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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 140



When Henry the Third and Prince Edward were taken prisoners at the hattle of Lewes, fought on the fourteenth of May, 1264, Eleanora of Castile resided at Windsor Castle ; hut as that fortress had fallen into the hands of the ambitious Leicester, she, by the desire of King Ilenry, removed with her offspring from thence to the Palace at Westminster, where she remained till the victory of Evesham restored the royal family of England to their former dignity, when she returned to Windsor Castle, and, in July, 1266, gave birth to her eldest son, John. Peace being restored to the kingdom, Prince Edward, who was ever forward at a tilting match, led the life of a knight errant, wandering from county to county to display his chivalric powers and skill at the numerous tournaments given by the English barons, He, however, was soon induced to exchange the gay trappings of the tournay-tilter for the cross of the Crusader. Hopeless as wras the cause of the Christians in the Holy Land, on the preaching of the ninth and last crusade, in 1268, St. Louis of France, the heir of England, and numerous others of royal and noble lineage, answered the summons of the Sovereign Pontiff, and proceeded against the Painim in Palestine. Being impoverished by the previous civil wars, Edward mortgaged the revenues of Bourdeaux to the French King for thirty thousand marks, which are set down in his agreement as being for " ships, horses, provisions, our passage, and all other matters which this our expedition against the infidels in the Holy Land may require." Having resolved to take with him his loving consort, he assigned the guardianship of his children, the care of the succession, and the administration of the kingdom, in the event of King Henry's death during his absence, to his uncle, Iiichard, King of the Romans. As governors of his castles, and protectors of his lands, he named the Archbishop of York, Roger Mortimer, and Philip Basset. Previous to leaving England, Eleanora, accompanied by her mother-in-law, the Queen, paid a visit to the most venerated shrines in the country. To that of St. Peter she gave a rich altar-cloth of baudekin, in gratitude for the recovery of her children from a severe illness ; and, on her return to Westminster, the barons swore fealty to her infant son, Prince John, as successor to the English crown, should Edward die in the ensuing crusade. The friends of Eleanora endeavoured in vain to prevail on her to relinquish the idea of accompanying her husband on his hazardous enterprise to the deathdoing coasts of Asia. " Nothing," said the faithful Princess, '£ should part those whom God hath j oincd: besides, the road to heaven is as short and smooth from Palestine as from England, and I should little, indeed, deserve to bo the wife of the brave Prince Edward, did I desert him at such a time." In 1268, Elcanora's second son, Prince Henry, was born. The place of his birth is nowhere recorded, but as, at that period, Windsor Castle was the nursery of the infant hopes of England, it doubtless took place there. Early in 1270, Eleanora embarked for Bourdeaux, where she superintended the preparations for the crusade. About a month later, Edward, who had wisely tarried in England to distinguish his departure by acts of grace and popularity, sailed from Portsmouth, and joined his consort at Bourdeaux, whence they journeyed together to Aigucs Morte, where the Duke of Brittany, Edward's brotherin-law, awaited their arrival with a powerful Breton fleet. Having arranged with St. Louis of France, in the first onset, to make a simultaneous attack on the Bey of Tunis, who had refused to pay the customary tribute to the King of Sicily, Edward embarked with his wife and a host of brave warriors for that coast, in May, 1270. On reaching Tunis, Edward and Eleanora found that St. Louis had already arrived there, and reduced the Moors to subjection ; they, therefore, retired to Sicily, to spend the winter. Here they had scarcely landed, when they received the mournful intelligence of the death of St. Louis, by a deadly epidemic which had broken out in the French army, and


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