Mothers, Daughters, Marriage, Power: Some Plantagenet Evidence, 1150–1500

  • John Carmi Parsons


In the spring of 1282, envoys of Edward I of England were sent to Aragon to conclude negotiations, begun in 1273, to marry Edward’s eldest daughter to the Aragonese heir. The English agents were unexpectedly faced with the queen of Aragon’s demand that her future daughter-in-law be sent there at once, but the instructions Edward dispatched on 19 June show that Queen Constance would not have her way: Edward directed his envoys to tell her that his wife and his mother opposed sending the girl to Aragon, “propter teneritatem suam.” Thirteen that same week, she was old enough for marriage according to canon law, but the queens wanted to wait eighteen months from the next Michaelmas, and preferably two years (Francisque-Michel and Bémont 1885–1906: ii, no. 597; J. Parsons 1984: 260).1 The two queens were not out to stop the marriage — which was soon concluded by proxy (Prestwich 1988: 321, 325–26) — but this was not an isolated incident: two centuries later, for example, Margaret Beaufort asked her son Henry VII (born when she was thirteen) not to marry his daughter Margaret to the Scottish king until the girl was older (Jones and Underwood 1992: 40).


Conjugal Relation Premature Marriage International Marriage French King Popular Expectation 
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© John Carmi Parsons 1998

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  • John Carmi Parsons

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