Duchess Eleanor England PEMBROKE
- Born: 1215, Winchester, Hampshire, England
- Married (1): 23 Apr 1224
- Married (2): Abt 7 Jan 1237-1238, Chapel, St Stephen, Westminster, London, Middlesex, England
- Died: 13 Apr 1274-1275, Montargis, Loiret, France
- Buried: Montargis, Loiret, France
Another name for Eleanor was PEMBROKE Duchess.
Ancestral File Number: 8WKP-JJ.
Duchess of PEMBROKE.
Kings and Queens of Great Britain, Genealogical Chart, Anne Taute and Romilly Squire, Taute, 1990: "Eleanor, Mar =1 (2) William Marshal Earl of Pembroke, =2 Simon De Montfort Earl of Leicester, Died 1275."
A History of the Plantagenets, Vol II, The Magnificent Century, Thomas B Costain, 1951, Doubleday & Co, p14:
"Before John had set out on his last campaign he had sent all his children saving Henry, the heir, to Corfe for safekeeping...The two youngest daugthers were there also: Isabella, who would marry the Emperor of Germany, and the baby of the family, little Princess Eleanor.Although still in her first year, Eleanor was showing signs already of having inherited some at least of the enchanting beauty of her mother, Queen Isabella. She was an engaging and willful child and a general favorite. Keep her in mind, this little Princess Eleanor: she will play an active part in the drama of the next fifty years..."
p20: "Eleanor, Born 1215, Died 1274, Married 1st William Marshal Earl of PEMBROKE 1224, 2nd Simon De MONTFORT Earl of LEICESTER 1239..."
p117: "King Henry was very fond of William the second and offered his youngest sister, Princess Eleanor, to him in marriage. Mention has already been made of Eleanor, when as an infant of one year she had been at Corfe Castle with the Pearl of Brittany as well as her own brothers and sisters. She was now about seven years old and a very pretty girl, more attractive even than her oldest sister Joanna, who was Queen of Scotland and noted for her beauty and her wonderful disposition. She was a young lady with a mind of her own and a foot to stamp when things did not suit her. It was already evident that she would grow up into a woman of individuality and character as well as beauty.
"The King's offer created immediate opposition. The members of the Council wanted to find a royal husband for the little princess. As a matter of principle also they were against allowing any more commoners to take wives of royal blood. William himself did not think well of the idea;he would have to wait too long for his wife to grow up. Henry persisted, and so in due course the match was arranged. When Eleanor was ten years of age the ceremony was performed, but it was not until five years later, at which time William wasin his middle forties, that the marriage was consummated.
"It will be recalled that the first William had married the heiress of Pembroke when he was about the same age and she was in her teens. That had been a most successful marriage, and there was every reason to believe that the union of their son with the princess would have turned out equally well. Eleanor was deeply in love with the tall and handsome marshal. She had fulfilled her early promise and was now a very great beauty indeed. During the brief term of married life which fate allowed them she went everywhere with him, riding by his side when he hunted, sitting with him when he transacted business. She would have gone with him to the wars in France if that had been allowed.
"William died with tragic suddenness at the end of one year of complete happiness with his high-spirited bride. He had returned from France and had seen his sister Isabella married to Richard of Cornwall, his great friend, and had seemed in good health. Three days later he was dead. History records nothing of his death except the abruptness of it, and it can only be assumed, therefore, that some inner disorder was the cause. His bride of sixteen was so overcome with grief that she was sure everything worth while in life had come to an end. She took an oath never to wed again (a dramatic manifestation of the intensity of her grief which would cause much trouble later) and contemplated entering a nunnery for the rest of her life..."
p190: "...On the evening of January 7, 1238, to be exact, it was apparent that there was some unusual activity afoot in the King's chapel...An air of secrecy was being maintained. All members of teh royalretinue were elsewhere, even the Queen...There were servants about, in fact, to bar the way if any curious souls attempted to see what it was all about. Only three people were admitted, and one of these was King Henry himself.
