Thursday, April 9, 2020

Edward II of England--

Edward II's effigy in Gloucester Cathedral.
Edward II's effigy in
Gloucester Cathedral
King of England

Son of: Edward I of England & Eleanor of Castile.

Husband of: Isabelle de France. mar 1308.

Physical appearance & personal qualities.
"As far as his appearance was concerned, Isabella's bridegroom was everything a young girl could dream of. Edward II was tall (about six feet) and muscular, 'a fine figure of a handsome man' and 'one of the strongest men in his realm.' He had 'better advantages of birth and nature than any other king,' for 'God had endowed him with every gift.' Even hostile chroniclers expressed admiration for his handsome looks, which he inherited from his father. He was well proportioned and had curly, fair, shoulder length hair, with a mustache and beard. He was also well spoken---his mother tongue was Norman French---and articulate, and he dressed elegantly, even lavishly. He cannot have failed to make a good impression on his young bride." (Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England: 24)

"Anyone who has seen the 1995 movie Braveheart is likely to remember the pathetic and weak Prince Edward, a snivelling wretch whose lover is tossed out a window by his depraved father. The real Edward II could not have been less like his portrayal in one of the 1990s’ most successful flicks. He had a filthy sense of humour, an easy-going repartee with common people and a passion for manual labour. Like his father, Edward II was tall and robust. The “Vita Edwardi Secundi”, which was an account of the King’s life written by a clerk who lived at Edward’s court and who recorded his experiences at the time, observed that the King was ‘a fine figure of a handsome man’, while Sir Thomas Grey, whose father fought in Edward’s army, wrote that ‘physically he was one of the strongest men in the realm’. Another thought Edward moved well despite his size: ‘elegant, of outstanding strength’. None of the eyewitness descriptions of Edward’s contradicts one chronicler’s description of him as ‘fair of body and great of strength’. There are no surviving accounts that mention his eye colour, but illustrations and his effigy all show wavy blond hair that fell either to his chin or his shoulders. Later in life, he grew a beard." (The Scandal and Downfall of Piers Gaveston)

" . . . In the case of Edward II, the existence of male lovers has certainly been alleged, and two such lovers have been named. But curiously Edward also had a bastard son, Adam Fitzroy, so he must have had a sexual relationship with a woman other than his wife on at least one occasion. Adam seems to have been born in about 1205, at a time when Edward was a teenager, still unmarried, and still heir to the throne. However, there is no reason to suppose that Adam Fitzroy's mother was Edward's 'mistress' in terms of the definition we are using here. Adam may have been the fruit of a mere passing fancy." (Royal Marriage Secrets: Consorts & Concubines, Bigamists & Bastards)

The favourites.
" . . . Edward had always had royal favourites, Piers Gaveston being the man he loved the most and was closest to. Their bond had been forged as teenagers, long before Edward assumed the throne in 1307 and was unequivocally sexual as demonstrated by their actions. Edward's preoccupation with Gaveston's soul and his burning desire for revenged are the clearest proofs. The rise of Damory, Audley and Montacute in the middle years of his reign was driven by his need to counter the position of his over-mighty cousin and bring about his revenge for Gaveston's death. Damory seemed to head the group and may have been the more attracted to the king, possibly sexually but this is speculative. By 1319, these bonds were strong, but in 1320 they were frayed and almost broken." (Spinks. Edward II the Man: A Doomed Inheritance)
Edward II of England

Edward II's royal favourites/lovers were

Baron Audley; Earl of Gloucester 1337; Ambassador to France.

Husband ofMargaret de Clare (1292-1342), 
mar 1317, daughter of Gilbert de Clare & Joan of Acre, Princess of England; widow of Piers Gaveston, Edward II's lover.

Personal & family background.
"The second son of a minor baron with lands in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, Hugh Audley junior (b. circa 1291) was probably introduced to the court by his father (Hugh Audley, snr). He became a knight of Edward’s household in 1311 but rapidly became part of a central group of favourites consisting of Roger Damory and William Montague. His loyalty and service to Edward resulted in a number of gifts of lands and, like Damory in 1317, he married one of the de Clare co-heiresses, Margaret ( the widow of Piers Gaveston)." (Lady Despenser's Scribery)

In Edward II's court.
"Hugh first appears in November 1311 when he joined Edward II's household as a newly created knight, around the time that Piers Gaveston was sent into his third exile. In 1315, he grew close to Edward, and was one of the three men, the other two being Roger Damory and William Montacute, who came to dominate the king's court, though the precise nature of his relationship with Edward II is a matter for speculation. Hugh was arguably the least prominent of the three courtiers, but still wielded enough influence over the king to be included in the Flores Historiarum's statement that they were 'worse than Piers.' In June 1315, Edward II, evidently missing his friend, ordered the chancellor to complete some of Hugh’s business as soon as possible, so that he 'can return to us as quickly as we have instructed him to do.'" (Edward II @blogspot)

"Hugh Audley was the only favourite of Edward II to survive the reign - being Edward's favourite was a dangerous occupation - and also enjoyed the trust of Edward III, who raised him to comital rank. J. R. Maddicott points out, in his ODNB entry on Hugh, that 'he had followed a course unusual enough to suggest both his high abilities and his political dexterity.'" (Edward II @blogspot)

Relationship's benefits to Hugh. 
". . . Edward rewarded Hugh's friendship with one of the two greatest prizes at his disposal: marriage to his niece Margaret de Clare, dowager countess of Cornwall, widow of Piers Gaveston and joint heiress of her late brother the earl of Gloucester. . . . " (Edward II @blogspot)

". . . Edward rewarded Hugh's friendship with one of the two greatest prizes at his disposal: marriage to his niece Margaret de Clare, dowager countess of Cornwall, widow of Piers Gaveston and joint heiress of her late brother the earl of Gloucester. . . . " (Edward II @blogspot)
Hugh, 1st Lord Despenser
Lover in 1318-1326.

Husband ofEleanor de 
Clare (1292-1337), 6th Lady of Glamorgan
mar 1306, daughter of Gilbert daughter of Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester, & Joan of Acre, daughter of Edward I of England.

Edward II & his niece, Eleanor de Clare, wife of his favourite Hugh Despenser the Younger.
"While Margaret Audley languished at Sempringham and Elizabeth Burgh at Barking, their sister Eleanor Despenser rose to great prominence. Edward II, implacably spiteful to those he believed had betrayed him, was immensely loyal and generous to people he loved and were faithful to him. Eleanor as well as her husband Hugh benefited from his munificence and his great affection for her. She was so high in the king's favour and so close to him in and after 1322 that one Flemish chronicler even claimed that Hugh Despenser gave her to Edward for sex, and that she was imprisoned after the two men's downfall in 1326 in case she was pregnant by the king. Any relationship between Edward II and Eleanor Despenser would, of course, have been incestuous, and therefore the allegation should be treated very seriously. There is no conclusive evidence to prove they were lovers, though there are ample instances of closeness between the two in the king's chamber accounts in the 1320s. Between 1322 and 1326 Eleanor spent most of her time at court, Edward frequently gave her large sums of money, and on the rare occasions they were apart they exchanged letters and gifts. In the summer of 1326---when we are fortunate to have the evidence of Edward's last chamber account in its entirety---the spent considerable time together, sometimes with Eleanor's husband there and sometimes, not, sailed along the Thames in the king's barge, and dined 'privately' or 'secretly' together. In October 1324, Edward was rowed across the River Thames to a house opposite the Tower of London for a secret assignation with a lover, and it is not impossible that this was Eleanor. . . ."

