Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Black Prince of Wales

Edward, sometimes called the Black Prince, appears as a minor character in my latest release, Jeanne of Clairmonde. Edward was born in 1330, the eldest son of Edward III. At age three, he was given an earldom, and a duchy at age seven. When he turned thirteen, the title Prince of Wales was bestowed on the young man, who even then was beginning to show signs of being the brave leader he would become.
References to a Black Prince have appeared in primary sources, and it is generally believed that he was dubbed The Black Prince because he wore black armor.
When Edward was thirty-one, he married his cousin Joan, daughter of the Earl of Kent. Their marriage required a special dispensation because of their close kinship, but it is generally believed they married before actually receiving the dispensation from the pope.
After winning battles with the French, Edward kept court in Bordeaux and Angoul√™me. During the struggles between England and France in what later became called the Hundred Years’ War, he proved himself to be a courageous warrior. At times he was generous to prisoners, but over time he gained the reputation of being a ruthless victor, burning towns and amassing a fortune with his looting.
At age forty, his health began to decline. Edward died at age forty-six and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral.