Sunday, 31 October 2010

Anniversary greetings to Piers and Margaret

November 1st is the 703rd anniversary of the marriage of Piers Gaveston and the king’s niece, Margaret de Clare. Edward 1st had died on July 7th 1307. The new king, Edward II, quickly recalled Piers and wasted little time in finding a royal bride for him. The chronicles state recalling Piers was Edward’s first act as king. He then made Piers the Earl of Cornwall, and a royal bride would surely complete his elevation into the nobility. Maybe it as also Edward’s way of ‘officially’ bring Piers into his own family.

Margaret de Clare was the king’s niece and sister of the young earl of Gloucester. Her mother was the king’s late sister, Joan of Acre and her first husband Gilbert, Earl of Gloucester. Despite the hostility the chroniclers were later to heap upon Piers, his marriage attracted little of their attention. We know the marriage took place at Berkhamsted and the king himself attended. Naturally, Edward was generous with his gifts where Piers was concerned. He gave the couple jewels totalling £30, £36 17s. 7d. on gifts for her ladies, £20 for a palfrey for Margaret and £20 for minstrels. In a further act of generosity, Edward provided £7, 10s. 6d. on coins for which to shower the couple as hey entered the church.

We have no evidence to tell us how Margaret felt about her marriage, but I doubt she was displeased with it. She was married to the king’s favourite and had become a countess. More honours would surely follow. And if we are to believe the descriptions of Piers, that he was handsome, graceful and well-mannered, she may well have been delighted. Margaret would of course have known her duty.


Susan Higginbotham said...

Happy anniversary! I too think Margaret was quite happy with her marriage.

Kathryn Warner said...

Happy Anniversary, Piers and Margaret! I agree she was most likely happy with her marriage - she became countess of Cornwall at only 13, after all, and the writers who assume on no evidence that she was 'tragically' married to Piers are not seeing him through the eyes of an adolescent girl...;-)

Anerje said...

I think I would have 'swooned with joy!' if I'd been Margaret:> Tragedy, indeed! And there's no criticism from those all important chroniclers, as far as I know.

Gabriele C. said...

I'm with Kathryn. I suppose it was something like telling a today's teenage girl she was going to marry Orlando Bloom. :) And that in a time where chance was that she would have been married off to a widower of 40something.