Relationship's benefits to Eleanor.
" . . . There is much evidence of Edward's great regard for his eldest niece early on in his reign, when he paid her expenses and often gave her money. The amounts of cash increased substantially in the 1320s: in the early 1310s Eleanor received between about 4 pounds and 10 pounds regularly, and by the 1320s this had gone up to 100 pounds or 100 marks (66 pounds). On 9 April 1325 and again on 2 December 1325, for example, Edward gave Eleanor 100 marks. Eleanor gave her uncle sets of clothes on 1 November 1324 and 3 December 1325, an oddly wifely thing to do. In June and OCtober 1325 Edward gave Eleanor caged larks, goldfinches and three swans, and on another occasion two gallons of honey to make a sweet called sucre de plate when she was pregnant. Eleanor sent him presents every New Year including a palfrey horse in1326, and during her pregnancy in 1325 he accommodated her at his manor-house of Sheen, where she gave birth." (Warner. Edward II's Nieces: The Clare Sisters: Powerful Pawns of the Crown: 92)

Hugh's personal & family background.
"Eleanor's groom was Hugh Despenser, known to history as Hugh Despenser the Younger to distinguish him from his father of the same name. He was about four years Eleanor's senior, born in the late 1280s and probably 17 or 18 years old in May 1306, and was the maternal grandson of the late Earl and Countess of Warwick, William Beauchamp (d.1298) and Maud FitzJohn (d.1301). Hugh's paternal grandmother Aline Basset (d. 1281) was Countess of Norfolk by her second marriage, and his older half-sister Maud Chaworth (b.1282) married Edward I's nephew Henry of Lancaster (b.c1280/81) in early 1297, so Hugh had some impressive family connections, yet would not himself inherit an earldom. Warwick passed to his uncle Guy Beauchamp in 1328, and Norfolk escheated to the Crown on the death of his childless step-grandfather Roger Bigod in 1306." (Warner. Edward II's Nieces: 10)

Hugh the Younger's physical appearance & personal qualities.
"The same chronicler, after making this comment, provides us with a pen-portrait of the younger Hugh. He remarks that he was a fine figure of a man. But he also notes the younger Despenser's impetuosity, pride, ambition and greed. These qualities brought disaster upon him and upon his king, whose chief favourite and adviser he was from 1322 to 1326. . . ." (Frude. The Tyranny and Fall of Edward II 1321-1326: 30)

Edward II & Hugh more than just friends & allies.
"This begs the question: how exactly did Hugh the younger exert such overwhelming control over Edward? Why did he let them behave like that? As stated at the beginning of the post, I believe that Edward and the younger Hugh were lovers - it's difficult to account for Hugh's hold over him any other way. In 1321, the Earl of Pembroke, an ally of Edward's who died in 1324, told him (quoting the Bible): 'he perishes on the rocks who loves another more than himself'. This certainly seems to indicate that Edward and Hugh were more than just friends and allies. Edward II's most recent biographer, Roy Martin Haines, has also stated his belief in the sexual nature of the relationship. A contemporary chronicler of the Low Countries believed that Edward was involved in a menage a trois with Hugh the younger and his wife - Edward's own niece Eleanor. While it's impossible to prove or disprove the story, I believe the sexual politics of Edward's reign are fascinating. Edward and Isabella's unhappy marriage, and the lovers they both took, are vital to an understanding of Edward's downfall." (Edward II's other great favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger)

Hugh the king's "husband".
"Hugh despenser the Younger himself was called the king's 'husband' by an abbey annalist in 1326, chronicler Jean le Bel thought Hugh was executed that year partly because he had been 'a sodomite, above all with the king himself', chronicler Geoffrey le Baker wrote that Despenser bewitched Edward's mind, and the writer of the Anonimalle that Edward 'loved [Hugh] dearly, with all his heart and mind, above all others'. It does seem as though something intimate was going on between the Despenser;s husband and wife, and Edward II. The Flores Historiarum, a chronicle written at Westminster Abbey, accused the king of taking pleasure in 'illicit and sinful sexual intercourse', which might mean sex with men, incestuous sex with his niece or both. . .  Sir Thomas Gray, whose father of the same name served in Hugh Despenser's retinue in the 1320s and who may therefore have been privy to accurate information, wrote in his chronicle called Scalacronica that Edward II led a 'debauched life', and added that he 'loved and entirely trusted' Hugh Despenser. There is no evidence at all, however, that Hugh Despenser raped Queen Isabella---an invention of two writers of the early twenty-first century---or that he had sex with her." (Warner. Edward II's Nieces: 92)

Affair's effect on Edward II's wife Isabella.
"But it was not as it seemed. Prince Edward had joined his mother at the Chateau of Vincennes on 22 September 1325 and homage for Aquitaine was duly performed before the French king two days later. After a short stay in Paris, he was expecting that - in keeping with the instructions King Edward II had given him - he and his mother would both return to England and report back to his father on what had been achieved. Instead, Isabella made an extraordinary declaration in front of the entire French court, in which all her pent-up frustrations about her marriage were unleashed. She made clear, in quite astonishing fashion, that she was no longer willing to endure what had become for her a sham: 'I feel that marriage is a joining together of man and woman, maintaining the undivided habit of life, and that someone has come between my husband and myself trying to break this bond. I protest that I will not return until this intruder is removed - and discarding my marriage garment, shall assume the robes of widowhood and mourning until I am avenged of the Pharisee.' This announcement stunned all who heard it and must have been a bombshell to the young Edward. The picture of a contented family was breaking into pieces all around him. He now learned that his father was embroiled in a highly charged relationship with the chamberlain of the royal household, Hugh Despenser the Younger, the 'Pharisee' of Isabella's stinging denunciation and, in political terms, a man who exerted a baleful influence on Edward ii." (The Black Prince: England's Greatest Medieval Warrior)

Affair's effect on other people.
"But it was the emotional and almost certainly sexual relationship between the two that disturbed people the most. The Anonimalle chronicler criticized the royal favourite and lover for leading the king into 'a cruel and debauched life'; while another, the Westminster chronicler Robert of Reading, caught the sheer degree of infatuation involved: 'he led the monarch around as if he were teasing a cat with a piece of straw.'" (The Black Prince)

Affair's end & aftermath.
" . . . King Edward called Isabella back to England. She refused, because Hugh le Despenser was in power. . . She now took a powerful opponent, Mortimer, as her lover and canvassed the English exiles in France. They landed in England with an army and Edward and le Despenser fled west to Wales. He was soon captured and his lover, Hugh le Despenser handed over to the queen. Hugh le Despenser was tied to a ladder, castrated, beheaded and then quartered. The pieces of the King's lover were sent to four cities in the realm. All the time the Queen sat calmly through it. . . ." (Secret Royal History: 28)
Edward II & Piers Gaveston
Royal favourite 1300-1312.

Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Lieutenant of Scotland
Regent of England 1308.

Son of: Arnaud de Gabaston (d.1302), a Gascon knight & Claramonde de Marsan (1287).

Personal & family background.
" . . . Gaveston was not, however, the son of a woman burned alive as a witch; this story, often repeated in fiction featuring him as a character, was first invented by the antiquarian John Stow at the end of the sixteenth century. Gaveston's mother, Claramonde de Mardan, was, in fact, a noblewoman who died a natural death in late 1286 or early 1287. . . Contrary to what some fourteenth-century chroniclers and other writers since have believed, Gaveston was not of low birth but a nobleman, and his father and grandfather were among the leading barons of Bearn (one of the old provinces of France, in the Pyrenees in the far south-west of the country, bordering Spain). If he had been of such lowly position

Husband ofMargaret de Clare, mar 1307.

First encounter.
" . . . One was Piers Gaveston, the son of a leading Gascon baron who had fought for Edward I in France and Wales. Gaveston was born at Gabaston in Bearn; he first came to England in 1297 with his father, and in 1300, after serving two campaigns in Scotland and impressing the King with his courtly demeanor, was placed in the Prince of Wales's household as one of his squires. Before long, he had become 'the most intimate and highly favoured member' of it." (Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery and Murder in Medieval England: 16)

Introduced into the household of Prince Edward by his father Edward I himself.
"Let us now turn to Piers Gaveston, whose introduction into the household of the adolescent prince was to have such an unforeseen impact. First of all, there can be little doubt about the fact that Gaveston was introduced into the household of Prince Edward by Edward I himself. The young Gascon, probably a few years older than the Prince, had already seen military service in Flanders in the company of his father Arnaud de Gabaston, a minor Gascon noble. Piers was consistently described in contemporary chronicles as handsome, athletic, and well mannered: in short, he was a suitable role model after whom Prince Edward might have been expected to pattern himself. From 1300 until his execution in 1312, his fortunes were inseparably linked to Edward’s, and in general his wealth and status rose steadily, if not at first remarkably. Gaveston appears in the records drawing wages and performing a variety of services in the Prince’s household, and his rising status may be indicated by his designation as socius (companion) rather than scutifer (esquire) by 1303. According to the Chronicle of the Civil Wars of Edward II , upon looking on Piers, the King’s son immediately felt such love for him that he ‘tied himself to him against all mortals with an indissoluble bond of love’." (Menage a Roi: Edward II and Piers Gaveston)

Gaveston's physical appearance & personal qualities.
"No physical description of Gaveston exists but he comes across as an arrogant, ostentatious man -- and a foreigner, which made matters worse. Yet he ws no court fop. He was courageous and proved his skill as a warrior during the savage war in Scotland. When he was exiled to Ireland, Gaveston brought the wild tribes into submission and executed rebel chieftains. The Irish regarded him as a very noble knight and were overawed by his martial skill and lavish vice-regal status. He was also a skilled jouster. At the Wallingford tournament of December 1307, Gaveston rubbed salt into open wounds when he and a collection of nonentities successfully toppled some of the great earls of England in the tourney lists." (Isabella and the Strange Death of Edward II)

Handsome, graceful, active, intelligent & skilled in arms.
"Piers was a handsome boy about the same age as the Prince; he was graceful, active, intelligent, and skilled in arms. Of his courage there is no doubt, nor of his boundless self-confidence. He was ambitious, indiscreet, greedy, extravagant, and arrogant: his pride, it was said, would have been intolerable even in a king's son. But that was later, after he had become notorious. The chroniclers were also fond of deriding Gaveston's 'base and obscure' birth, even though his family was an old and respected one; and in the sixteenth century, John Stow recorded an unfounded rumor that Pier's mother, Claramonde de Marsan, has been burned as a witch. Gaveston was also accused of leading the Prince's household into degeneracy---one claim that might have some truth in it." (Queen Isabella: 16)

"Another person waiting at Dover, and one perhaps far more unwelcome to Isabella, was Edward II's beloved Piers Gaveston, Gascon-born earl of Cornwall, regent of England during the king's absence in France, and new husband of Edward's thirteen-year-old niece Margaret de Clare. Gaveston himself was somewhat older than the twenty-three-year-old Edward, then probably in his mid- to late twenties, and although no physical likeness of description of his exists, one later chronicler called him 'graceful and agile in body, sharp-witted, refined in manners, sufficiently well versed in military matters'. Others called him 'haughty and supercilious' but also 'very magnificent, liberal and well-bred, 'very proud and haughty in bearing' and 'a man of big ideas, haughty and puffed-up'. Gaveston's haughtiness would seem to be a given, and Edward's adoration of him went to his head and led him to act as thought he were of higher birth and . rank than he actually was, which aggravated his contemporaries beyond endurance. 'Indeed the superciliousness which he affected would have been unbearable enough in a king's son. . . ." (Isabella of France: The Rebel Queen)

Affair's benefits to Gaveston.
"On June 7, while still at Langley, the King granted castles and manors to Gaveston,a s well as lands in Gascony, a strong indication that he did not intend that his exile should last long. Then, on 16 June, much to the baron's chagrin, he appointed the favorite Lieutenant of Ireland with viceregal powers. On the same day, with devastating naivete, he wrote to his 'dearest lord and father,' King Philip, begging him to intercede with his magnates to bring about a concord over Gaveston, and to the Pope, asking him to annul Winchelsey's threat to excommunicate Piers." (Queen Isabella: 46)

4) Roger Damory (c1285-1322)

Royal favourite in 1315-1318.

English nobleman.

1st Lord d'Amory, 1317
Constable of Corfe Castle.

Son of Sir Roger D'Amory

Husband of Elizabeth de Clare (her 3rd)
" . . . Edward II visited Elizabeth at Amesbury while she was pregnant or even just after she gave birth, and put pressure on her to marry his latest favourite, Roger Damory, whom he tactlessly took with him. As one of the three heirs of the earl of Gloucester and with dower and jointure lands from two previous husbands, Elizabeth was among the wealthiest women in the country and a great marital prize that th eking was determined to secure for Damory. Whatever her feelings about marrying an obscure knight, Elizabeth accepted; she really had no other choice. Sometime in late April or early May, she married Damory at Windsor Castle, and at about the same time her sister Margaret, Piers Gaveston's widow, married Sir Hugh Audley, another of the king's three current court favourites, in the presence of the king and queen. Roger Damory and Elizabeth de Clare had one child, Elizabeth Damory, later Lady Bardolf and heir to Damory's few landholdings, while Hugh Audley and Margaret de Clare also had only one daughter, Margaret Audley, later countess of Stafford and ancestor of the Stafford dukes of Buckingham, and sole heir (after her half-sister Joan Gaveston's death in 1325) to Margaret de Clare's third of the enormous de Clare inheritance." (Isabella of France: The Rebel Queen)

Edward II's favourite.