"...He was carrying out a little conspiracy at the expense of his Council and all his bishops and the nobility of England, and this pleased him mightily. He was pleased even though it was clear to him that there would be trouble about it. His reaslizationof the certain consequences is evidenced by the fact that he had not dared take the Queen into his confidence.
"The other two were Simon de Montfort and Henry's youngest sister, Eleanor, his favorite sister, in fact. The young widow who, as it will be recalled, had been so heartbroken over the death of her first husband, William of Pembroke, that she had sworn an oath of perpetual widowhood had developed into a woman of great beauty and charm. a slender and vital young creaturewith dark hair and the bluest of Plantagenet eyes. She had regretted almost from the first the impulsive manifestation of her youthful grief which had bound her, in a sense at least, to the Church. Certainly she had regretted it from the moment her eyes had rested on the dark and expressive face of the tall young Norman. The mutual attraction between them had deepened rapidly into a love which would continue throughout their lives, unchanged by swift alterations of fortune, never wavering when political considerations aligned them against the royal family.
"How the consent of the King had been obtained to their union is a matter of conjecture, of course, but the reasons for secrecy in the matter are quite plain. No member of the royal family was supposed to wed without the consent of the Council, and Henry had known only too well the storm which would have been evoked if he had told his barons he intended to give his lovely sister to a man so newly attached to his service, a commoner, moreover, who had not yet given any proof of special merit or unquestioned loyalty. There was also, of course, the matter of that vow. Henry had a well-grounded suspicion that the church leaders were going to raisea whirlwind of protest about his ears.
"It was typical of the King to decide under these circumstances that the marriage of his well-loved sister and his new friend should be solemnized anyway and to hold the services privately. Let the news get out later! Trouble in the future held no terrors for Henry: it could be met when it came, and in the meantime let the vows be exchanged...He entered into the proceedings with a light heart. `Himself he placed his sister's hand in the earl's' and he knelt with the newly wed couple when Walter said mass over them.
"The marriage of a royal princess under such romantic circumstances, with the King himself playing the part of a stealthy cupid, could not be kept secret long, and so the storm was quick in breaking. It raged about the King, the bitterest protests coming, as had been expected, from churchmen. Eleanor had not taken the veil and since the death of her husband she had lived much at court, where she was ageneral favorite. The rest of the time had been spent at her own castle of Odiham, where she kept a miniature court of her own and maintained a normal and gay life. Still, she had taken the vow of chastity, and it was the opinion of all churchmen that the placing of the ring on her finger had bound her indissolubly to Christ. The archbishop declared at once that the marriage was not valid. The barons joined in, adding as it were the rumble of secular anger to the treble of priestly disapproval. The objections of the laity were on two grounds: they had not been consulted and they were against the giving of such a supreme favor to a man of foreign birth. Richard of Cornwall was bitterly incensed and acted as spokesman for the nobility. Was this the result, he demanded to know, of all his brother's promises that he removed his own countrymen from the Council, to replace them by aliens, that he deigned not to ask the assistance of his constitutional advisers before bestowing his wards in marriage on whomsoever her would?
"The news spread throughout the country, and there was an almost univeral chorus of angry dissent. The barons were on the point of an armed uprising. London was filled with talk of intervention. Henry had known the wedding would stir up criticism, but he had not reckoned on anything like this. He was bewildered and frightened and at the same time angry that he had been involved- innocently, he thought- in so much trouble.In his mind already he was blaming his sister and the man of her choice. In an almost abject mood he promised to have some form of arbitration of the matter, although what results might be expected from such a course was not very clear.
"The bridegroom was more realistic in the steps he took to counter the storm. He sought out Richard of Cornwall, with whom he had always been on friendly terms, and won him over by letting him see how much Eleanor's happiness had depended on themarriage. The princess was a radiant bride and ready to fight Church and State, Westminster and London and Canterbury and the whole nation if necessary, for the content she was finding in the union. The King's brother withdrew his objections. Since they lacked his support, the wrath of the barons fizzled out in a flurry of words.
