Margaret of France, Queen of England
Margaret of France was Queen of England as the second wife of King Edward I. She was a daughter of Philip III of Maria of Brabant, her father died when she was three years old and she grew up under guidance of her mother and Joan I of Navarre, her half-brother King Philip IV's wife. The death of Edward's beloved first wife, Eleanor of Castile, at the age of 49 in 1290, left him reeling in grief. However, it was much to Edward's benefit to make peace with France to free him to pursue his wars in Scotland. Additionally, with only one surviving son, Edward was anxious to protect the English throne with additional heirs. In summer of 1291, the English king had betrothed his son and heir, the future Edward II, to Blanche, half-sister to the French King Philip IV, in order to achieve peace with France. However, hearing of her renowned beauty, Edward decided to have his son's bride for his own and sent emissaries to France. Philip agreed to give Blanche to Edward on the conditions that a truce would be concluded between the two countries, that Edward would give up the province of Gascony.
Edward agreed, sent his brother Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster, to fetch the new bride. Edward had been deceived, for Blanche was to be married to Rudolph, the eldest son of King Albert I of Germany. Instead, Philip offered her younger sister. Upon hearing this, Edward declared war on France. After five years, a truce was agreed upon under the influence of Pope Boniface VIII. A series of treaties in the first half of 1299 provided terms for a double marriage: Edward I would marry Margaret and his son would marry Isabella, Philip's only surviving daughter. Additionally, the English monarchy would regain the key territory of Guyenne and receive £15,000 owed to Margaret as well as the return of Eleanor of Castile's lands in Ponthieu and Montreuil as a dower first for Margaret, Isabella. Edward was 60 years old, at least 40 years older than his bride; the wedding took place at Canterbury on 10 September 1299. Margaret was never crowned due to financial constraints, being the first uncrowned queen since the Conquest.
This in no way lessened her dignity as the king's wife, for she used the royal title in her letters and documents, appeared publicly wearing a crown though she had not received one during a formal rite of investiture. Edward soon returned to the Scottish border to continue his campaigns and left Margaret in London, but she had become pregnant after the wedding. After several months and lonely, the young queen decided to join her husband. Nothing could have pleased the king more, for Margaret's actions reminded him of his first wife Eleanor, who had had two of her sixteen children abroad. In less than a year Margaret gave birth to a son, Thomas of Brotherton, named after Thomas Becket, since she had prayed to him during her pregnancy; the next year she gave birth to another son, Edmund. Many who fell under the king's wrath were saved from too stern a punishment by the queen's influence over her husband, the statement, Pardoned on the intercession of our dearest consort, queen Margaret of England, appears.
In 1305, the young queen acted as a mediator between her step-son and husband, reconciling the heir to his aging father, calming her husband's wrath. She was a benefactress of a new foundation at Newgate. Margaret employed the minstrel Guy de Psaltery and both she and her husband liked to play chess, she and her stepson, the future king Edward II became fond of each other: he once made her a gift of an expensive ruby and gold ring, she on one occasion rescued many of the prince's friends from the wrath of the King. The mismatched couple were blissfully happy; when Blanche died in 1305, Edward ordered all the court to go into mourning to please his queen. He had realised the wife he had gained was "a pearl of great price" as Margaret was respected for her beauty and piety; the same year Margaret gave birth to a girl, named in honour of Edward's first wife, a choice which surprised many, showed Margaret's unjealous nature. In 1307, Edward went on summer campaign to Scotland. Margaret accompanied him.
Edward died in Burgh by Sands. Margaret never remarried after Edward's death despite being only 26 when widowed, she was alleged to have stated that "when Edward died, all men died for me". Margaret was not pleased when Edward II elevated Piers Gaveston to become Earl of Cornwall upon his father's death, since the title had been meant for one of her own sons, she attended the new king's wedding to her half-niece, Isabella of France, a silver casket was made with both their arms. After Isabella's coronation, Margaret retired to Marlborough Castle, but she stayed in touch with the new queen and with her half-brother Philip IV by letter during the confusing times leading up to Gaveston's death in 1312. Margaret, was a victim of Gaveston's influence over her step-son. Edward II gave several of her dower lands including Berkhamsted Castle. In May 1308, an anonymous informer reported that Margaret had provided ₤40,000 along with Philip IV to support the English barons against Gaveston. Due to this action, Gaveston was exiled and Margaret remained unmolested by the upstart until his death in June 1312.
