On this day in history, 30th of May 1472, death of Jacquetta of Luxemburg, Duchess of Bedford, Countess Rivers and mother of Elizabeth Woodville at the age of 55/56. Jacquetta was the elder daughter of Peter I, Count of Saint-Pol, Conversano and Brienne and his wife Margaret de Baux (Margherita del Balzo of Andria). Jacquetta’s paternal great-grandmother, Mahaut of Châtillon, descended from Beatrice of England, daughter of King Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence. Jacquetta’s mother, Margherita del Balzo, was a daughter of Francesco del Balzo, 1st Duke of Andria and Sueva Orsini (close relative to Clarice Orsini). Sueva descended from Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and Eleanor of England, the youngest child of King John of England and Isabella of Angoulême. Jacquetta was a fourth cousin, twice removed of Sigismund of Luxembourg, the reigning Holy Roman Emperor, and King of Bohemia and Hungary. Jaquetta married twice - at the age of 17 to the Duke of Bedford, brother of King Henry V (this marriage was childless), and second after duke’s death, to Sir Richard Woodville, son of Sir Richard Wydevill who had served as the late Duke’s chamberlain, was commissioned by Henry VI of England to bring the young widow to EnglandDuring the journey, the couple fell in love and married in secret (before 23 March 1437), without seeking the king’s permission. Jacquetta had been granted dower lands following her first husband’s death on condition that she did not re-marry without a royal licence. On learning of the marriage, Henry VI refused to see them but was mollified by the payment of a fine of £1000. The marriage was long and very fruitful: Jacquetta and Richard had fourteen children, including the future Queen Consort of Edward IV Elizabeth Woodville. Jacquetta was the godmother to Elizabeth of York, first child of queen Elizabeth Woodville and King Edward IV, during her christening. Jacquetta’s resting place is unknown. Through her daughter, Queen Elizabeth, Jacquetta was the maternal grandmother of Elizabeth of York, Queen and wife of Henry VII. As such, she is an ancestress of all subsequent English and British monarchs, including Elizabeth II, and seven other present-day European monarchs.
Pictured: Drawing of Jacquetta of Luxembourg by Mark Satchwill