"Simon then demonstrated his sound political sense. He collected as much gold as he could from tenants and friends and set off hurriedly for Rome to get a confirmation of the marriage from the Pope. Henry did what he could by writing to the Pontiff that his dear brother and faithful servant, Simon de Montfort, was desirous of discussing matters touching his honor. Whether it was the groom's great gift for negotiation or the support he stirred up in the Curia by the judicious use of his gold, the result was that the Pope promised to pronounce sentence in his favor through his legate in England. The promise was carried out.
"Simon de Montfort returned to England in a jubilant frame of mind over the success of his mission. He went at once to his castle of Kenilworth. In this immense stronghold, which covered eleven acres with its mighty walls, he had left his young wife. He was in time for the arrival of his first child, a son, who was given the name of Henry. The winds had veered to a favorable direction and the royal weathercock had swung with them. The King not only acquiesced in the use of his name but acted as godfather of the child..."
p195: "The marriage of Simon and Eleanor, in spite of temperamental disagreements, may be termed one of the great romances of the century. There can be no doubt that the princess was deeply in love with her commoner husband. She clung to him through thick and thin, through poverty and exile, a passionately devoted wife. Simon could not have failed of a corresponding devotion. Eleanor was hard to resist, a beauty even in this day of great pulchritude among the daughters of ruling families, coquettish, willful, capricious, in all her moods charming. She came to her second marriage with the faults still of a childhood during which she had been a general favorite. Love of fine clothes was a passion with her, and she spent much of her time in the adornment of her person and the dressing of her fine hair. She seems to have been subject to gusts of anger which were soon over. Adam Marsh, who wrote to her freely as he did to her husband, took her to task sometimes for this tendency to fly into tempers as well as for the extravagant taste she showed in matters of dress. In one note he urged her to `display all your industry and tact in putting an end to these irritatingdisputes.' The troubles which had evoked this piece of advice were not entirely of Eleanor's making, for their mentor proceeded to explain that by her sweetness and good advice she should be able to bring Simon to more prudent conduct. The quarrels of the lovers whose marriage had set all England by the ears were never serious and may be considered to have been no more than the salt of a happily wedded life.
"Simon and his princess bride had, nevertheless, plenty to disturb them. Eleanor brought an intricately involved mass of assets and debts instead of a proper dower, largely because the Marshal family had not yet been sufficiently pressed to return the estates with which she had been endowed at the time of her first marriage. She had an annual income of four hundred pounds for which she had bartered her share of the Irish holdings of the acquisitive Marshals; a most one-sided arrangement which Henry should never have approved. Simon's position remained one of intense pecuniary difficulty. Naturally the extravagant habits of Eleanor made things worse...
"...She became a good chatelaine and managed her end of this gigantic establishment with some shrewdness. This is attested by a curious document which has, by the greatest good luck, survived down the centuries. It is called `The Household Roll of Eleanor, Countess of Leicester.' The countess took it with her to France when she had to flee England near the end of her life. As she spent the rest of her days at the nunnery of Montargis, it is probable that the manuscript was kept in the archives there. Five hundred years later it was discovered and taken back to England, to provide an authentic picture of the life of agreat castle in the thirteenth century.
"It does more than that, however: it offers to the imagination an enticing picture of the daughter of the royal house playing the part of wife and domestic manager. Back of the precise items about food and drink and the prices thereof one sees the figure of Eleanor proceeding about her tasks, her assistants following at her heels with much jingling of keys and swishing of baskets...
"The Roll deals with the humble details of everydaylife and most particularly with costs...
"Eleanor was temperamental and no doubt a little giddy, but the existence of the Roll is all the proof needed that she endeavoted to meet her responsibilities in a thorough way.
p201: "Following the birth of a child it was customary for the mother, after a specified period of purification, to go publicly to church and return thanks. On August 9, 1239, Simon de Montfort and Elanor, his wife, came to London for the ceremony of the Queen's churching.