She was present at the birth of the future Edward III in November 1312. On 14 February 1318 she died in her castle at Marlborough. Dressed in a Franciscan habit, she was buried at Christ Church Greyfriars in London, a church she had generously endowed, her tomb, beautifully carved, was destroyed during the
Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster
Henry, 3rd Earl of Leicester and Lancaster was a grandson of King Henry III of England and was one of the principals behind the deposition of King Edward II, his first cousin. He was the younger son of Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster, Earl of Leicester, a son of King Henry III by his wife Eleanor of Provence. Henry's mother was Blanche of Queen Dowager of Navarre. Henry's elder brother Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, succeeded their father in 1296, but Henry was summoned to Parliament on 6 February 1298/99 by writ directed to Henrico de Lancastre nepoti Regis, by which he is held to have become Baron Lancaster, he took part in the Siege of Caerlaverock in July 1300. After a period of longstanding opposition to King Edward II and his advisors, including joining two open rebellions, Henry's brother Thomas was convicted of treason and had his lands and titles forfeited in 1322. Henry did not participate in his brother's rebellions. A few years shortly after his accession in 1327, the young Edward III of England returned the earldom of Lancaster to him, along with other lordships such as that of Bowland.
On the Queen's return to England in September 1326 with Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, Henry joined her party against King Edward II, which led to a general desertion of the king's cause and overturned the power of Hugh le Despenser, 1st Earl of Winchester, his namesake son Hugh the younger Despenser. He was captured the king at Neath in South Wales, he was appointed to take charge of the king and was responsible for his custody at Kenilworth Castle. Henry was appointed head of the regency council for the new king Edward III of England, was appointed captain-general of all the king's forces in the Scottish Marches, he was appointed Constable of Lancaster Castle and High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1327. He helped the young king to put an end to Mortimer's regency and tyranny had him declared a traitor and executed in 1330. In about the year 1330, he became blind. Henry spent the last fifteen years of his life at Leicester Castle. There he founded a hospital for the infirm in an extension of the castle bailey.
It became known as the Newarke, Henry was buried in the hospital chapel when he died in 1345. The king and queen attended his funeral, his son Henry of Grosmont, first Duke of Lancaster, had his father's remains moved to the collegiate Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady of the Newarke, which he had built when he enhanced his father's foundation. According to Jean Le Bel, he was nicknamed Wryneck, or Tors-col in French due to a medical condition. Froissart repeated that statement in his Chronicles, he was succeeded as Earl of Lancaster and Leicester by his eldest son, Henry of Grosmont, who subsequently became Duke of Lancaster. He married Maud Chaworth, before 2 March 1296/1297. Henry and Maud had seven children: Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster, Blanche of Lancaster, Baroness Wake of Liddell, married Thomas Wake, 2nd Baron Wake of Liddell Maud of Lancaster,. Joan of Lancaster,. Mary of Lancaster, who married Henry de Percy, 3rd Baron Percy, was the mother of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland and had descendants.
Prior to his restoration to his earldoms, Henry bore the royal arms of King Henry III, differenced by a bend azure. Upon his restoration, his difference changed, to a label France of three points (that is to say a label of three points azure each charged with three fleur-de-lys or. Henry is a supporting character in Les Rois maudits, a series of French historical novels by Maurice Druon, he was portrayed by William Sabatier in the 1972 French miniseries adaptation of the series, by Romain Rondeau in the 2005 adaptation. Armitage-Smith, Sir Sydney. John of Gaunt: king of Castile and Leon, duke of Aquitaine and Lancaster. Archibald Constable and Co. Ltd. Burke, John. A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England and Scotland. London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley. Fryde, Natalie; the Tyranny and Fall of Edward II 1321-1326. Cambridge University Press. Hamilton, Jeffrey; the Plantagenets: History of a Dynasty. Continuum UK. Prestwich, Michael; the Three Edwards: War and State in England, 1272-1377.