"He was Edward's great 'favourite' between 1315 and 1318, until he was ousted from Edward's favour by Hugh Despenser the Younger. It's interesting to see Damory's rise to favour from the beginning of 1315, around the time Edward finally had Piers Gaveston's embalmed body buried, two and a half years after his death! Perhaps Piers' funeral had finally enabled Edward to draw a line under his past, though to be fair to Edward, it's obvious that he remembered Piers with great love and affection for the rest of his life. You can criticise Edward II for many things, but fickleness to those he loved was emphatically not one of his faults." (Edward II)

King's Favorite.
In 1309, Roger Amory enters the service of Gilbert de Clare , 8th Earl of Gloucester. He fights alongside his master in 1314 during the Battle of Bannockburn. Despite the scathing defeat of England's King Edward II, Roger d'Amory is noticed during the fighting for his great bravery. The king allocates for him an annual pension of 100 marks. This money gain is timely because Roger d'Amory is in financial difficulty following the death of the Earl of Gloucester in Bannockburn. The generosity of King Edward to Roger d'Amory may have also been influenced at the request of Richard d'Amory, then Lord-intendant since 1311. This interest carried by the king to Roger d'Amory precipitates the young knight's dazzling career. In December 1314, Roger was appointed constable of Knaresborough Castle, Yorkshire. In January 1315, he continued his services as a knight in the royal suite. Thereafter, the king grants him several presents and goods in gratitude. At the end of 1316, Roger d'Amory became one of the eminent members of a circle of courtiers, to which Hugues le Despenser and Hugh Audley belong. These favorites gradually exert a growing influence on Edward II. Roger of Amory reached the peak of his career in April 1317, when he was allowed to marry Elizabeth of Clare, one of the nieces of the king who is also the sister and co-heir of the Earl of Gloucester. Due to the important legacy of his wife - who owns a third of the lands of the late Earl of Gloucester - Amory becomes a wealthy landowner and is summoned for the first time on November 20, 1317 to Parliament. D'Amory is considered by the other barons of England as an avid favorite. England is at this time in a difficult situation because of military defeats against Scotland and the Great Famine of 1315-1317. These crises, added the favors showered on the King's courtiers afoul of the great barons, whose leader is Thomas Plantagenet, 2nd Earl of Lancaster. Lancaster's opposition to the courtiers remained until 1319, when the earl retired from the affairs of the kingdom. Amory and Lancaster were hostile to each other: in October 1317, Lancaster occupied the royal castles of Knaresborough and Alton, both administered by D'Amory. He also accuses the favorite of wanting to attack his life. In November 1317, the moderate barons Aymar de Valence , 2nd Earl of Pembroke , and Bartholomew Badlesmere sent Amory a letter in which they ask him to refuse the new gifts the king is giving him. In August 1318, Lancaster and Edward's favorites reached a compromise at the signing of Leake's treaty." (Wikipedia)

Edward II's natural offspring.
" . . . It is worth noting that Edward II fathered at least one illegitimate child, a son named Adam, who apparently died in Scotland in 1321. Presumably this child was born prior to Edward’s accession, and this might have further reassured his father that the relationship with Gaveston, however unfortunate, would prove impermanent. . . ." (Menage a Roi)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

John Lackland of England--

John of England

King of England
Lord of Ireland
Son of: Henry II of England & Eleanor of Aquitaine.

The youngest of the nine children of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor, John was born into a dynasty already at war over titles and inheritance. Shortly after his birth he was sent, along with his sister Joan, to Fontevrault Abbey. Neither of his parents had any involvement in his upbringing and it is thought that a future in the church was encouraged. x x x. John is thought to have been the favorite son of King Henry II and there is much evidence to this fact. . . ."(Anglotopia)

Husband of:
 1. Isabel, Countess of Gloucester (bef. 1176-1217?)mar 1189, div 1199, daughter of William, Earl of Gloucester & Hawise de Beaumont.

" . . . King Henry II transferred ownership of three prominent castles and estates into John’s name. In 1176 King Henry had the sisters of Isabelle of Gloucester disinherited so that he could betroth her to John, securing for him her vast fortune. . . ." (Anglotopia)

" . . . John was crowned King of England on April 7th 1199 at Westminster Abbey. John’s ten year marriage to Isabel of Gloucester was childless so once he became King he quickly had the marriage annulled. . . ." (Anglotopia)

2. Isabelle, Comtesse d'Angouleme (c1187-?), mar 1200, daughter of Aymer Taillefer, Count of Angouleme & Alice de Courtenay.

" . . . John kidnapped Isabella of Angouleme from her fiancée Hugh IX le Brun, Count of Lusignan, and married her in a ceremony on 24th August 1200. Isabella was between nine and twelve years old at the time she became Queen of England, young even for medieval standards, but the King was thought to be besotted by her. . . ." (Anglotopia)

"Between the years 1207 and 1215, Isabella bore John five healthy children who all lived into adulthood and took up powerful positions in the English nobility. John also acknowledged up to 12 illegitimate children, many of whom were the result of him seducing the wives and children of his barons. Incredibly, following John’s death, Isabella returned to Angouleme to marry her original fiancée, Hugh IX le Brun, with whom she gave birth to a further nine children." (Anglotopia)

John's spouses.
"When John, the youngest of the Plantagenets, had been called Lackland because all his father's possessions had been promised to his older brothers, it was arranged to improve his lot by a rich marriage. Avisa, the heiress of the Earl of Gloucester and granddaughter of the great Robert of Gloucester who had been Stephen's chief opponent in the years of the anarchy, was the greatest catch in England. She was a handsome young woman with huge estates in the West, extending into Glamorgan. John had no financial worries after his marriage to Avisa, but when suddenly and unexpectedly he became King of England and saw by an unhappy mischance the radiantly lovely Isabella of Angouleme, he put pressure on the high churchmen of the kingdom and secured a divorce on the grounds of consanguinity, Robert of Gloucester having been an illegitimate son of Henry I. It is perhaps needless tp state that King John kept a large part of the Gloucester estates for himself. With what was left, however, Avisa made her second husband, Geoffrey de Mandeville, the richest peer in England; a match which John arranged himself and for which he collected from the bridegroom a fee of eighteen thousand marks. Avisa was a widow again when Hubert de Burgh's wife Beatrice died, and she was no longer young. Certainly she had reached the stage where continual childbearing had played havoc with the figure and the usual trouble with teeth had begun. . . By the most favorable reckoning Avisa was in her middle forties and older than Hubert de Burgh. It is said that she was still attractive; and certainly she was the possessor of broad acres and fine manors and large herds of cattle." (The Magnificent Century)

John lost all English territories in France, his treasure, his crown and his life.
"King John is thought to be the antithesis of King Richard, the Lionheart who preceded him. If Richard was tall, strong, brave and an accomplished military leader, John was short, weak, cowardly and completely unskilled in the art of war. After attempting to steal the English crown from his brother Richard, who had entrusted John to look after his Kingdom while he led the Third Crusade, John legally inherited the throne in 1199 when Richard was killed in battle. King John’s is remembered today for his sealing of the Magna Carta, a document sealed under pressure to avoid a full scale civil war. John lost all English territories in France, his treasure, his crown and his life aged just 49." (Anglotopia)

