Birthday: October 27, 1401
Died At Age: 35
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Born Country: France
Born in: Paris, France
Famous as: Queen Consort of England
Empresses & Queens
Spouse/Ex-: Henry V of England, Owen Tudor
father: Charles VI of France
mother: Isabella of Bavaria
siblings: Charles VII of France, Isabella of Valois
children: Daughter Tudor, Edmund Tudor - 1st Earl of Richmond, Henry VI, Jasper Tudor, Owen Tudor Catherine of Valois, Sir Jasper Tudor - 1st and last Duke of Bedford
Died on: January 3, 1437
place of death: London, England, United Kingdom
Who was Catherine of Valois?
Catherine of Valois was the queen consort of England from 1420 until 1422, as the wife of King Henry V of England. She was the daughter of the beloved but mentally unstable King Charles VI of France and a princess of France until her marriage to the king of England in 1420. She was also the proud mother of King Henry VI of England, who ruled the country on two occasions between 1422 and 1471. As a young girl, she was neglected by her family, especially her mother. Catherine spent her adolescent years at Poissy convent in France. In her short life, she witnessed great turmoil and had a troubled existence. She lost her husband, King Henry V of England, as a young woman. She later had an affair with the Welsh courtier Sir Owen Tudor; this relationship had a major role to play in the establishment of the Tudor Dynasty.
Childhood & Early Life
Catherine of Valois was born on October 27, 1401, in Paris, France, to King Charles VI of France and Queen Isabella of Bavaria. She was the youngest daughter of the pair and the third youngest of the twelve children they had, of whom four died young.
It is believed that Catherine had a lonely childhood as she was neglected by her mother and didn’t have a good life. According to historical sources, Catherine’s mother sent her to a convent in Poissy to study religion.
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Marriage With Henry V of England
Catherine’s father, King Charles VI of France, was in war with England. Henry V of England, the son of Henry IV of England, won the Battle of Agincourt which was one of the first wins over a hundred years of war.
In 1420, the Treaty of Troyes was signed between King Charles VI of France and Henry V, which would result in Henry V marrying Catherine.
Henry V saw Catherine for the first time at Meulan-en-Yvelines and was immediately charmed by her beauty. They were married at the Parish Church of St John in June 1420, and Charles VI also recognized Henry V as the heir to the French throne.
Upon their marriage, the couple returned to England with Catherine being crowned as the queen in Westminster Abbey in February 1421. A few days later, King Henry returned to France to continue his engagement in the war.
In December 1421, Queen Catherine gave birth to their son, Henry VI, while King Henry was busy with warfare in France. The king never saw their son as he died during the siege of Meaux in August 1422.
Catherine lost her father within a few months of losing her husband. The death of King Charles VI made the newborn Henry VI the king of France and England. As Catherine was just 21 years of age, the royal court feared she might marry again, putting the future of young Henry VI in jeopardy.
The Duke of Gloucester, Humphrey, became the guardian of the future king and tried to protect the interest of the young king in every way possible. There were many rumors about Catherine wanting to remarry, but the duke did not approve of the choices.
Affair With Owen Tudor
Sir Owen Tudor, a Welsh courtier who was in service of the late King Henry V’s steward Sir Walter Hungerford, caught Catherine’s attention. Tudor was in charge of Catherine’s household while living at Windsor Castle when he and Catherine fell in love. She became pregnant with their son, but there was no evidence of them being married.
There were rumors of the two being secretly married. However, even if they were married, the laws wouldn’t approve of it. The parliament granted Owen Tudor the rights of an Englishman, and with Catherine’s influence in the royal family, the Tudor Dynasty started to rise.
Apart from their first son, Henry VII, who would later became the king of England, they had five more children.
Death & Legacy
During the birth of their last child, Catherine died of childbirth-related complications on January 3, 1437. However, there was a rumor of her dying not of childbirth, but of an illness for which she had been seeking a cure. Her mortal body was rested at the old Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey, and with her death, Owen Tudor lost his biggest support in England.
Tudor was arrested and sent to prison for violating the law of remarrying a queen dowager. He was later released and was knighted by King Henry VII.