Abbildungen der Seite




Joanna assumes the title of queen—Writes to Henry IV.-Embarks for England —Her infants—Perils at sea—Lands at Falmouth—Married at Winchester— Nuptial feast—Honours paid to her by the Londoners—Historical picture of her coronation—Tournament—King Henry's grants to Joanna—Arrival of her son Arthur—Joanna's foreign household—Her Breton servants dismissed— Marriage of her two daughters—Peril from pirates—Unpopularity of Joanna —She mediates peace with Bretagne—Additions to her dower—Her monument to her first husband—Queen's lead-mines—Sickness and death of king Henry —His will—Widowhood of Joanna—Her political influence—Capture of her son Arthur at Agincourt—She returns public thanks for the victory—Joanna a lady of the Garter—Her merchant—Her presents to her son's wife—Joanna is arrested at Havering-Bower—Accused of sorcery—Goods and dower confiscated–Imprisoned at Leeds-castle—Removed to Pevensey—Remonstrance of her son—Her doleful captivity—Henry V.'s death-bed remorse—Restoration to her rank and possessions—Her death—Her children—Obsequies—Her tomb—Mysterious reports—Exhumation of the bodies of Henry IV. and Joanna.

JoANNA assumed the title of queen of England some months before her departure from Bretagne,' and she is mentioned as such in all contemporary documents. She appears to have exerted a sort of matrimonial influence with her royal bridegroom soon after the ceremonial of their espousals had been performed by proxy; for we find that she wrote to Henry in behalf of one of her countrymen, the master of a Navarrese wine-ship, who had been plundered of his cargo, in the reign of Richard II., by William Prince, a captain in the earl of Arundel's fleet. Her mtercession proved effectual; for king Henry, as he expressly states, “at the request of his dearest consort, enjoins his admiral, Thomas Rampstone, to see that * Dom Morice. Rymer's Foedera, vol. viii.

proper satisfaction be made to the master of the wine-ship by the said William Prince.” Previous to her departure from Bretagne, Joanna sold the government of her castle of Nantes to Clisson for twelve thousand crowns; and having only tarried to complete this arrangement, she, on the 20th of December, 1402, proceeded to Camaret with her two infant daughters, Blanche and Marguerite, their nurses, and a numerous train of Breton and Navarrese attendants.” The English fleet, with the two half-brothers of her affianced bridegroom, (the earl of Somerset and Henry Beaufort, bishop of Lincoln,) and Thomas Percy, earl of Worcester, the lord chamberlain of England,” had been waiting at that port a considerable time. Joanna, with her daughters and her retinue, embarked at Camaret, January 13th, in a vessel of war commanded by the young earl of Arundel." The expedition sailed the same day with a favourable wind, but encountered a dreadful tempest at sea, by which the vessels were much damaged. After tossing five days and five nights on the wintry waves, Joanna and her children were driven on the coast of Cornwall; and instead of landing at Southampton, their original destination, they disembarked at Falmouth. From thence the illustrious travellers proceeded to Winchester, where king Henry was in waiting with his lords to receive his long-expected bride. The nuptials between Joanna and Henry were publicly solemnized, February 7th, 1403, in that ancient royal city, in the church of St. Swithun, with great pomp.” The bridal feast was very costly, having two courses of fish; and at the end of the second, panthers crowned were introduced for what was, in the quaint language of the times, called a sottiltie, or banquet-ornament of confectionary. Eagles . crowned formed the sottiltie at the end of the third course."

* Rymer's Foedera. * Dom Morice. * Rymer's Foedera.

* He was the son of the brave Richard Fitzalan, lord admiral of England, who was beheaded by Richard II. There is, in the eighth volume of Rymer, a lively supplication from this nobleman to the king, “setting forth that he had provided. by the royal command, a ship well appointed with victuals, arms, and thirty-six mariners, for the service of bringing our lady the queen from Bretagne, and praying to be reimbursed from the exchequer for these expenses.”

* Acts of Privy Council, by sir H. Nicolas, vol. i. p. 189. Breton Chronicles.

* Willement's Regal Heraldry, p. 31.



Great preparations were made by the citizens of London to meet and welcome the newly-married consort of the sovereign of their choice on her approach to the metropolis. Among other expenses for the civic procession ordained in her honour, the grocers' company allowed Robert Stiens, their beadle, 6s. 8d. for riding into Suffolk to hire minstrels; he engaged six, namely, a panel mynstrale et ses rampagnons, probably meaning companions. The Suffolk musical band was paid four pounds for riding to Blackheath to meet the queen. The mayor, the aldermen, and sheriffs went out in procession on this occasion, with the crafts in brown and blue, and every man a red hood on his head. Queen Joanna rested the first day at the Tower. That she went to Westminster in grand procession on the following, is ascertained by the entry for paying the said Suffolk minstrels 13s. 4d. on the morrow, when the queen passed through Cheapside to Westminster."

