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Catherine of Valois

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Catherine of Valois Facts:

Known for: wife of Henry V of England, mother of Henry VI, grandmother of Henry VII the first Tudor king, also the daughter of a king
Dates: Dates: October 27, 1401 - January 3, 1437
Also known as: Katherine of Valois
Parents: King Charles VI of France and Isabella of Bavaria

Catherine of Valois Biography:

Catherine of Valois, daughter of the King of France, was married to Henry V of England, but only after Henry's demand for return of Normandy and Aquitaine as part of the marriage pact triggered a war between France and England. After the Treaty of Troyes was signed, Catherine and Henry were married on June 2, 1420.

As part of the treaty, Henry won control of Normandy and Aquitaine, became regent of France during Charles' lifetime, and won the right to succeed on Charles' death. If this had come to pass, France and England would have been united under one monarch. Instead, during the minority of Henry VI, the French Dauphin, Charles, was crowned as Charles VII with the aid of Joan of Arc in 1429.

Catherine of Valois was crowned Queen of England at Westminster Abbey in February, 1421. The son of Catherine and Henry, the future Henry VI, was born in December of 1421. Henry V died in August 1422, leaving the crown of England in the hands of a minor. During Henry's youth he was educated and raised by Lancastrians while the Duke of York, Henry's uncle, held power as Protector.

After the death of her husband, Henry V, Catherine of Valois began a secret relationship with Owen Tudor, a Welsh squire. In 1428 Parliament reacted to the rumors about this relationship by forbidding Catherine from marrying without consent of the king and the council. Historians are divided on whether Catherine had already married Owen Tudor before that Act of Parliament, or whether they married secretly in 1429.

In 1436, Owen Tudor was imprisoned and Catherine retired to Bermondsey Abbey, where she died the next year.

Catherine of Valois and Owen Tudor had five children, half-siblings to King Henry VI. One daughter died in infancy and another daughter and three sons survived. The eldest son, Edmund, became Earl of Richmond in 1452. Edmund married Margaret Beaufort. Their son won the crown of England as Henry VII, claiming his right to the throne through conquest, but also through descent through his mother, Margaret Beaufort.

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