Elizabeth Fitzalan, Countess of Arundel

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Elizabeth Fitzalan
Countess of Arundel
Countess of Surrey
Died3 April 1385
Noble familyBohun
Spouse(s)Richard FitzAlan, 11th Earl of Arundel
IssueThomas FitzAlan, 5th Earl of Arundel
Lady Eleanor FitzAlan
Lady Elizabeth FitzAlan
Lady Joan FitzAlan
Lady Alice FitzAlan
Lady Margaret FitzAlan
son FitzAlan (name given as either Richard or William)
FatherWilliam de Bohun, 1st Earl of Northampton
MotherElizabeth de Badlesmere

Elizabeth Fitzalan (née de Bohun), Countess of Arundel, Countess of Surrey (c. 1350 – 3 April 1385) was a member of the Anglo-Norman Bohun family, which wielded much power in the Welsh Marches and the English government. She was the first wife of Richard FitzAlan, a powerful English nobleman and military commander in the reigns of Edward III and Richard II. She was the mother of seven of his children, and as the wife of one of the most powerful nobles in the realm, enjoyed much prestige and took precedence over most of the other peers' wives.

Family and lineage[edit]

Lady Elizabeth de Bohun was born around 1350, the daughter of William de Bohun, 1st Earl of Northampton, and Elizabeth de Badlesmere. Her older brother Humphrey de Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford, married Joan FitzAlan, a sister of the 11th Earl of Arundel, by whom he had two daughters. Elizabeth had a half-brother, Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March, by her mother's first marriage to Sir Edmund Mortimer.

Her paternal grandparents were Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford, and Elizabeth of Rhuddlan, daughter of King Edward I of England and Eleanor of Castile. Her maternal grandparents were Bartholomew de Badlesmere, 1st Baron Badlesmere, and Margaret de Clare.

Lady Elizabeth's parents both died when she was young, her mother having died in 1356, and her father in 1360.

Arundel Castle, principal residence of Richard Fitzalan and Elizabeth de Bohun

Marriage and issue[edit]

On 28 September 1359, by Papal dispensation,[1] Elizabeth married Richard FitzAlan, who succeeded to the earldoms of Arundel and Surrey upon the death of his father, Richard FitzAlan, 3rd Earl of Arundel in 1376. Their marriage was especially advantageous as it united two of the most powerful families in England. The alliance was further strengthened by the marriage of Elizabeth's brother, Humphrey to FitzAlan's sister Joan.

As the Countess of Arundel, Elizabeth was one of the most important women in England, who enjoyed much prestige, and after the Queen, the Duchesses of Lancaster and York, and the Countess of Buckingham, took precedence over the other noble ladies in the realm.

At the coronation of King Richard II, FitzAlan carried the crown. In the same year, 1377, he was made Admiral of the South and West. The following year, 1378, he attacked Harfleur, but was repelled by the French.

FitzAlan allied himself with the King's uncle Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, who was married to FitzAlan's niece Eleanor de Bohun, who was also Elizabeth's niece. The two men eventually became members of the Council of Regency, and formed a strong and virulent opposition to the King. This would later prove fatal to both men.

Richard and Elizabeth had seven children:[1]


Elizabeth de Bohun died on 3 April 1385 at the age of about thirty-five. She was buried at Lewes in Sussex. Her husband married secondly Philippa Mortimer on 15 August 1390, by whom he had a son: John FitzAlan (1394- after 1397).

Richard FitzAlan was executed by decapitation on 21 September 1397 at Tower Hill Cheapside, London for having committed high treason against King Richard.[4] His titles and estates were attainted until October 1400, when they were restored to his son and heir, Thomas FitzAlan, 5th Earl of Arundel, by the new king, Henry IV, who had ascended to the English throne upon the deposition of King Richard in 1399.



  1. ^ a b Cawley, Charles (August 2012), Earls of Arundel 1289–1580 (FitzAlan), Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,[self-published source][better source needed]
  2. ^ "PORTUGAL, Kings". Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  3. ^ "BOHUN".
  4. ^ Thomas B. Costain,The Last Plantagenet, pages 196–201