A life of lust.
"But even though John may not have impregnated women after his second marriage, there is no indication that he stopped hitting on them. Some of his lovers have been identified.There was the 'widow Hawise,' a woman named Suzanne, and another named Clementia. In 1212, the king sent a chaplet of roses, plucked from his justiciar's garden, to an unnamed mistress. John was also rumored to have lusted after the wife of one of his vassals, Eustace de Vesci, but the woman cleverly hired a professional prostitute to take her place in the bed. Eustace de Vesci was one of the nobles who took up arms against John in the baronial uprisings of 1212-1216, so it's possible that the king's libido had something to do with de Vesci's hostility." (Royal Pains: A Rogues' Gallery of Brats, Brutes, and Bad Seeds)

A reputation for lasciviousness.
"John had a reputation for lasciviousness. 'He deflowered the wives and daughters of his nobles: not a woman was spared if he was seized by the desire to defile her in the heat of his lust'--so wrote the Cistercian chronicler of Meaux. A French chronicler claimed that John lusted after beautiful women greatly, and thereby caused shame to the great men of his realm, by whom he was hated. Neither of these writers was unbiased, but John certainly had many mistresses and at least seven bastards . . . (T)here is little doubt that, while few if any of his seven or eight bastards were born after 1200, John continued to take mistresses to the end of his life." (Given-Wilson & Curteis, 1984, p. 127)

A plot to murder the king for seducing baron's women.
"On 16 August 1212 at Nottingham, John suddenly learnt of a baronial plot either to murder him or leave him to his fate during the campaign in Wales. Of the two known conspirators one was the cagey, independent Eustace de Vesci, the lord of Alnwick in Northumberland. The other was Robert fitz Walter, lord of Little Dunmow in Essex and Baynards Castle in London. . . Fitz Walter nursed grievances over debts and thwarted claims to Hertford castle. He also put it about that John tried to seduce his daughter. Vesci, if the later story can be believed, resented similar attentions to his wife. Both Henry I and Henry II had been promiscuous, but never with political repercussions. In John's case accusations that he tampered with the wives and daughters of his magnates were widespread and not always without foundation. An entry on one of the chancery rolls reveals John apparently joking with his mistress, the wife of Hugh de Neville, over what a night back with Hugh was worth; the answer, a ridiculous 200 chickens. Together with his murders such activities show why hostility to John too on such a personal hue. They do not explain Magna Carta, but they were a major factor in the rebellion which led up to it." (The Struggle for Mastery: Britain, 1066-1284: 285)

Physical  appearance & personal qualities.
"John was undoubtedly Henry;s favourite legitimate son. Now sixteen, he was about five feet six inches tall and favoured his brother Geoffrey in looks, having thick, dark red, curly hair and a strongly built body, which, as he grew older, became portly as a result of over-indulgence in good food and wine. We do not know what John really looked like: his effigy in Worcester Cathedral is a stylised representation that was sculpted some years after his death and cannot be termed a portrait in any sense of the word." (Eleanor of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England: 238)

Small of stature, with the appearance of a toad, and the nature of a weasel.
" . . . A contemporary described John as 'small of stature, with the appearance of a toad, and the nature of a weasel. Isabelle probably made comparison between middle aged King John and her former fiance, seventeen-year-old Hugh de Lusignan, and arrived at conclusions unfavorable to John." (Lives of England's Reigning and Consort Queens:106)

"It was said that unlike his tall and handsome brothers, John was short and stocky. . . ." (The British Chronicles, Vol 1: 319)

" . . . He was spoilt in childhood by his parents, and he grew up without morals or any sense of responsibility or duty and was totally self-indulgent. He clowned during solemn ceremonies, was tactless and insulted foreign ambassadors by laughing at their unfamiliar appearance, and never missed a chance at cheating someone." (The British Chronicles, Vol 1: 319)

"Richard I's reign was followed by Henry II's youngest son, John, who had always been Henry's favorite. King John, known as John Lackland, ruled England from 1199 to his death 17 years later. During his reign, England lost the Duchy of Normandy to King Philip II of France. John is credited for the Magna Carte, a document which is believed to be the beginning of the constitution of the United Kingdom. He has been chronicled as an able administrator and general, but had personality flaws: pettiness, spitefulness and cruelty. His worst fault however was said to be his lustful lack of piety. While married to his first wife, Isabella of Angouleme, he had many mistresses and some of them married noblewomen, which was considered to be unacceptable." (Time of Castles: A Search for Ancestors: 61)

John Lackland's lovers were:
1) Adela de Warenne (c1168-1186)

Daughter of Hamelin de Warenne, 4th Earl of Surrey & Isabel de Warenne, 4th Countess of Surrey.

Natural offspring:
a. Richard FitzRoy

2) Agatha de Ferrers (c1168-1216)

Daughter of William de Ferrers, 3rd Earl of Derby & Sybil de Braose

3) Clemence le Boteler (1170-1216)

Daughter of: Philippe le Boteler.

Wife of: Sir Nicholas de Verdun

4) Clemence Pinel (1170-1216)

Also known as:
Clemence d'Arcy
Clementia, Clementina.

Daughter of: Geoffroy d'Arcy & Agnes d'Arcy.

Wife of: Henry Pinel.

Natural offspring:
a. Joan Plantagenet (d.1237), Lady Snowdon, mar Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, Prince of Wales (1173-1240). Had issue.

5) Hawise Fitzwarin (c1167-c1217)

Natural offspring:
a. Oliver FitzRoy.

6) Hawise d'Aumale.

7) Hawise de Tracy.

Natural offspring:
a. Oliver (d.1290)

8) Matilda Gifford.
Lover in 1190.

9) NN de Warenne.

10) Susanna.

Natural offspring:
a. Richard FitzJohn of Dover, Baron of Chilham, Kent (d. 1442/53), mar Rohese (d. by 1232), daughter of Fulbert of Dover. Had issue.

John Lackland's natural offspring by unknown mothers:

1. Osbert Gifford (d. after 1216)
2. Geoffrey FitzRoy (d. 1205)
4. John FitzJohn or Courcy (d.1242), a knight, perhaps a clerk at Lincoln
5. Odo or Eudo FitzRoy (d.1242?)
6. Ivo (confused with Odo?)
7. Henry, he married a minor heiress
8. Richard, Constable of Wallingford Castle
9. Matilda (?), Abbess of Barking
10. Isabella la Blanche (?)

