VI king of both England and France. Katherine doted on her young son during his early childhood.

However, Katherine was still young and might wish to remarry, which was of concern to the Protector, the king's uncle, Henry Duke of Gloucester. In the Parliament of 1427-8, a bill was introduced setting the rules for the remarriage of a Queen Dowager. The bill stated that if the Queen and a new husband married without the King's consent, the husband would lose his lands and possessions, although any children from the marriage would still be members of the royal family and would not suffer punishment. Another rule was that the king's permission could only be granted once he had reached his majority. At the time the bill was written, the king was only six years old.

Katherine lived in the king's household, presumably so she could care for her young son, but it also carried the benefit that the councillors could watch over the Queen herself.

Despite all of this, Katherine did remarry in secret, sometime in 1431 or 1432. Her new husband was Owen ap Maredudd ap Tudur of Wales. Somewhere at this time, the Queen stopped living in the King's household and in May 1432 Parliament granted Owen the rights of an Englishman. This was important because of Henry IV's laws limiting the rights of Welshmen.

There are many tales, most unsupported, of how Katherine and Own met. Owen was probably born in about 1400, and may have gone to war in the service of Henry V's steward Sir Walter Hungerford in 1421 in France. We don't know for sure what position Owen held when he met the Queen, but he was most likely keeper of the Queen's household or wardrobe.

Despite all the romantic embellishments by later writers, it seems that Owen and Katherine were attracted to one another and were legally married in the early 1430s. At some point, an English bookkeeper or scribe (possibly confused by the Welsh patronymic naming scheme) recorded Owen ap Maredudd ap Tudur as "Owen Tudor".

Owen and Katherine had at least four children, although their only known daughter died young(four named later in this article, three living to adulthood). Edmund, Jasper and Owen, the three sons born to the couple, were all born away from court.

Katherine entered Bermondsey Abbey, possibly seeking a cure for an illness that had troubled her for some time. She made her will just three days before her death on January 3, 1437. She now rests at Westminster Abbey in Henry V's Chantry Chapel.

After the Queen's death, Owen and Katherine's enemies decided to proceed against Owen for violating the the law of the remarriage of the Dowager Queen. Owen appeared before the Council, acquitting himself of all charges and was released. On his way back to Wales, he was arrested and his possessions seized. He tried to escape from Newgate jail in early 1438 and eventually ended up at Windsor Castle in July of that year.

Meanwhile, Owen and Katherine's two older sons, Edmund and Jasper, were sent to live with Katherine de la Pole, who was abbess of Barking and sister to the Earl of Suffolk. Sometime after 1442, the King (their half-brother) took a role in their upbringing. Owen, their father, was eventually released on £2000 bail, but was pardoned in November 1439 (and the bail canceled in 1440). Owen was treated well afterwards and was in the household of the King until the mid-1450s.

econd marriage

. In 1428, Parliament reacted to the rumours about this relationship by forbidding Queens Dowager from marrying without the King's permission. Nevertheless, Catherine and Owen defied this law by marrying secretly, most probably in 1431-32 (see R.A. Griffiths "The Reign of King Henry VI" pp.60-62), and are recorded as having at least 6 children together:

*Owen Tudor (1429-1501). He was a monk at Westminster.
*Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond (1430 - November 1, 1456), married Lady Margaret Beaufort. Father of King Henry VII.
*Jasper Tudor, 1st Duke of Bedford (1431 - December 21/26, 1495), married Katherine Woodville, daughter to Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers and Jacquetta of Luxembourg. No issue. He did have two illegitimate children.
*Jacina Tudor (1433 - 1469).
*Daughter Mary Tudor born (1432). She married Thomas Gray (1430-1501); they had a daughter Jane Gray (1475-1509)--Note: This was an earlier "Mary Tudor" than Henry VIII's sister; and an earlier Jane Gray with different spelling of last name, than the 16th-century Lady Jane Grey. Jane Gray b. 1475, had a daughter Jane Mercer, and a granddaughter Jane Wilkinson. Ref. below: OneWorld Tree of ancestry.com
*Daughter Tudor. (born c. 1435) She became a nun.
*Margaret (Katherine) Tudor (born January 1437). Died young.

Death and burial

Catherine died on January 3, 1437, shortly after childbirth, in London, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Her second husband, Owen Tudor, was arrested on unspecified charges shortly after her death, but later released. He lived until 1461, when he was executed by the Yorkists following the Battle of Mortimer's Cross. Their sons were given Earldoms by Catherine's son King Henry VI. Edmund married a lady of Royal descent with their son eventually becoming King Henry VII.

The wooden funeral effigy which was carried at her funeral still survives at Westminster Abbey and is on display at the Undercroft Museum. Her tomb originally boasted an alabaster memorial, which was deliberately destroyed during extensions to the abbey in the reign of her grandson, Henry VII. It has been suggested that Henry ordered her memorial to be removed to distance himself from his common ancestry. At this time, her coffin lid was accidentally raised, revealing her corpse, which for generations became a tourist attraction. In 1669 the diarist Samuel Pepys kissed the long-deceased queen on his birthday:Catherine's remains were not properly re-interred until the reign of Queen Victoria.

Ancestry

External links

*Mary Tudor b. 1432: With sourced Ancestry of Owen Tudor, as daughter of Owen Tudor and Catherine De Valois; and Mary Tudor's daughter Jane Gray lived 1475-1509, earlier Jane than Jane Grey who was daughter of the later Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII) at http://trees.ancestry.com/pt/person.aspx?tid=3071280&pid=-1716367594

*Heidi Murphy [http://www.britannia.com/history/biographies/catherine_valois.html Catherine of Valois (1401-1437)]

References

Historical fiction

*Catherine of Valois is the subject of Rosemary Hawley Jarman's novel "Crown in Candlelight" (1978)
*In the book, "The Queen's Secret" by Jean Plaidy, Catherine is the title character.
*William Shakespeare's play "Henry V" depicts Catherine of Valois' marriage to Henry V of England after the Battle of Agincourt.
*Dedwydd Jones' novel, published in 2002, [http://www.dedwyddjones.co.uk/books.htm "The Lily and the Dragon"] , tells the story of Owain Tudor and Catherine of Valois.

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