Yolande of Dreux, Queen of Scotland

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Yolande of Dreux
Sceau de Yolande d'Ecosse - Duchesse de Bretagne.png
Yolande of Dreux
Countess of Montfort
Tenure 1311–1322
Predecessor Beatrice
Successor John II
Queen Consort of Scotland
Tenure 1285–1286
Born 1263
Died 2 August 1322(1322-08-02)
Spouse Alexander III of Scotland
Arthur II, Duke of Brittany
Issue
more...
John of Montfort
House Capetian House of Dreux
Father Robert IV, Count of Dreux
Mother Beatrice, Countess of Montfort

Yolande of Dreux (1263 – 2 August 1322) was a sovereign Countess of Montfort from 1311 until 1322. Through her first marriage to Alexander III of Scotland, Yolande became Queen consort of the Kingdom of Scotland. Through her second marriage to Arthur II, Duke of Brittany, she became Duchess Consort of Brittany.

Life[edit]

Coat of arms (House of Dreux)

Early life[edit]

She was the daughter of Robert IV, Count of Dreux, and Beatrice, Countess of Montfort. Her father was a patrilineal descendant of King Louis VI of France, making her a member of a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty with powerful connections.

Queen of Scotland[edit]

In 1281, king Alexander III of Scotland lost his son David and two other children in the two following years, leaving his granddaughter Princess Margaret of Norway his only heir. He was in need to remarry to have a new heir to the throne. Yolande was the stepdaughter of Jean de Brienne, the second spouse of king Alexander's mother, queen dowager Marie de Coucy, and considered a suitable match. Yolande was related to her husband Alexander III, through shared ancestry in the French noble houses of Coucy and Dreux. In addition to providing an heir for the Kingdom of Scotland, Alexander's marriage to Yolande represented a move to distance Alexander from his neighbour Edward I of England, and to emphasize Scottish independence from England.

An embassy was sent from Scotland in February 1285, and returned with Yolande in the company of her brother Jean. The marriage was celebrated on 15 October 1285 at Jedburgh Abbey, attended by a great many nobles of France and Scotland.

Alexander died on either 18 March or 19 March 1286, after falling from his horse, while riding from his court at Edinburgh to join Yolande at Kinghorn. Following his death, queen dowager Yolande moved to Stirling Castle and declared that she was pregnant. The Guardians of Scotland were elected by a parliament held at Scone, Perth and Kinross on 2 April or 28 April 1286 and swore to govern the kingdom until Alexander's declared heir princess Margaret of Norway arrived to take the throne, or Yolande gave birth to a son, in which case her son would be preferred over Margaret. If Yolande gave birth to a daughter, however, Margaret would be preferred over the infant princess.

It is unclear what happened to her pregnancy; either she had a miscarriage, or the baby was stillborn or died shortly after birth. However, by one account the Guardians gathered at Clackmannan on Saint Catherine's Day — 25 November 1286 — to witness the birth, but the child was stillborn. Tradition says the baby was buried at Cambuskenneth.[a] After the queen dowager's pregnancy did not result in a living child, the council begun preparations for Margaret of Norway to be taken to Scotland as their new sovereign.

Queen dowager Yolande remained in Scotland for a couple of years supported by her dower provisions and living possibly at Stirling Castle: it is known that she was still in Scotland at least as late as in 1288. At some point, she returned to France.

Duchess of Brittany and Countess of Montfort[edit]

In May 1294, she married Arthur II, Duke of Brittany. Together they had at least six children. Arthur died in 1312, being succeeded by his son John III, Duke of Brittany.

Yolande succeeded her mother as suo jure Countess of Montfort in 1311. She continued to manage her Scottish affairs: as late as shortly before her death, she is noted to have sent a knight to Scotland to see to her dower lands.

Yolande died on 2 August 1322. Her county of Montfort passed to her son John, who would later fight for his claim to his father's duchy in the Breton War of Succession.

Issue[edit]

Yolande and Arthur had at least six children:

  • John, born c. 1294, later Count of Montfort – known as Jean de Montfort
  • Beatrice, born c. 1295, married Guy X of Laval
  • Joan, born c. 1296, married Robert, son of Robert III of Flanders
  • Alice, born c. 1297–1377, married Bouchard VI of Vendôme
  • Blanche, born c. 1300, died young
  • Marie, born c. 1302, entered a convent

Ancestry[edit]

Note[edit]

  1. ^ It is also possible she had a phantom pregnancy, and according to one dubious English account she was faking pregnancy. See Peter Traquair Freedom's Sword.

References[edit]

  • Duncan, A.A.M., The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8
  • Macdougall, Norman, "L'Écosse à la fin du XIIIe sieclè: un royaume menacé" in James Laidlaw (ed.) The Auld Alliance: France and Scotland over 700 Years. Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, 1999. ISBN 0-9534945-0-0
  • Marshall, Rosalind, Scottish Queens, 1034-1714
  • Richard Oram: The Kings and Queens of Scotland
  • Timothy Venning: The Kings and Queens of Scotland
  • Mike Ashley: British Kings and Queens
  • Elizabeth Ewan, Sue Innes and Sian Reynolds: The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women
  • Mike Ashley, The Chronicle of Lanercost 1272-1346
Yolande of Dreux, Queen of Scotland
Born: 1263 Died: 2 August 1322
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Beatrice
Countess of Montfort
1311–1322
with Arthur (1311–1312)
Succeeded by
John II
Royal titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Margaret of England
Queen consort of Scotland
1285–1286
Vacant
Title next held by
Elizabeth de Burgh
Vacant
Title last held by
Blanche of Navarre
Duchess consort of Brittany
1305–1312
Succeeded by
Isabella of Aragon