"The young countess was in glowing health. Her own son Henry, who had been born eleven months after the secret marriage, thereby setting to rest (or so they thought) certain malicious rumors which had been going about, was now eight months old and a fine, healthy boy..."
p202: "...They were surprised, therefore, and most unpleasantly shocked to be received with angry looks when they put in an appearance at Westminster during the evening before the churching.The King indulged in a tirade of reproach...Simon, he declared, was excommunicate. What effrontery was this, that he dared to come into the royal presence?...
"`You seduced my sister!' he charged. The habit of losing all restraint and permitting himself to say anything that came into his head had been growing with the years. Perhaps not fully aware of the effect his statement would have, but certainly not concerned, he proceeded at once to enlarge on it. `To avoid scandal I gavemy consent to the marriage, in my own despite. You went to Rome and corrupted the Curia most wrongfully in my name.'
"Having thus with a few furious words tarnished beyond any repair the good name of the sister who had always been his favorite, the vitriolic King went on to demonstrate that anger over the matter of the Mauclerc debt..."
"...As soon as night feel the Earl of Leicester and his wife, accompanied by a small party of their people, took boat again on the Thamesand made off quietly down the river. They went to France and took up residence there.
"Was there any truth in the charge of incontinence which Henry had made against his sister? It was widely believed at the time, if for no other reason than because the King himself had made it. It has been given little felief since. The date of the birth of Eleanor's first child seems to be the only proof needed that it was a libel. A sorry impression is left of the charracter of the King whenhis statement is brushed aside. He had idly and falsely, in a moment of petty passion, laid this shame on a sister who had been a lifetime favorite...
"Richard of Cornwall was organizing a party of English knights to go to the Crusades, and Simon was pledged to take the cross with him...He did not leave with Richard of Cornwall but went first to get Eleanor, who was insisting on accompanying him as far as possible. They traveled together to Brindisi, where the German Emperor, perhaps on prompting from his consort, who was Eleanor's older sister, had loaned for her use a huge echoing stone palace overlooking the sea. Here she stayed with her small staff of servants, her mind filled with the dangers her husband was encountering in the East..."
p248: "Had Simon de Montfort been actuated by ambition he would have seen a much better role for himself than that of leader of the opposition. A strong man acting under Henry in accord with the Provisions would have been the solution acceptable to the mind of the age instead of a continuation of the struggle to its inevitable end- the extinction of royal power or the final defeat of the barons. It would not have been a difficult matter for Simon to slipinto the spot once occupied by Hubert de Burgh. His wife would have favored a reconciliation and might have served as the go-between. Henry was in a sufficiently desperate frame of mind to respond, provided he himself retained all the semblance of kingship and could be assured of relief from the mortifying difficulities in which he wallowed..."
p253: "It was in some such manner that he discussed with the members of the council of twelve the peace he had made with Henry of England. It had taken a long time to negotiate this treaty which was hopefully believed to have made everlasting peace possible between the two countries. The main reason for the protracted nature of the discussion had been an obstructive attitude on the part of Simon de Montfort and his wife. Eleanor, now a mature but still beautiful woman, was not content to have her claims to land in France brushed aside and lost for all time. Henry had never gone to the trouble of reclaiming her dowryin full from the Marshals after the death of her first husband, and this had been a bitter bone of contention between them. If Henry wanted to have the treaty signed and sealed, then let him remedy the neglect of so many years: thus, Eleanor,and it is impossible to blame her for it. In this stand she had the firm and emphatic backing of her husband. Louis, for his part, refused to ratify a treaty which left any unsettled slaims to rise up and vex him in the future. With glowering reluctance Henry had agreed finally to allow his sister the sum of fifteen thousand marks out of the funds that Louis would pay him, a small enough settlement. The treaty had then been drawn up and signed with great pomp and circumstance.