Henry II of England--

Henry II framed by an Arabic arch
Henry II of England
@History Extra

King of England
Duke of Normandy
Duke of Aquitaine
Lord of Ireland

Husband ofEleanor d'Aquitaine, mar 1152
The Early Years of Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine – Rebecca Starr ...
Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine
Neglecting an independent wife with a power base.
"Henry had married Eleanor in 1154 and at first all went stunningly well. She produced eight children by him who grew to maturity, four boys and four girls. This was a great achievement for the times, but it gave Henry II the opposite problem to his grandfather Henry I, whose only son and heir had died young. By 1163, however, Henry and Eleanor were partially estranged. They saw less of each other while Henry dallied with mistresses, notably Rosamund Clifford, whom he set up in a love nest at Woodstock. Eleanor withdrew to her native Aquitaine, where she set up a court at Poitou, complete with troubadours and minstrels. This was the disadvantage of neglecting a wife who had an independent power base. The male children grew up under Eleanor's wing, and abetted by her, began to seek independent power within their father's empire. Henry eventually died when he was only 56, but he would have died a happier man if he had died sooner, for he was to see all his sons betray him. . . ." (History of England)

The most important monarch in Europe.
"So Henry II became the first Angevin or Plantagenet king of England. The term Plantagenet derives from the yellow broom Planta Genesta which appears in the coat of arms of the Count of Anjou. It is often said that here was a king who had everything going for him. Still only a young man, he was the most important monarch in Europe. He controlled not only England and South Wales but also all of the western half of France, apart from Brittany, whose overlord he was soon to become (to the extent that he was later able to nominate his son Geoffrey to marry its heiress and become its duke). He was a man of great ability and constant energy, firm as a monarch needed to be, and determined to enforce the law; but it all went so terribly wrong. He was a passionate man, and sometimes his temper got the better part of him. So did his sexual appetite, for no woman was too high or too low for him, from a princess to his own ward." (History of England)

Henry II's physical appearance & personal qualities.
"Though not handsome, Henry was larger than most men, stocky and quite powerful: a power which came across in his personality. His energy was overwhelming, and his anger legendary, as was his love of hunting. He dressed simply in hunting clothes and was rarely seen either out of the saddle or without a hawk on his arm. Yet paradoxically, this archetypal man of action was an intensely private intellectual. Multi-lingual, he liked to retire with a book, was well-polished in letters and enjoyed scholarly debate. He was also very approachable and never forgot a face. He shunned regular hours and his propensity to change his schedule at short notice was infamous. This often translated into an ability to react to unforeseen circumstances with astonishing rapidity and decisiveness." (BBC History)

A man of strong sexual appetites.
"Henry II was a man of strong sexual appetites. He fathered at least two bastards before his marriage: one was William 'Longsword', who became earl of Salisbury; the other was Geoffrey 'Plantagenet'---the son of a common whore called Ykenai---whom he tried to make bishop of Lincoln and who was later his chancellor and eventually archbishop of York. An item in the Pipe Rolls seems to refer to another mistress: 'For clothes and hoods and cloaks and for the trimming for two capes of samite and for the clothes of the queen and of Bellebelle.' Unfortunately nothing is known of the promisingly Bellebelle. In the 1160s there was a nasty accusation by a rebellious Breton vassal, Eudo de Porhoet, that the king had seduced his daughter when she was his hostage. Later Henry fathered a child on a prospective daughter-in-law, and he was obviously quite ruthless in satisfying his lusts. William of Newburgh says that the king did not begin to be unfaithful to the queen until she was past childbearing, but the statement does not carry with conviction." (Eleanor of Aquitaine: The Mother Queen of the Middle Ages)

Betrayal, bastards and boredom.

"No chronicler gives any explanation, unless one can accept the opinion of Gerald of Wales that it was contrived by God to punish Henry for having married another man's wife. It may be supposed that Eleanor had been alienated by her husband's adulteries, but there is very little evidence to support such assumption. Henry undoubtedly had two bastards -- Geoffrey 'Plantagenet', and William 'Longsword' -- but both were almost certainly born before his marriage. Both were publicly acknowledged and generously rerated. Geoffrey in particular was a prominent figure: he was bishop-elect of Lincoln in 1173 and subsequently royal chancellor. That these two were well-known and that no others are suggests that there were no more. It is true that Henry was alleged to be concupiscent, and was even said to have been accused by Eudo de Porhoet of having seduced his daughter while she was his hostage; but it is impossible in these stories to separate from from malicious gossip. And even if Henry were unfaithful it need not be supposed that Eleanor was unduly distressed. She had herself been imprudent in her younger days, and scandal spoke of liaisons with her uncle, Count Raymond of Tripoli, and with Henry's father, Geoffrey of Anjou. William of Newburgh says that Henry lapsed into adultery only after his wife was beyond child-bearing. Her last child, John, wa born in December 1167. In 1173 Henry II was forty, and Eleanor over fifty. It is possible that Henry had already begun a liaison with Rosamund Clifford which was to last until her death about 1176. Undoubtedly sh was the great love of his life -- he had a shrine erected to her in the nunnery of Godstow. Tales were told of Queen Eleanor's jealousy of 'Fair Rosamund' and of how she had poisoned her; but since the tales related to a period when Eleanor was in fact a closely guarded prisoner it is difficult to believe that they are anything more than romantic fantasies. Nothing, indeed, can be recovered for certain about Henry's relations with his wife until their obvious estrangement in 1173, and although lack of information does not preclude the possibility of jealousy, it is probable that the explanation lies in another quarter entirely." (Henry II: 119)

The king had whoremasters.

"Although in some senses quite unlike the deliberately darkened court of William Rufus, in which all manner of scandals were reputed to have occurred, Henry II's court was not without its night-time scandals of its own. The king himself fathered several bastards, some of them, we must assume, on women who were little more than whores. In other cases, however, the women were seduced were of a higher social standing, setting a paternal example that Henry's son, King John, was only too eager to follow. Besides his well-known liaisons with Annabel de Balliol and Rosamund de Clifford (herself, we might note, commemorated with a tomb at Godstow around which candles burned by night and by day), the king was accused by his detractors of the seduction of such women of the court as Alice, the daughter of King Louis VII, intended as bride of the future Richard I, and of a daughter of the prominent Breton magnate Eudo de Porhoet, these latter accusations involving more than a hint of incest. Among the king's bastard children, William Longuespee, future earl of Salisbury, was born to a woman named by William himself as ;my mother, the countess Ida', almost certainly to be identified as Ida de Tosny, married after William's birth to Roger Bigod, earl of Norfolk. Both in England and in Normandy the king had whoremasters." (Henry II: New Interpretations: 331)
Henry II's lovers were:
Alys de France
Comtesse de Vexin
1) Alys de France, Comtesse de Vexin (1160-1220)
Lover in 1176.

French princess & royal mistress.

a.k.a. Alais de France, Alais Capet; Alice of France.

Wife ofGuillaume III de Ponthieu (1178-1221)

"Alice of France, daughter of Louis VII of  France, and of Alice of Champagne [Alice's mother was Constance of Castile], was betrothed, at the age of fourteen, to Richard Coeur de Lion, second son of Henry II of England. She was taken to that country to learn the language, where her beauty made such an impression that Henry II, though then an old man, became one of her admirers. He placed her in the castle of Woodstock, where his mistress, the celebrated Rosamond Clifford, had been murdered, as was then reported, by his jealous wife, Eleanor of Guienne. Alice is said to have taken the place of Rosamond

"Alais (pronounced 'Alice') Capet is the mistress of King Henry II of England and the sister of King Philip II of France. Alais is a beautiful twenty-three-year-old woman who has been Henry's mistress since she was sixteen years old. In a treaty between France and England that was made when she was a young girl, Alais was promised in marriage to whichever of Henry's sons he names as his successor. But Alais is deeply in love with Henry and does not want to marry any of his sons. However, she has no power whatsoever to determine her own future and is merely subject to the political wrangling of the other characters in the play. She describes herself as a 'pawn' in the political maneuvering between Henry, Eleanor, Philip and the three sons. Alais's only source of power lies with Henry's emotional attachment to her, although he makes it clear that he will not let his attachment interfere with his political decisions. Alais was brought to Henry's castle when she was seven years old and was raised by Eleanor, but now she and Eleanor regard each other as rivals for Henry's affections." (A Study Guide for James A. Goldman's 'The Lion in Winter)

