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


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 159

Dublin to Henry the Third, Duke of Bar. This Duke Henry ruled over an extensive province, which being situate on the boundary of France and Germany, the feudal superiority over it was claimed both by the French and Germans, and on that account Edward viewed its Duke as a valuable ally, as in times of war he could, with an appearance of consistency, Bide either with France or Germany, as circumstances suited. Shortly after her marriage, which took place at Bristol, Eleanora proceeded until her husband to tho continent, where, after giving birth to a son, in 1294, christened Edward, followed by that of a daughter, named Joanna, she died in 1298. By the desire of her father, Edward the First, her remains were brought to England, and solemnly entombed in Westminster Abbey. The Princess Joanna, whose marriage with the Earl of Gloucester has already been mentioned, brought her loving lord three children, Gilbert, Margaret, and Elizabeth. Her husband died on the seventh of December, 1295, and as her marriage had been one of policy, not choice, his loss occasioned her but little grief, and she shortly afterwards resolved upon a match dictated solely by tho sentiments of her own heart. Amongst her numerous retinue was a young handsome chivalrie esquire, named Italph Monthcrmer. With this esquire she became deeply enamoured, and he, encouraged by her conduct, offered her his heart, an offer which she accepted with such eagerness, that the happy pair were privately married early in January, 1297, little more than a twelvemonth after the death of the Earl of Gloucester. This being the first instance of a clandestine marriage in the royal house of Plantagenet, the King, on hearing of it, became exceedingly wrathful. " Can it be possible !" he exclaimed, 11 bitterly, a Princess, and the first Countess in England, wedded of her own free will to a simple esquire ? By St. Mary ! she lias fixed a stain on her mighty family, too black for the hand of time to wipe out, should the world endure for a million of centuries." Then ordering that the lands, goods, and chattels, of the too wilful Joanna should be instantly seized, and that her captivator, Monthermer, should himself he made captive, with Bristol Castle for his home, and a stern jailor for his partner, he rushed into his private chamber more mad than sane. A few days afterwards, Joanna was permitted an interview with her deeplyoffended parent ; when, throwing herself at his feet, she, with an art such as only woman can compass, implored forgiveness for herself, and her despised husband. After many earnest appeals, she concluded,—• " True, sire, we have erred, grossly erred, but the knot cannot be untiea. And oh, if you: knew how sincerely we loved, and with what unbounded joy, what earnest gratitude we would welcome your smiles, your good heart would forgive the past, and cheer the futuro of your dej ected, supplicating daughter, and the man of her heart's choice." Edward, whose indignation was invariably dispelled by submission, was moved to tears by this appeal, and in half-forgiving tones, exclaimed :— "What! overlook conduct such as never before disgraced the annals of European royalty ! Countess, is your request reasonable ? " " Sire," replied Joanna, in gentle, persuasive accents, " I only ask that boon for a daughter which you would readily grant to a son. How many princes and great earls have taken to wife poor, mean women ? Surely, then, a Princess, possessed with an abundance of wealth, might be permitted to honour, by marriage, a chivalrous youth, whose only crime is poverty?" This answer so completely appeased the King's wrath, that the union of the loving pair was immediately recognized at court. Joanna was pardoned, and received back the lands and property which had been taken from her in the king's name, and Monthermer was released from imprisonment, permitted to live with his spouse, and to assume the title of Earl of Gloucester and Hertford ;

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