"Henry renounced for all thim his claims to Normandy, Poitou, and the Plantagenet possessions of Anjou and Maine. He was to retain Gascony and to receive by way of compensation lower Saintonge, the province of Angenais, the lands of Quercy, andthe dioceses of Cahors, Perigueux, and Limoges, for all of which he would do homage to Louis..."
p303: "Then there was Eleanor de Montfort. The sister of the King was to demonstrate in these violent and eventful months that although she took her looks from her beautiful mother she was all Plantagenet in character. She had the decision and resolution which Henry so conspicuously lacked, and these qualities she was now to have an opportunity of displaying. The princess wife of thepopular leader appears to rare advantage in the climactic stages..."
p327: "...[Edward] had arranged the departure for France of Eleanor de Montfort and her two youngest sons, Amauri and Richard. His treatment of the widow of the slain leader had been most considerate, and he had promised to see that the members of her household were restored to their homes, a promise he did not fail to carry out, sending written instructions in the matter and referring to the unfortunate ladyas `my dear aunt'..."
p336: "Eleanor hired French ships to carry her furniture and personal belongings across the Channel, fearing that she would never see England again. The vessels were attacked by pirates and everything of value was taken, so that the once proud princess arrived in France in a destitute condition. She went finally to the Dominican convent of Montargis. It was not, however, to a quiet and contemplative life that she resigned herself. Her spirit refused to be subdued by disaster. From her retreat she sent a continuous stream of demands to her brother and later to Edward...Henry had banished her from England forever and from this decision he would not depart, but he finally agreed to allow her a pension from her dower lands, amounting to five hundred pounds a year..."
"Eleanor, her pertubed spirit never at rest, spent the balance of her life at Montargis...
"The unhappy countess died in the spring of 1275, and only Amauri and the Demoiselle were with her. It was a sad ending for the once gay and always ambitious sister of the English King. It had been her hope to establish a dynasty, to see her handsome and virile sons in high places and her beautiful daughter on a throne of her own; and it had come to this, only two of her brilliant progeny beside the narrow cot on which her last hours were spent, the austere walls of her cell close about them. Her will divided the sum of six hundred pounds between the surviving children, all that was left of her great fortune."
The Political History of England 1216-1377, Vol III, T F Tout, AMS Press, 1905,
p23: "Powerful husbands were sought for the king's three sisters, the great William Marshal, whose eldest son and successor, William Marshal the younger, was in 1224 married to the king's third sister, Eleanor. The policy of inter- marriage between the royal family and the baronage was defended by the exam- ple of Philip Augustus in France, andon the ground of the danger to the royal interests if so strong a magnate as the earl marshal were enticed away from his allegiance by an alliance with a house unfriendly to Henry..."
p105: "... Earl Simon's wife Eleanor and her children refused to waive their very remote claims to a share in Norman and Angevin inheritances, whic He sought out Richard of Che second and offered his youngest sister, Princess Eleanor, to him in marriage. Mention has already been...
Ancestral File Ver 4.10 8WKP-JJ.
Eleanor married Earl William Marshal PEMBROKE, Jr, son of Earl William Marshall PEMBROKE, Sr and Countess Isabel De Clare PEMBROKE, on 23 Apr 1224. (Earl William Marshal PEMBROKE, Jr was born in May 1198 in Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, Wales, died on 11 Apr 1231 and was buried on 15 Apr 1231 in Temple Church, London, Middlesex, England.)
Eleanor also married Simon De MONTFORT, V, son of Count Simon De Montfort TOULOUSE, IV and Alice De MONTMORENCY, about 7 Jan 1237-1238 in Chapel, St Stephen, Westminster, London, Middlesex, England. (Simon De MONTFORT, V was born about 1208 in Montfort, Ile-De-France, France, died on 4 Aug 1265 in Battle, Evesham, Worcestershire, England and was buried in Abbey, Evesham, Worcestershire, England.)