John of Gaunt
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster was an English prince, military leader, statesman. He was the third of the five sons of King Edward III of England. Due to his royal origin, advantageous marriages, some generous land grants, Gaunt was one of the richest men of his era, an influential figure during the reigns of both his father and his nephew, Richard II; as Duke of Lancaster, he is the founder of the royal House of Lancaster, whose members would ascend to the throne after his death. His birthplace, corrupted into English as Gaunt, was the origin for his name; when he became unpopular in life, scurrilous rumours and lampoons circulated that he was the son of a Ghent butcher because Edward III was not present at the birth. This story always drove him to fury. John's early career was spent in Spain fighting at the Hundred Years' War, he made an abortive attempt to enforce a claim to the Crown of Castile that came through his second wife, for a time styled himself as King of Castile. As Edward the Black Prince, Gaunt's elder brother and heir to the ageing Edward III, became incapacitated due to poor health, Gaunt assumed control of many government functions, rose to become one of the most powerful political figures in England.
He was faced with military difficulties abroad and political divisions at home, disagreements as to how to deal with these crises led to tensions between Gaunt, the English Parliament, the ruling class, making him an unpopular figure for a time. John exercised great influence over the English throne during the minority of King Richard II, the ensuing periods of political strife, he mediated between the king and a group of rebellious nobles, which included Gaunt's own son and heir, Henry Bolingbroke. Following Gaunt's death in 1399, his estates and titles were declared forfeit to the Crown, his son, now disinherited, was branded a traitor and exiled. Henry Bolingbroke returned from exile shortly after to reclaim his inheritance, deposed Richard, he reigned as King Henry IV of England, the first of the descendants of John of Gaunt to hold the English throne. The House of Lancaster would rule England from 1399 until the time of the Wars of the Roses, when the English crown was disputed with the House of York.
Gaunt fathered five children outside marriage. They were legitimised by royal and papal decrees, but which did not affect Henry IV's bar to their having a place in the line of succession. Despite that restriction, through these offspring, surnamed "Beaufort", Gaunt is ancestor to all Scottish monarchs beginning in 1437, of all English monarchs of the houses of Lancaster and Tudor as well as, York. John was the third surviving son of King Edward III of England, his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster, was his third cousin. They married in 1359 at Reading Abbey as a part of the efforts of Edward III to arrange matches for his sons with wealthy heiresses. Upon the death of his father-in-law, the 1st Duke of Lancaster, in 1361, John received half his lands, the title "Earl of Lancaster", distinction as the greatest landowner in the north of England as heir of the Palatinate of Lancaster, he became the 14th Baron of Halton and 11th Lord of Bowland. John inherited the rest of the Lancaster property when Blanche's sister Maud, Countess of Leicester, died without issue on 10 April 1362.
John received the title "Duke of Lancaster" from his father on 13 November 1362. By well established, he owned at least thirty castles and estates across England and France and maintained a household comparable in scale and organisation to that of a monarch, he owned land in every county in England, a patrimony that produced a net income of between £8,000 and £10,000 a year. After the death in 1376 of his older brother Edward of Woodstock, John of Gaunt contrived to protect the religious reformer John Wycliffe to counteract the growing secular power of the church. However, John's ascendancy to political power coincided with widespread resentment of his influence. At a time when English forces encountered setbacks in the Hundred Years' War against France, Edward III's rule was becoming unpopular due to high taxation and his affair with Alice Perrers, political opinion associated the Duke of Lancaster with the failing government of the 1370s. Furthermore, while King Edward and the Prince of Wales were popular heroes due to their successes on the battlefield, John of Gaunt had not won equivalent military renown that could have bolstered his reputation.
