Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Countess Rivers

Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Countess Rivers

Female 1416 - 1472  (56 years)

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  • Name Jacquetta of Luxembourg 
    Suffix Countess Rivers 
    Born 1415-1416  Palace of Westminster, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3
    Gender Female 
    Also Known As Duchess of Bedford 
    Died 30 May 1472  [2, 3
    Person ID I46760  The Hennessee Family
    Last Modified 4 Nov 2017 

    Father Peter I, Count of Saint-Pol 
    Mother Margaret of Baux 
    Married Y  [4
    Family ID F18443  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Richard Woodville, Knight, 1st Earl Rivers,   b. 0___ 1405, Maidstone, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Aug 1469, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 64 years) 
    Married Bef 23 Mar 1437  [1, 2, 3, 5
    Residence (Family) England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
     1. Elizabeth Lucy Wydeville, Queen of England,   b. ~ 1437, Grafton Regis, Northampton, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Jun 1492, Bermondsey, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 55 years)
     2. Anne Woodville, Viscountess Bourchier,   b. ~ 1438, Grafton Regis, Northampton, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Jul 1489  (Age ~ 51 years)
     3. Mary Woodville, Countess of Pembroke,   b. ~ 1456,   d. 0___ 1481  (Age ~ 25 years)
     4. Katherine Woodville, Duchess of Buckingham,   b. ~ 1458, (Maidstone, Kent, England) Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 May 1497  (Age ~ 39 years)
    Last Modified 15 Oct 2018 
    Family ID F17137  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1415-1416 - Palace of Westminster, London, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence (Family) - - England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Jacquetta of Luxembourg (1415/1416 - 30 May 1472)
    Jacquetta of Luxembourg (1415/1416 - 30 May 1472)

  • Notes 
    • Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Countess Rivers (1415/1416 – 30 May 1472) was the eldest daughter of Peter I of Luxembourg, Count of Saint-Pol, Conversano and Brienne and his wife Margaret of Baux (Margherita del Balzo of Andria). She was a prominent, though often overlooked, figure in the Wars of the Roses. Through her short-lived first marriage to the Duke of Bedford, brother of King Henry V, she was firmly allied to the House of Lancaster. However, following the emphatic Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of Towton, she and her second husband Richard Woodville sided closely with the House of York. Three years after the battle and the accession of Edward IV of England, Jacquetta's eldest daughter Elizabeth Woodville married him and became Queen consort of England. Jacquetta bore Woodville 14 children and stood trial on charges of witchcraft, for which she was exonerated.

      Family and ancestry

      Her father Peter of Luxembourg, Count of Saint-Pol, was also the hereditary Count of Brienne from 1397 until his death in 1433.

      Peter had succeeded his father John of Luxembourg, Lord of Beauvoir, and mother Marguerite of Enghien. They had co-reigned as Count and Countess of Brienne from 1394 to her death in 1397. John had been a fourth-generation descendant of Waleran I of Luxembourg, Lord of Ligny, second son of Henry V of Luxembourg and Margaret of Bar. This cadet line of the House of Luxembourg reigned in Ligny-en-Barrois.

      Jacquetta's paternal great-grandmother, Mahaut of Chãatillon, was descended from Beatrice of England, daughter of King Henry III of England and Eleanor of Provence.[1] Jacquetta's mother, Margherita del Balzo, was a daughter of Francesco del Balzo, 1st Duke of Andria, and Sueva Orsini.[2] Sueva descended from Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and Eleanor of England, the youngest child of King John of England and Isabella of Angoulãeme.[2]

      The Luxembourgs claimed to be descended from the water deity Melusine through their ancestor Siegfried of Luxembourg (AD 922-998).[3] Jacquetta was a fourth cousin twice removed of Sigismund of Luxembourg, the reigning Holy Roman Emperor and king of Bohemia and Hungary.

      Early life

      Most of Jacquetta's early life is a mystery. She was born as the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years War began. Her uncle, John II of Luxembourg, Count of Ligny, was the head of the military company that captured Joan of Arc. John held Joan prisoner at Beauvoir and later sold her to the English.

      First marriage

      On 22 April 1433 at age 17, Jacquetta married John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford at Therouenne. The Duke was the third son of King Henry IV of England and Mary de Bohun, and thus the grandson of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, himself the third son of Edward III. The marriage was childless and the Duke died on 15 September 1435 at Rouen. As was customary at the time, after her second marriage Jacquetta retained the title of her first husband and was always known as the Duchess of Bedford, this being a higher title than that of countess. Jacquetta inherited one-third of the Duke's main estates as her widow's share.[4]

      Second marriage

      Sir Richard Woodville, son of Sir Richard Wydevill, who had served as the late Duke's chamberlain, was commissioned by Henry VI of England to bring Bedford's young widow to England. During the journey, the couple fell in love and married in secret (before 23 March 1437), without seeking the king's permission. Jacquetta had been granted dower lands following her first husband's death on condition that she did not remarry without a royal licence. On learning of the marriage, Henry VI refused to see them, but was mollified by the payment of a fine of ¹1000. The marriage was long and very fruitful: Jacquetta and Richard had fourteen children, including the future Queen Consort Elizabeth Woodville. She lost her first-born son Lewis to a fever when he was 12 years old. A daughter also named Jacquetta (Woodville) married John le Strange, 8th Baron Strange.

