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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 122



desire, to accompany her royal lord in 1 the crusade, he delayed making- prepa-1 rations for the undertaking, and pre-I tending that he had not raised a sum sufficient to cover its expenses, extracted twenty marks of gold from the city of London, and convoking a parliament, demanded aid from them, liut as both the: clergy and the barons viewed the crusade as a fiction, invented by him to filch them of their money, they sent a deputation of the bishops to remonstrate with him upon his extravagance and misrule. Having listened to the lecture with politeness, Henry answered, " True, I have been in error. I have made im{iroper promotions. I obtruded you, my irrd of Canterbury, upon your see. It was only by employing threats and persuasions, my lord of Winchester, that I procured your election ; and irregular, indeed, was my conduct, my lords of Salisbury and Carlisle, when, from your lowly stations, I exalted you to your present dignity. However, my lords, you may tell the parliament, that I am ready and willing to assist them in redressing the wrongs and grievances of which they so bitterly complain." On receiving this message, the parliament granted the King a tenth of the ecclesiastical benefices, and a seutage of three marks upon each knight's fee ; and on the eighteenth of May, 1253, the reluctant monarch, for the third time, ratified the great charters with the solemn ceremony of bell, book, and candle. The ceremony was performed in the palace at Westminster. All the lords spiritual and temporal were present, and bore in their hands lighted tapers. The King emphatically agreed in the awful curse invoked by the Archbishop of Canterbury upon any violation of his oath. Tho two charters were then read aloud and confirmed by Henry, who placed his hand on his heart, in token of the sincerity of his intentions, after which, every one flung his taper upon the ground, and loudly exclaimed, " May whoever violates the charters thus smoke in hell !" The solemn farce ended, Henry re solved to expend the money his hypo crisy had obtained, in quelling the Gascons, who, taking advantage of the recall of Leicester, and the misrule of hia successor, the youthful Prince Henry, had raised the standard of revolt. Prior to his embarkation for Gascony, at Portsmouth, on the sixth of August, Henry conferred the regency of the kingdom on his beloved Eleanora, and his brother, Earl Richard. The regal power was vested in Eleanora, but her royal lord charged her to follow the discreet council of her brother-in-law ; and although the great seal was delivered to the custody of the Queen, it was sealed up in its casket with the King's privy seal, and Earl Richard's signets. It is worthy of remark, that besides exercising the functions of a sovereign, Eleanora took her seat in the King's Bench as a judge. " The Queen," says Madox, " was cmtos regni, and sat vice regis." On the twenty-third of November, Eleanora gave birth to her daughter, Catherine, in Westminster Palace. The Princess, who was born deaf and dumb, was extremely beautiful, but being delicate, she died in the fourth year of her age. Her remains were interred in Westminster Abbey, close to those of her brothers, Richard and John, the third and fourth sons of Henry and Eleanora, who had died in their infancy. Her parents performed her obsequies with great splendour, and as a memorial of their affection for their beloved little dumb girl, erected over her tomb her effigy in silver. The following amusing items are extracted from the entries of the Queen's private expenses. Eor making a dress for Eleanora, eightpence ; one ornamented with six dozen gold buttons, for the Princess Beatrice, then about ten years old, fourpence j a pair of gloves for Prince Edmund, sixpence ; a pair of boots for tho Prince, one shilling ; two pairs of shoes for Beatrice, tenpence. About this time, the Queen presented Beatrice with a mirror, which cost sevenpence, a knife entered at three shillings, and a well-trained palfrey, which cost the extravagant sum of six marks. The Queen's household expenses were about eight marks per day, with an additional seven or eight shillings for alms.


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