Although he fought in the Battle of Nájera, for example, his military projects proved unsuccessful. When Edward III died in 1377 and John's ten-year-old nephew succeeded as Richard II of England, John's influence strengthened. However, mistrust remained, some suspected him of wanting to seize the throne himself. John took pains to ensure; as de facto ruler during Richard's minority, he made unwise decisions on taxation that led to the Peasants' Revolt in 1381, when the rebels destroyed his home in London, the Savoy Palace. Unlike some of Richard's unpopular advisors, John was away from London at the time of the uprising and thus avoided the direct wrath of the rebels. In 1386 John left England to seek the throne of Castile, claimed in jure ux
Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster, 1st Earl of Leicester, of Grosmont Castle in Monmouthshire, Wales, a member of the House of Plantagenet, was the second surviving son of King Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence. In his childhood he had a claim on the Kingdom of Sicily, he was granted all the lands of Simon de Montfort in 1265, from 1267 he was titled Earl of Leicester. In that year he began to rule Lancashire, but he did not take the title Earl of Lancaster until 1276. Between 1276 and 1284 he governed the counties of Champagne and Brie with his second wife, Blanche of Artois, in the name of her daughter Joan, his nickname, "Crouchback", refers to his participation in the Ninth Crusade. Edmund was born in a son of Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence, he was a younger brother of Edward I, Beatrice, an elder brother of Catherine. He was invested ruler of the Kingdom of Sicily by the Bishop of Bologna in 1255, on behalf of Pope Alexander IV. In return, his father undertook to pay the papacy 135,541 marks and fight a war to dislodge the Hohenstaufen king Manfred.
Henry's barons refused to contribute to what they called the "Sicilian business", Henry was only able to pay 60,000 marks. Steven Runciman says the grant of the kingdom was revoked by Pope Alexander IV on 18 December 1258. However, Edmund soon obtained important possessions and dignities, for soon after the forfeiture of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester on 25 October 1265, Edmund received the Earldom of Leicester and that of Lancaster, he was granted the honour of the lands of Nicolas de Segrave. He acquired the titles and estates of Lord Ferrers, that included the earldom of Derby, the Honour of Hinckley Castle. In 1267, Edmund was granted the lordship of Builth Wells, in opposition to the holder, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. To help him conquer the land, he was granted his elder brother's lordships of the Trilateral of Skenfrith and White Castle, all in Monmouthshire, together with Monmouth. After the civil war in 1267, he was appointed High Sheriff of Lancashire. Henry III created his second son Earl of Leicester in 1267, granting the honour and privileges of that city.
The following year he was made Constable of a royal possession in the king's name. Crouchback by now had a reputation as a ruthless and ferocious warrior, but he was not in England fighting de Montfort. In 1271, Edmund accompanied his elder brother Edward on the Ninth Crusade to Palestine; some historians, including the authors of the Encyclopædia Britannica article on him, state that it was because of this that he received the nickname'Crouchback', indicating that he was entitled to wear a cross stitched into the back of his garments. On his return from the Crusade of 1271–2, he seems to have made Grosmont Castle his favoured home and undertook much rebuilding there, his son Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster was born there in 1281. Edmund remained loyal to his brother, Edward I. Edmund acted as an ambassador abroad, he was sent as Governor of Ponthieu on behalf of his second wife, Blanche of Artois. His duty to the church included the foundation of a Nuns of Clara or Poor Clares nunnery at Minories, St Aldate's.
In 1291, his estate paid for the establishment for the Chapel of Savoy, in memory of his mother, near St Clement Danes. Filial piety was part of the chivalric code of an honourable knight. Edmund was a generous benefactor to the monastery of Grace Dieu in Leicestershire, to the nuns at Tarrant Crawford, he helped establish a major Greyfriars monastery at Preston in the duchy of Lancaster. In 1281, he supervised the construction of Aberystwyth Castle for King Edward I to subjugate the Welsh; the following year Edmund accompanied Roger Mortimer on campaign against Llywelyn and capturing the prince. In 1294 the French king, Philip IV, through trickery, defrauded King Edward out of his lands in Gascony. Edward began to plan an invasion, but ran into difficulties. First, some of the Welsh rebelled against him the Scots rebelled. By the end of 1295, he was ready to take up the conflict with Philip, he wanted to send Edmund to lead a small force ahead of the main army he was gathering, but Edmund fell ill in that autumn and was unwell until Christmas.