      By the mid-1440s, the Woodvilles were in a powerful position. Jacquetta was related to both King Henry and Queen Margaret by marriage. Her sister, Isabelle de Saint Pol, married Margaret's uncle Charles du Maine while Jacquetta was the widow of Henry VI's uncle. She outranked all ladies at court with the exception of the queen. As a personal favourite, she also enjoyed special privileges and influence at court. Margaret influenced Henry to create Richard Woodville Baron Rivers in 1448, and he was a prominent partisan of the House of Lancaster as the Wars of the Roses began.[3]

      Wars of the Roses

      The Yorkists crushed the Lancastrians at the Battle of Towton on 29 March 1461, and Edward IV, the first king from the House of York, took the throne. The husband of Jacquetta's oldest daughter Elizabeth (Sir John Grey) had been killed a month before at the Second Battle of St. Albans, a Lancastrian victory under the command of Margaret of Anjou. At Towton, however, the tables turned in favour of the Yorkists.

      Edward IV met and soon married the widowed Elizabeth Woodville in secret; though the date is not accepted as exactly accurate, it is traditionally said to have taken place (with only Jacquetta and two ladies in attendance) at the Woodvile family home in Northamptonshire on 1 May 1464.[5] Elizabeth was crowned queen on 26 May 1465, the Sunday after Ascension Day. The marriage, once revealed, ruined the plans of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, Edward's cousin, who had been negotiating a much-needed alliance with France via a political marriage for Edward.

      With Elizabeth now Queen of England, the Woodvilles rose to great prominence and power. Jacquetta's husband Richard was created Earl Rivers and appointed Lord High Treasurer in March 1466. Jacquetta found rich and influential spouses for her children and helped her grandchildren achieve high posts.[6] She arranged for her 20-year-old son, John, to marry the widowed and very rich Katherine Neville, Duchess of Norfolk, who was at least 45 years older than John. The rise of the Woodvilles created widespread hostility among the Yorkists, including Warwick and the king's brothers George and Richard, who were being displaced in the king's favour by the former Lancastrians.

      In 1469, Warwick openly broke with Edward IV and temporarily deposed him. Earl Rivers and his son John were captured and executed by Warwick on 12 August at Kenilworth. Jacquetta survived her husband by three years and died in 1472, at about 56 years of age.

      Witchcraft accusations

      Shortly after her husband's execution by Warwick, Thomas Wake, a follower of Warwick’s, accused Jacquetta of witchcraft. Wake brought to Warwick Castle a lead image “made like a man-of-arms . . . broken in the middle and made fast with a wire,“ and alleged that Jacquetta had fashioned it to use for witchcraft and sorcery. He claimed that John Daunger, a parish clerk in Northampton, could attest that Jacquetta had made two other images, one for the king and one for the queen. The case fell apart when Warwick released Edward IV from custody, and Jacquetta was cleared by the king’s great council of the charges on February 21, 1470.[7] In 1484 Richard III in the act known as Titulus Regius[8] revived the allegations of witchcraft against Jacquetta when he claimed that she and Elizabeth had procured Elizabeth's marriage to Edward IV through witchcraft; however, Richard never offered any proof to support his assertions.


      Through her daughter Elizabeth, Jacquetta was the maternal grandmother of Elizabeth of York, wife and queen of Henry VII, and therefore an ancestor of all subsequent English monarchs.


      Elizabeth Woodville, Queen consort of England (c. 1437 – 8 Jun. 1492), married first Sir John Grey, second Edward IV of England.
      Lewis Woodville (c. 1438), died in childhood.
      Anne Woodville (1438/9 – 30 Jul. 1489). Married first William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier, second Sir Edward Wingfield, third George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent.
      Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers (c. 1440 – 25 Jun. 1483), married first Elizabeth Scales, 8th Baroness Scales, second Mary Fitzlewis; not married to Gwentlian Stradling, the mother of Margaret.
      John Woodville (c. 1444 – 12 Aug. 1469), married Catherine Neville, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk.
      Jacquetta Woodville (1445–1509), married John le Strange, 8th Baron Strange of Knockin.
      Lionel Woodville, Bishop of Salisbury (c. 1446 – Jun. 1484).
      Eleanor Woodville (d. c. 1512), married Sir Anthony Grey.
      Margaret Woodville (c. 1450 – 1490/1), married Thomas Fitzalan, 17th Earl of Arundel.
      Martha Woodville (d. c. 1500), married Sir John Bromley.
      Richard Woodville, 3rd Earl Rivers (1453 – Mar. 1491).
      Edward Woodville, Lord Scales (1454/8 – 28 Jul. 1488).
      Mary Woodville (c. 1456 – 1481), married William Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke.
      Catherine Woodville (c. 1458 – 18 May 1497), married first Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, second Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford.[9]
      end of biography [2]

  • Sources 
    1. [S10004] "Elizabeth Woodville" biography, accessed & downloaded Sunday, November 20th, 2016 by David A. Hennessee, https://en.wik.

    2. [S10143] "Jacquetta of Luxembourg" biography, abstracted, downloaded & published Thursday, December 15th, 2016 by David A. Hennes.

    3. [S11756] "Family Tree of Elizabeth Woodville", https://www.thoughtco.com/family-tree-elizabeth-woodville-3528162, forwarded Thur.

    4. [S11759] "Elizabeth Woodville", Pedigree Chart, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Woodville, revisited or retrieved, recorde.

    5. [S10009] "Richard Woodville, 1st Earl Rivers" biography, accessed & downloaded Monday, November 21st, 2016 by David A. Hennessee,.