"In 1189 Richard formed an alliance with the new King of France, Philip Augustus, a much bolder man than his predecessor Kouis VIII. One motivator might have been that his proposed bride, the French princess Alais, had just given broth to an illegitimate child. According to rumour, the father was none other than Henry. By this time the king was 56 years old and had made many enemies. The war went disastrously for him; watching Philip and Richard set fire to Le Mans, his home town, Henry sued for terms. Even as these were agreed he prayed to be spared enough time to gain his revenge. No doubt he would indeed have gained his revenge, but he was not spared the time. Two days later he learned to his horror that his youngest John, the one only one who had never betrayed him, wsa on the list of noblemen who had agreed to support Philip and Richard. He died, some say of a broken heart. The only son present at his deathbed was an illegitimate one, another Geoffrey. Henry is reported to have remarked as he died that 'The others are the read bastards'. So npw England had to prepare itself for the rule of one of those bastards, Richard the Lionheart." (History of England)

2) Alix de Porhoet (1185-1235).

Lover in 1168.
Abbess of Fontevraud, 1207-1216

Daughter of Eudes II de Porhoet & Alienor de Leon, daughter of Guihomar IV, Viscount of Leon

Wife of Guy III de Mauvoisin (117-1211). mar 1201

" . . . Viscount Eudes II of Porhoet was one of the greatest opponents of King Henry II of England in his struggle to impose Plantagenet hegemony in Brittany. Despite being the guardian of the young Conan IV, Eudes tried to usurp Conan's accession to power in Brittany, leading to ally with the Angevin monarch. It was then that Eudes adopted the title of 'Count of Brittany.' By 1164-67, Eudes had been defeated by Henry II and was required tp deliver one of his daughters as a hostage to the English king. Everything indicates that this daughter was Adelaide or Alix of Porhoet, the future prioress and abbess of Fontevraud. We know this from a letter by John of Salisbury reporting a meeting at La Ferte-Bernard in July 1168 between the kings of England and France, at which Eudo Britonum comes was present. There, he bitterly reproached Henry II for having committed adultery and incest, leaving his daughter pregnant, who had been a virgin and had been given as a guarantee of peace, since the Angevin monarch and Bertha of Brittany, wife of Eudes, were relatives." (The Sword and the Cross: Castile-León in the Era of Fernando III: 113)

"What is more, the seduction of Alys fits Henry's established modus operandi. If we look at Henry's other attested relationships, we can see a pattern of attraction to much younger women who were in his power and, as such, should have been forbidden fruit. In the 1160s there was Alix de Porhoet, the teenaged daughter of the Vicomte de Porhoet, a vassal of Henry whose seduction was decried by her father as 'treachery, adultery and incest' because of the fact that she was in his safekeeping and because of the blood relationship between them. . . ." (Eleanor of Aquitaine)

" . . . Alix de Porhoët, daughter of Eudes de Porhoët, ex-Duke of Brittany & his first wife --- . Given-Wilson & Curteis states that “Eudo de Porhoët, ex-count of Brittany” claimed in 1168 that the English king, while holding his daughter as a hostage for peace, had made her pregnant ‘treacherously, adulterously and incestuously; for the king and Eudo´s wife were the offspring of two sisters’” (referring to two daughters of King Henry I, one legitimate the other illegitimate, named Matilda). The primary source on which this information is based has not been identified." (geni)

3) Annabel de Balliol (d.1225)

Also known as:
Annabel de Greystoke.

Daughter of Bernard II de Balliol, Lord de Balliol & Agnes de Picquigny

Wife of:
1. Ranulf fitz Walter of Greystoke
2. Roger fitz Hugh

"This period is perhaps the best fit for an affair which Henry had at around this time with Annabel de Balliol, the sister of Eleanor's clerk Joscelin de Balliol, and daughter of a lord whose landholdings were near the Scottish border. Unless this young lady was actually in Eleanor's service, this period of time seems the only likely window for Henry to have met her. Annabel would later received the manor of Coniscliffe in Durham as her dowry with thanks 'for her service'. . . ." (Eleanor of Aquitaine)

4) Ida de Tosny.

Countess of Norfolk
Lover in 1175

Also known as:
Ida de Toeni
Ida de Toesny.

Daughter of: Ralph V de Toeny (d.1162) & Margaret of Leicester.

Wife of: Roger Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk (d.1221) mar 1181

Natural offspring:
a. William Longespee, Earl of Salisbury married Ela of Salisbury.

"And there is certainly incontrovertible evidence that at least during 1175 Henry had turned his attentions elsewhere: in 1176 one of Henry's wards, Ida de Tosny, herself a cousin of Rosamund Clifford, gave birth to Henry's son, the future William Longsword. Ida was probably the daughter of one Ralph de Tosny and Margaret Beaumont, daughter of the late Earl of Leicester, and may well have been daughter or niece to the mother of Henry's son Geoffroy. Once her father died in 1162, she became a royal ward until her marriage. Her parents having married sometime after 1155, Ida was at most nineteen in 1175, and very probably younger, since she was one of seven children and was also still deemed young enough for marriage to Roger Bigod in 1181. Again, however, it seems unlikely that Henry wished to marry her, since no substantial advantage could accrue to him from such a match." (Eleanor of Aquitaine)

" . . . Roger's wife was Ida de Tosny, and that she was given to him in marriage by Henry II, together with the manors of Acle, Halvergate and South Walsham, which had been confiscated after his father's death. As Roger had been holding them for three-quarters of a year at Michaelmas 1182, Morris dates the marriage to around Christmas 1181. . . ."  (Medieval Genealogy)

" . . . Ida, daughter of ---. William Longespee refers to his mother as "comitissa Ida, mater mea" and "Ida comitissa, mater mea" in two charters[392]. She is identified as the wife of Roger Bigod Earl of Norfolk. This identification is based on a list of hostages captured at the battle of Bouvines in 1214 which includes "Rad[ulfus] Bigot frater comitis Salesbir[iensis]". (geni)

5) Ikenai (lvg 1180/81)
Lover in 1150/51.

Also known as:

Natural offspring:
a. Geoffrey FitzRoy (1153-1189), Archdeacon of Lincoln, Bishop of Lincoln 1173-1182, Chancellor of England 1182-1189, Archbishop of York 1191.

"While considering Eleanor's household, the question of the presence of Henry's son Geoffroy arises. Geoffroy was born in 1151 to a woman Walter Map calls Ykenai and describes as a harlot. However, one possibility is that she was from the quasi-noble Akeny or Acquigny family, a name used in the slightly better known de Tosny family, who owned the castle of Acquigny in Normandy as well as lands in Hertfordshire and Clifford in the Welsh Marches; certainly Geoffroy was well educated, as might be expected of a son with quasi-noble blood. It also appears that a lady of this family received lands 'for her service' to the king. Geoffroy was somewhat older than Eleanor's sons, but may well have been included in the royal nursery, at least until he was old enough to move into another house to commence his formal education." (Eleanor of Aquitaine)

" . . .  Henry II, for instance, had twelve illegitimate children, eight of whom were by a woman named Ikenai, described in some chronicles as 'a common prostitute'." (English History: Strange but True)

". . . Walter Mapes names "Ykenai" as mother of Geoffrey Bishop of York. She and her son arrived at King Henry's court soon after his accession." (geni)

6) Nesta Bloet (d.1224/25)
Lover in early/mid 1170s

Also known as:
Nest of Wales.

