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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 280



put an abrupt termination to important public business. From the period when Henry was placed under the dominion of Alice Boteler, Katherine appears to have retired from court, and, with one solitary exception, never to have interfered either with his private or public affairs. This exception was, when, in 1425, the Queens of France and England and the Regent were requested to prevent the duel between tbe Dukes of Gloucester and Burgundy. "Whether it was through the influence of Katherine, or otherwise, is nowhere recorded; but certain it is that by a council at Paris, it was decreed that the challenge bad been given without a sufficient cause, and the duel was never fought. In tbe same year, Raynard's Castle, London, then a splendid mansion, where the late Earl of March had resided, was granted by Henry the Sixth to Katherine to hold and to keep during the minority of the Duke of York, on condition of keeping the buildings and gardens in good preservation at her own private cost. From this period till her death our information respecting Katherine the Fair is scanty in the extreme. She lived in great retirement, and disgraced herself by privately marrying Owen Tudor, a needy but remarkably handsome Welsh gentleman, by whom she had three sons : Edmund, afterwards father of Henry the Seventh, Jasper, and Owen.* The time of the birth of these children has not been chronicled, nor is the date of Katherine's second marriage known ; indeed, most historians assure us that it was never formally acknowledged; and this seems probable, as in 1418, the Protector, on learning that Katherine was about to bestow her hand on a knight of mean birth, caused an act of parliament to be passed, by which, to marry a queen dowager without the King's license, was made an offence punishable with the forfeiture of lands and goods. * Henry afterwards acknowledged these sons of Katherine for brothers, and created Edmund, Earl of Richmond, and Jasper, Earl of Pembroke. Owen, the youngest, lived and died a monk in the Abbey of Westminster. Of Tudor himself but little is known. By some accounts his father was a brewer, by others he was a descendant from the celebrated Cadwaladr. After lighting under the brave Owen Glendower, be performed deeds of valour in the battle of Agincourt, for which Henry the Fifth made him an esquire. It was whilst serving as a guard at Windsor Castle, when Katherine resided there, with her son, the infant King, that he won her heart. Once before, and once after her death, he broke out from Newgate, wThere he had been confined, probably, for the crime he bad committed in marrying her. After this, he was suffered to bo at large, —made keeper of the King's parks in Denbigh, in Wales; and, at length, whilst bravely battling for his royal son-in-law, ho was taken by the Earl of March in tho fiercely-contested encounter of Mortimer's Cross, and with several other Lancastrian prisoners, beheaded by the Yorkists, in Hereford market-place, in February, 1461. In 1436 Katherine retired to the Abbey of Bermondsey; but whether as a place of refugo or restraint is unknown. However, as her marriage with Tudor was never acknowledged at court, it appears probable that, to escape the vengeance of the powerful Duke of Gloucester, she placed herself under the protection of his bitter enemy, the Bishop of Winchester, who exercised episcopal jurisdiction over the Abbey of Bcrmondscy, and who, we are assured, at this period treated the Queen Dowager with the greatest kindness and respect. Be this as it may, Katherine's health declined from the moment she entered Bermondsey Abbey ; and at length, after several months' severe suffering, she breathed her last within the walls of her cloistered asylum, on the third of January, 1437. Whilst languishing in the icy arms of death, she received from the King, her son, a costly tablet of gold, whereon was a cross, set with sapphires and pearls, as a new-year's gift ; a tolerable proof, that although his mother seldom or never visited court, and was not present at either of his coronations, the kind


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