Blanche of England
|Blanche of England|
|Spouse||Louis III, Elector Palatine
m. 1402; wid. 1409
|Rupert, Hereditary Prince of the Palatinate|
|Father||Henry IV, King of England|
|Mother||Mary de Bohun|
Peterborough Castle, Northamptonshire
|Died||22 May 1409
|Burial||St Mary's at Neustadt, Electorate of the Palatinate|
Born at Peterborough Castle in Northamptonshire, Blanche was the sixth of the seven children born during the marriage of Prince Henry of Lancaster and his wife Mary of Bohun. At the time of her birth, Henry was only Earl of Derby and, thanks to his marriage, Earl of Northampton and Earl of Hereford; as the only surviving son of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster, he was the heir of the Duchy of Lancaster. Blanche was named after her paternal grandmother.
Of her six siblings, five brothers and one sister, only the eldest brother, Edward, died in infancy. The other four brothers were, in order: Henry of Monmouth (later King Henry V of England), Thomas, Duke of Clarence, John, Duke of Bedford and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. Blanche's sister was Philippa, who married Eric of Pomerania, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Mary of Bohun died on 4 June 1394 in Peterborough Castle after giving birth to her last child Philippa. Five years later, on 3 February 1399, after his father's death, Henry inherited the Duchy of Lancaster. Eight months later, on 13 October, he deposed his cousin King Richard II and was crowned King Henry IV. Blanche and her siblings were then elevated to the rank of Royal Princess and Princes of England. Three years later, in 1402, her father was remarried, to Joanna, daughter of King Charles II of Navarre and widow of Duke John V of Brittany. They had no children.
After his accession to the English throne, King Henry IV wanted to make important alliances in order to maintain and legitimize his rule. One needed ally was King Rupert of Germany, who also took the German throne after the deposition of King Wenceslaus: a marriage between Rupert's eldest surviving son Louis and Henry IV's eldest daughter Blanche was soon arranged.
The marriage contract was signed on 7 March 1401 in London; the bride's dowry was fixed in the amount of 40,000 Nobeln. The formal marriage between Blanche and Louis took place one year later, on 6 July 1402 at Cologne Cathedral, Germany. Despite its political nature, the marriage was said to be happy. Four years later, on 22 Jun 1406 in Heidelberg, Blanche gave birth to a son, called Rupert after his paternal grandfather.
Death and Aftermath
In 1408 Blanche was made Lady of the Garter. One year later, pregnant with her second child, she died of fever in Haguenau, Alsace and was buried in the canonchurch of St. Mary (today St. Aegidius) in Neustadt in the Palatinate.
Her widower became Elector Palatine as Louis III in 1410 after the death of his father King Rupert and in 1417 married Matilda, daughter of Amadeo, Prince of Achaea, member of the House of Savoy, who bore him six children. Blanche's son Rupert (nicknamed the English) died aged nineteen in 1426, unmarried and without issue. Elector Louis III died ten years later and was succeeded by the eldest son of his second marriage, Louis IV.
|Ancestors of Blanche of England|
- Walther Holtzmann: Die englische Heirat Pfalzgraf Ludwigs III., in: Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins No 43 (1930), pp. 1–22.
- The English Marriage of Elector Palatine Louis III
- The Crown of Princess Blanka in the Munich Treasury Residence