Jaquetta of Luxembourg

When Queen Elizabeth, wife of Edward IV, took sanctuary with her children in October 1470, her mother, Jaquetta of Luxembourg, dowager duchess of Bedford, went along with her, according to John Paston III. “The queen that was,” he wrote his mother, “and the duchess of Bedford be in Seyntuary at Westmestyr.”


Jaquetta had an interesting life. Daughter of the count of St Pol, in 1433 she married John, duke of Bedford, uncle of Henry VI, and moved to England. Left a wealthy widow after Bedford’s 1435 death, Jaquetta was not supposed to remarry without the king’s permission, but did so anyway (paying £1000 as fine). She took as husband the handsome but relatively poor gentleman Sir Richard Woodville. Elizabeth was their daughter.

Jaquetta was newly widowed in 1470 as Woodville (by then earl Rivers) and their son John had just been executed by the Lancastrians; Jacquetta herself had also been accused of witchcraft in a politically-motivated trial, but was exonerated just before the readeption. Jaquetta survived the crisis of the readeption, but died not long after, in 1472.

Paston Letters, 1:564; ODNB. Top image, British Library.

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