Daughter of Angharad, daughter of Uthred, Bishop of Llandaff, and Iorwerth ab Owain, the lord of Caerleon.

Wife of Ralph Bloet III (d.1199), Lord of Striguil

Natural offspring
a. Morgan, Bishop-elect of Durham

"From Westminster the court moved to Canterbury and Dover followed by Windsor, Reading and Wallingford before moving to Woodstock while Henry campaigned in Wales. It is here that we find the first clear traces of Henry's infidelity since his marriage to Eleanor; Nest, the daughter of the lord of Carleton, became pregnant by hum, and he married her to a tenant of Richard de Clare, Ralph Bloet. Their son, Morgan, may well have been taken into Eleanor's household, for he was certainly educated for the Church, in due course becoming Bishop-elect of Durham." (Eleanor of Aquitaine)

"Nesta, wife of Ralph Bloet, daughter of ---. Robert de Graystane's early 14th century History of the Church of Durham records the election as bishop of Durham in 1213 of “Morganus frater Regis Johannis et Galfridi archiepiscopi Eboracensis, præpositusque Beverlacensis”, that his appointment was blocked by Rome because he was born “spurius . . . Henricus pater eius” to “uxore . . . militis . . . Radulphi Bloeth”, and that the Pope offered to confirm the election if he declared that the king was not his father, which he refused to do." (geni)

7) Rosamund Clifford (1150-1176)
Lover in 1173-1176.

English aristocrat & royal mistress.

Also known as:

Fair Rosamund
the Rose of the World.

Daughter of Walter de CliffordBaron of Clifford & Margaret.

"It is likely that Henry began his long affair with Rosamund Clifford before 1167. Unlike his other mistresses she was not merely a sleeping partner but a genuine rival to the queen. It has often been suggested that it was this affair that turned Eleanor against Henry. Yet it is just likely that she was not altogether displeased with the affair, which left her free to intrigue. Perhaps as early as 1167 Eleanor started to hatch a vast and involved plot that would take many years of careful, secret preparation. 'Fair Rosamund' was the daughter of a knight from the Welsh border, Walter de Clifford, who had served in Henry's wars in Wales. It has been plausibly suggested that the king may first have met her during his Welsh campaign in 1165. We know little about her except that she was young and very beautiful. According to Gerald of Wales, some contemporaries made a play on her name and called her 'Rose of the World' (rosa-mundi). The legend of her beauty persisted down the ages. . . Legend also connects her with the palace of Woodstock. Gerald informs us that Henry was for long a 'secret adulterer' with her before he openly paraded Rosamund at his court as his mistress, presumably after his final break with Eleanor." (Eleanor of Aquitaine: The Mother Queen of the Middle Ages)

Woodstock Palace
First encounter - 1166.
" . . . A great beauty, Rosamund had first met Henry in 1166, and they began an affair in 1173---an affair that was so deeply emotional that Henry considered divorcing Eleanor, and he had no problem flaunting Rosamund in front of his wife in 1175 so that Eleanor would become angry and try to annul the marriage, but Eleanor was too wise to be provoked. Rosamund died suddenly in 1176, and rumors soon arose---and suspicions remain---that the queen had Henry's mistress poisoned for revenge." (Icons of the Middle Ages: 280)

"There were various speculations about the when and where in which King Henry II and Rosamund first met. Some felt that they became involved after Eleanor ceased to bear Henry any more children. (Henry certainly made no effort to be faithful to Eleanor, as there are numerous known mistresses and bastard children. Why, by some accounts, Henry even saw fit to 'try our' son Richard's intended bride to assure that she would be tempting enough in bed.) Other sources definitively state that Rosamund bore the King two sons, Geoffrey, who became the Archbishop of York, and William, who became the Earl of Salisbury. But other sources, who argue different dates in which they were involved, strongly feel that there were no children from the relationship." (Rosamund's Bower: 242)

She was the great love of his life.
" . . . In 1173 Henry II was forty, and Eleanor was over fifty. It is possible that Henry had already begun a liaison with Rosamund Clifford which was to last until her death about 1176. Undoubtedly she was the great love of his life -- he had a shrine erected to her in the nunnery at Godstow.  Tales were told of Queen Eleanor's jealousy of 'Fair Rosamund' and of how she had poisoned her...." (Henry II: 119)

". . . Rosamund Clifford, daughter of Walter de Clifford & his wife Margaret. . . The Chronicon Johannis Bromton abbatis Jornalensis (as cited by Eyton) records that Rosamond Clifford became "openly and avowedly the paramour of the king" after he imprisoned Queen Eleanor following the rebellion of his sons in 1173. Eyton adds that "for an indefinite time previously she had been secretly domiciled at Woodstock" but he does not cite the primary source on which he bases this statement. It is not known whether he draws the conclusion from the Chronicon Johannis Bromton (the original of which has not yet been consulted). Eyton also suggests that the start of the king's relationship with Rosamond can be dated to [1154] and that the king´s known illegitimate children Geoffrey Archbishop of York and William Longespee, later Earl of Salisbury, were Rosamond's sons. However, as can be seen below, Geoffrey´s birth is estimated to [1151] and William's to [1176], which is inconsistent with their being full brothers. In any case, as noted above, the name of Geoffrey´s mother is reported as Ikenai. The uncertain chronology of the family of Walter [I] de Clifford appears to be the key to resolving the question of when Rosamond´s relationship with the king started. As discussed in the document UNTITLED ENGLISH NOBILITY A-C in relation to the possible parentage of Walter [I]´s wife Margaret, it appears likely that their children were born after [1140] and, in the case of their son Walter [II], probably considerably later than this date. Rosamond´s appearance, with her brother Walter, as witness to the undated Dore abbey charter quoted above suggests that she was the only remaining unmarried daughter with her parents at the time, which in turn suggests that she was younger than her sisters. If this is correct, her birth could be as late as [1150/60], which would render Eyton´s hypothesis untenable. Further discussion of this problem will have to wait until more indications about the family chronology come to light. The Chronicon Johannis Bromton abbatis Jornalensis states that Rosamond died ("sed illa cito obiit")[388], his wording implying that her death occurred soon after the king´s relationship with her started, suggesting the period [1174/76]. “Walterus de Clifford” donated property to Godstow nunnery in Oxfordshire, for the souls of "uxoris meæ Margaretæ de Clifford et filiæ nostræ Rosamundæ", by undated charter. . . Rosamond´s corpse was removed from its burial place on the orders of Hugh Bishop of Lincoln]. She was known as "Fair Rosamond", although the primary source on which this is based has not yet been identified." (geni)

8) Unnamed mistress.

Natural offspring:
a. Maud FitzRoy, Abbess of Barking 1175.