Edmund was able to go to Bordeaux for his brother. Amongst the nobles:123 was the Earl of Lincoln and 26 banneret knights. During the siege of Bayonne the English ran out of money, so the army melted into the countryside. Broken-hearted, the warrior-prince Edmund Crouchback died on 5 June, his body was interred on 15 July 1296 at Westminster Abbey, London. Edmund married firstly on 8 April 1269 Aveline de Forz, daughter of William de Forz, 4th Earl of Albemarle and Isabella de Fortibus, Countess of Devon, she died just four years after the marriage, at the age of 15, was buried at Westminster Abbey. The couple had no children, though some sources believe she may have died in childbirth or shortly after a miscarriage, he married secondly on 3 February 1276 Blanche of Artois, in Paris, widow of King Henry I of Navarre, daughter of Robert I of Artois and Matilda of Brabant. With Blanche he had three children: Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster John of Lancaster
Duke of Clarence
Duke of Clarence is a substantive title, traditionally awarded to junior members of the British royal family. All three creations were in the Peerage of England; the title was first granted to Lionel of Antwerp, the second son of King Edward III, in 1362. Since he died without sons, the title became extinct; the title was again created in favour of Thomas of Lancaster, the second son of King Henry IV, in 1412. Upon his death, the title became extinct; the last creation in the Peerage of England was for George Plantagenet, brother of King Edward IV, in 1461. The Duke forfeited his title in 1478, he met his end by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey. A fourth creation in England was planned to take effect. However, she was deposed. Two double dukedoms, of Clarence and St Andrews and of Clarence and Avondale, were created for British royal princes; the title took the form of an earldom for Queen Victoria's son Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, his son Prince Charles Edward, the Clarence earldom being a subsidiary title.
The title does not refer to the minor River Clarence in Pas-de-Calais, Northern France, but is said by Polydore Vergil to originate from the manor and castle of Clare in Suffolk, the caput of a feudal barony, held by Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, in right of his wife, the heiress Elizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster, ultimate descendant and heiress of the previous holder, the de Clare family. After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the holders of the title were given titles named after Scottish places: St Andrews and Avondale; the title was first created for Lionel, a younger son of King Edward III who in 1352 had married Elizabeth de Burgh, 4th Countess of Ulster, the sole heiress via a female line of Gilbert de Clare, 8th Earl of Gloucester. The name Clarence referred to the feudal barony of Clare in Suffolk, as the holder of it by right of his wife Lionel was given that title. William IV, who became king in 1830, at which point the title merged with the Crown; the Prince Leopold, 1st Duke of Albany, 1st Earl of Clarence & 1st Baron Arklow, fourth son of Queen Victoria Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, 2nd Duke of Albany, 2nd Earl of Clarence & 2nd Baron Arklow, posthumous son of the 1st Earl, had his British titles suspended in 1919 for waging war against Britain.
For heirs to the suspended peerages, see Duke of Albany Prince Albert Victor, 1st Duke of Clarence and Avondale The Dukedom is vacant. While there were some speculations that it was one of the options available for Prince Harry upon his wedding with Meghan Markle, press reports noted the Dukedom's chequered past, including scandals and unfounded rumors of criminality related to Prince Albert Victor. Prince Harry was awarded the Dukedom of Sussex
John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset
John Beaufort, 1st Marquess of Somerset and 1st Marquess of Dorset only 1st Earl of Somerset, was an English nobleman and politician. He was the first of the four illegitimate children of John of Gaunt by his mistress Katherine Swynford, whom he married in 1396. Beaufort's surname reflects his birthplace at his father's castle and manor of Beaufort in Champagne, situated 100 miles east of Paris, 25 miles north-east of Troyes, between the River Seine and River Marne; the Portcullis heraldic badge of the Beauforts, now the emblem of the House of Commons, is believed to have been based on that of the castle of Beaufort, now demolished. The Beaufort children were declared legitimate twice by parliament during the reign of King Richard II of England, in 1390 and 1397, as well as by Pope Boniface IX in September 1396. Though they were the grandchildren of Edward III and next in the line of succession after their father's legitimate children by his first two wives, the Beauforts were barred from succession to the throne by their half-brother Henry IV.