There is an exquisite drawing in a contemporary MS.” illustrative of Joanna's coronation, which took place February 26th, 1403, not quite three weeks after her bridal. She is there represented as a very majestic and graceful woman, in the meridian glory of her days, with a form of the most symmetrical proportions, and a countenance of equal beauty. Her attitude is that of easy dignity. She is depicted in her coronation robes, which are of a peculiarly elegant form. Her dalmatica differs little in fashion from that worn by our sovereign lady queen Victoria at her inauguration. It partially displays her throat and bust, and is closed at the breast with a rich cordon and tassels. The mantle has apertures, through which her arms are seen; they are bare, and very finely moulded. She is enthroned, not by the side of her royal husband, but, with the same ceremonial honours that are paid to a queen-regnant, in a chair of state placed singly under a rich canopy, emblazoned, and elevated on a very high platform of an hexagonal shape, approached on every side by six steps. Two archbishops have just crowned her, and are still

* Herbert's History of the Livery Companies. *Cottonian MS. Julius E 4, fol. 202. Stowe's Annals.

supporting the royal diadem on her head. Her hair falls in rich curls on her bosom. In her right hand she holds a sceptre, and in her left an orb surmounted by a cross, a very unusual attribute for a queen-consort, as it is a symbol of sovereignty, and could only have been allowed to queen Joanna as a very especial mark of her royal bridegroom's favour. In this picture, a peeress in her coronet and robes of state, probably occupying the office of mistress of the robes, stands next the person of the queen, on her right hand, and just behind her are seen a group of noble maidens wearing wreaths of roses, like the train-bearers of her majesty queen Victoria; affording a curious but probably forgotten historical testimony, that such was the costume prescribed anciently by the sumptuary regulations for the courtly demoiselles who were appointed to the honour of bearing the train of a queen of England at her coronation. John lord de Latimer received forty marks for release of the almoner's dish placed before queen Joanna at her coronation-banquet, he having the hereditary right of almoner on such occasions." Among other courtly pageants after this ceremonial, a tournament was held, in which Beauchamp earl of Warwick, surnamed ‘the Courteous,” maintained the lists in honour of the royal bride. “He kept joust on the queen's part against all other comers, and so notably and knightly behaved himself, as redounded to his noble fame and perpetual worship.” This quaint sentence is in explanation of another historical drawing, in which “queen Jane,” as she is there styled, is represented sitting with the king in state at an open gallery, attended by her ladies, beholding with evident satisfaction the prowess of her champion. Instead of her royal robes, the queen is here represented in a gown fitting close to her shape, and has exchanged her crown for one of the lofty Syrian caps then the prevailing head-dress for ladies of rank in England, with its large, stiff, transparent veil, supported on a framework at least two feet in height. The queen's ladies in

* Issue Rolls, 297.

* Cottonian MS. Julius E 4, folio 202. This is usually called ‘the Beauchamp MS.' and is one of the most precious relics in the British Museum.

waiting wear hoods and veils very gracefully draped, and by no means emulating the towering head-gear of their royal mistress. King Henry is by queen Joanna's side, wearing a furred gown and velvet cap of maintenance, looped up with a fleur-de-lis. His appearance is that of a gallant gentleman in middle life. The balcony in which the royal bride and bridegroom are seated is not unlike the royal stand at Ascot, only more exposed to public view; and the king and queen are both accommodated with the luxury of large square cushions for their elbows, with tassels at the corners. King Henry sits quite at ease, resting his arms on his cushion; but the queen leans forward, and extends her hands with a gesture of great animation, as she looks down on the contest. Warwick has just struck his opponent. His family badge, the bear and ragged staff, decorates his helmet. This historical sketch, besides its great beauty, is very valuable for its delineation of COstume. Joanna of Navarre was the first widow since the Norman conquest who wore the crown-matrimonial of England. She was, as we have seen, the mother of a large family. Her age, at the period of her second nuptials, must have been about three-and-thirty; and if past the morning freshness of her charms, her personal attractions were still very considerable. Her monumental effigy represents her as an elegantly formed woman. Her exemplary conduct as the wife of the most irascible prince in Christendom, and the excellence of her government as regent for her eldest son, had afforded unquestionable evidence of the prudence and wisdom of this princess, and she was in possession of a very fine dower; yet the marriage was never popular in England. It has been asserted, by many historians, that Henry IV. married the duchess-dowager of Bretagne chiefly with the view of directing the councils of the young duke her son. If such were his motives, they were completely frustrated by the maternal feelings of Joanna, who, consulting the welfare of her son and the wishes of his subjects rather than the interests of her second husband, placed her children, as we have seen, under the protection of the duke of Burgundy previously

« ZurückWeiter »