Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Daughter of Richard III

Author Susan Higginbotham shares some of her phenomenal research on the Plantagenets. To quote:
I was surprised to see that although Wikipedia has an entry on John, Richard III’s illegitimate son, there was no entry for his illegitimate daughter, Katherine Plantagenet. This may be because while little is known about John, even less is known about Katherine.

To start with, we do not know when John or Katherine were born or the identity of their mothers. It is often confidently asserted by admirers of Richard III that the children were born before his marriage, and while it seems likelier than not that Katherine at least was the product of his bachelor days, it is impossible to say this with certainty. We do not even know whether the children had the same mother.

Historian Rosemary Horrox, however, has identified a possible candidate as Katherine’s mother: Katherine Haute, who received an annuity of five pounds from Richard’s estates in East Anglia. Horrox suggests that Katherine was the wife of James Haute, a kinsman of Elizabeth Woodville. Had young Richard, Duke of Gloucester, wishing to make honorable provision for a former mistress, sought the queen’s help in arranging a suitable match for her? If so—and this is, of course, no more than speculation—it is yet another factor undermining the claim that the relationship between Richard and the queen was hostile before 1483.

Nothing is known about Katherine Plantagenet’s early years, or where she spent them. She is not named in the records of Richard’s coronation as one of the ladies receiving robes for the occasion. Richard’s seizure of the throne in 1483, however, wrought a vast change in Katherine’s own fortunes: the following year, she married an earl. (Read entire post.)

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