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View Diary: Richard III’s Body Found? (310 comments)

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  •   Gaunt's mistress was Chaucer's sister-in-law and (7+ / 0-)

    was neither English nor noble -- her father was a herald in the court of Gaunt's mother who came from, IIRC, Brabant.  People presume that she was a maid-of-honor (!) to his wife and/or his legit children's governness.  Chaucer and his wife apparently also were retainers in Gaunt's household for a while.  In fact, Chaucer's "Book of the Duchess" was dedicated to Gaunt's first wife.   But there's also a theory that Gaunt's son, Henry IV, had Chaucer killed soon after usurping the crown from his cousin, Richard II, to
    whom Chaucer purportedly remained loyal.

    Incidentally, the Yorkist kings (Edward & Richard III) were also descendants of Gaunt & Kathryn Swynford -- the Yorkists' maternal grandmother was Joan Beaufort, their daughter.  As was the Duke of Buckingham and about half the major characters in "Richard III" and the Henry VI plays.  The Yorkist claim to the throne, however, was that they werecdescendants of Gaunt's older brother, a line that had been passed over when Gaunt's son usurped the crown.  

          Another Beaufort grand-daughter became queen of Scotland and hence Gaunt & Swynford still remained ancestor of the British royal line when James I took over from the Tudors.  (Of course, his great-grandmother was Henry VIII's sister; so he was part Tudor as well.)

    One other sidelight about Chaucer.  His son was the elected head of the Commons several times, that son's daughter married one of the most powerful nobles of the time (Duke of Suffolk), and their daughter helped raise Henry VII's father and uncle.  For all of the earthiness in "The Cantebury Tales," Chaucer was most definitely a court poet.

    •  Katherine (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia, vcmvo2

      I loved the book about her by Anya Seton and read it several times when I was younger. Years later, when I visited Lincoln Cathedral, I was surprisingly moved to find her tomb there, which led to rediscovery of the novel and a lot of related reading. Those were certainly interesting times - and fascinating people.

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