Edward II's Nieces: The Clare Sisters (Hardback)
Powerful Pawns of the Crown
The de Clare sisters Eleanor, Margaret and Elizabeth were born in the 1290s as the eldest granddaughters of King Edward I of England and his Spanish queen Eleanor of Castile, and were the daughters of the greatest nobleman in England, Gilbert ‘the Red’ de Clare, earl of Gloucester. They grew to adulthood during the turbulent reign of their uncle Edward II, and all three of them were married to men involved in intense, probably romantic or sexual, relationships with their uncle.
When their elder brother Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, was killed during their uncle’s catastrophic defeat at the battle of Bannockburn in June 1314, the three sisters inherited and shared his vast wealth and lands in three countries, but their inheritance proved a poisoned chalice. Eleanor and Elizabeth, and Margaret’s daughter and heir, were all abducted and forcibly married by men desperate for a share of their riches, and all three sisters were imprisoned at some point either by their uncle Edward II or his queen Isabella of France during the tumultuous decade of the 1320s. Elizabeth was widowed for the third time at twenty-six, lived as a widow for just under forty years, and founded Clare College at the University of Cambridge.
Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II tells the story of ‘the greatest villain of the fourteenth century’, his dazzling rise as favourite to the king and his disastrous fall. Born in the late 1280s, Hugh married King Edward I of England’s eldest granddaughter when he was a teenager. Ambitious and greedy to an astonishing degree, Hugh chose a startling route to power: he seduced his wife’s uncle, the young King Edward II, and became the richest and most powerful man in the country in the 1320s. For years he dominated the English government and foreign policy, and took whatever lands…By Kathryn Warner
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