Between May and September 1390, Beaufort saw military service in North Africa in the Barbary Crusade led by Louis II, Duke of Bourbon. In 1394, he was in Lithuania serving with the Teutonic Knights. John was created Earl of Somerset on 10 February 1397, just a few days after the legitimation of the Beaufort children was recognized by Parliament; the same month, he was appointed Admiral of the Irish fleet, as well as Constable of Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque Ports. In May, his admiralty was extended to include the northern fleet; that summer, the new earl became one of the noblemen who helped Richard II free himself from the power of the Lords Appellant. As a reward, he was created Marquess of Somerset and Marquess of Dorset on 29 September, sometime that year he was made a Knight of the Garter and appointed Lieutenant of Aquitaine. In addition, two days before his elevation as a Marquess he married the king's niece, Margaret Holland, sister of Thomas Holland, 1st Duke of Surrey, another of the counter-appellants.
John remained in the king's favour after his older half-brother Henry Bolingbroke was banished from England in 1398. After Richard II was deposed by Henry Bolingbroke in 1399, the new king rescinded the titles, given to the counter-appellants, thus John Beaufort became Earl of Somerset again, he proved loyal to his half-brother's reign, serving in various military commands and on some important diplomatic missions. It was Beaufort, given the confiscated estates of the Welsh rebel leader Owain Glyndŵr in 1400, although he would not have been able to take possession of these estates unless he had lived until after 1415. In 1404, he was named Constable of England. John Beaufort and his wife Margaret Holland, the daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent and Alice FitzAlan, had six children, his granddaughter Lady Margaret Beaufort married Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, the son of Dowager Queen Catherine of Valois by Owen Tudor. Somerset died in the Hospital of St Katharine's by the Tower.
He was buried in St Michael's Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral. His children included the following: Henry Beaufort, 2nd Earl of Somerset John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset, father of Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, grandfather of King Henry VII of England Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scotland married James I, King of Scots. Thomas Beaufort, Count of Perche Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Devon married Thomas de Courtenay, 13th Earl of Devon. Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports: 1398 Admiral of the West: 1397 Lieutenant of Aquitaine: 1397 Admiral of the North and Western Fleets: 9 May 1398 – 15 November 1399 Lord High Constable of England: 1404 Admiral of the North and Western Fleets: 21 September 1408 – 3 June 1414 As a legitimised grandson of King Edward III, Beaufort bore that king's royal arms, differenced by a bordure gobony argent and azure. Arms of Beaufort, legitimised progeny of John of Gaunt, 3rd surviving son of King Edward III: Royal arms of King Edward III within a bordure compony argent and azure.
The arms were updated when the Kings of England adopted France modern, having been adopted by the King of France in 1376. Charles, an illegitimate son of Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset, took the surname "Somerset" together with the Beaufort arms and was created Baron Herbert and Earl of Worcester. In 1682 his descendant Henry Somerset, 3rd Marquess of Worcester, was created Duke of Beaufort; these arms are thus used by Duke of Beaufort. Armitage-Smith, Sydney. John of Gaunt, King of Castile and Leon, Duke of Lancaster, &c.. Constable, 1904. Brown, M. H.. "Joan ". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/14646. Retrieved 21 November 2013. Jones, Michael K, Malcolm G. Underwood, The King's Mother: Lady Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby. Cambridge University Press, 1992. See pp. 17–22 Marshall, Rosalind. Scottish Queens, 1034-1714. Tuckwell Press. Weir, Alison. Britain's The Complete Genealogy. London: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-09-953973-5; the Beaufort Family The Courtenay Family Lundy, Darryl.
"John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset at thePeerage.com". The Peerage
George I of Great Britain
George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698 until his death in 1727. George was born in Hanover and inherited the titles and lands of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg from his father and uncles. A succession of European wars expanded his German domains during his lifetime, in 1708 he was ratified as prince-elector of Hanover. At the age of 54, after the death of his second cousin Anne, Queen of Great Britain, George ascended the British throne as the first monarch of the House of Hanover. Although over 50 Roman Catholics were closer to Anne by primogeniture, the Act of Settlement 1701 prohibited Catholics from inheriting the British throne. In reaction, Jacobites attempted to depose George and replace him with Anne's Catholic half-brother, James Francis Edward Stuart, but their attempts failed. During George's reign, the powers of the monarchy diminished and Britain began a transition to the modern system of cabinet government led by a prime minister.
Towards the end of his reign, actual political power was held by Robert Walpole, now recognised as Britain's first de facto prime minister. George died of a stroke on a trip to his native Hanover, he was the last British monarch to be buried outside the United Kingdom. George was born on 28 May 1660 in the city of Hanover in the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire, he was the eldest son of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, his wife, Sophia of the Palatinate. Sophia was the granddaughter of King James I of England through Elizabeth of Bohemia. For the first year of his life, George was the only heir to the German territories of his father and three childless uncles. George's brother, Frederick Augustus, was born in 1661, the two boys were brought up together, their mother was absent for a year during a long convalescent holiday in Italy, but corresponded with her sons' governess and took a great interest in their upbringing more so upon her return. Sophia bore Ernest Augustus a daughter.
In her letters, Sophia describes George as a responsible, conscientious child who set an example to his younger brothers and sisters. By 1675 George's eldest uncle had died without issue, but his remaining two uncles had married, putting George's inheritance in jeopardy as his uncles' estates might pass to their own sons, should they have had any, instead of to George. George's father took him hunting and riding, introduced him to military matters. In 1679 another uncle died unexpectedly without sons, Ernest Augustus became reigning Duke of Calenberg-Göttingen, with his capital at Hanover. George's surviving uncle, George William of Celle, had married his mistress in order to legitimise his only daughter, Sophia Dorothea, but looked unlikely to have any further children. Under Salic law, where inheritance of territory was restricted to the male line, the succession of George and his brothers to the territories of their father and uncle now seemed secure. In 1682, the family agreed to adopt the principle of primogeniture, meaning George would inherit all the territory and not have to share it with his brothers.
The same year, George married his first cousin, Sophia Dorothea of Celle, thereby securing additional incomes that would have been outside Salic laws. The marriage of state was arranged as it ensured a healthy annual income and assisted the eventual unification of Hanover and Celle, his mother was at first against the marriage because she looked down on Sophia Dorothea's mother, because she was concerned by Sophia Dorothea's legitimated status. She was won over by the advantages inherent in the marriage. In 1683, George and his brother, Frederick Augustus, served in the Great Turkish War at the Battle of Vienna, Sophia Dorothea bore George a son, George Augustus; the following year, Frederick Augustus was informed of the adoption of primogeniture, meaning he would no longer receive part of his father's territory as he had expected. It led to a breach between father and son, between the brothers, that lasted until Frederick Augustus's death in battle in 1690. With the imminent formation of a single Hanoverian state, the Hanoverians' continuing contributions to the Empire's wars, Ernest Augustus was made an Elector of the Holy Roman Empire in 1692.
George's prospects were now better than as the sole heir to his father's electorate and his uncle's duchy. Sophia Dorothea had a second child, a daughter named after her, in 1687, but there were no other pregnancies; the couple became estranged—George preferred the company of his mistress, Melusine von der Schulenburg, Sophia Dorothea, had her own romance with the Swedish Count Philip Christoph von Königsmarck. Threatened with the scandal of an elopement, the Hanoverian court, including George's brothers and mother, urged the lovers to desist, but to no avail. According to diplomatic sources from Hanover's enemies, in July 1694 the Swedish count was killed with the connivance of George, his body thrown into the river Leine weighted with stones; the murder was claimed to have been committed by four of Ernest Augustus's courtiers, one of whom was paid the enormous sum of 150,000 thalers, about one hundred times the annual salary of the highest paid minister. Rumours supposed t