Women who Married for Love

Chapter 3 : Jacquetta de St Pol

The second lady whose secret love match affected the inheritance of the throne was Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of St Pol. She was married for two years to John, Duke of Bedford, Henry V’s brother, and English Regent in France during the minority of Henry VI. On Bedford’s death in 1435, Jacquetta scandalised Europe by marrying a gentleman of her husband's household, Sir Richard Woodville. He and his Duchess (ladies retained the title of their highest ranking husband) produced a total of fourteen children.

Jacquetta continued in Lancastrian circles as the confidante of Henry VI's wife, Marguerite of Anjou, but she was quite prepared to support York when, in a similar instance of marrying out-of-rank for love, her daughter, Elizabeth, caught the eye of Edward IV and became queen.

The influence of Jacquetta’s children was resented by the other noble families, who considered themselves of higher rank. Their success was particularly begrudged by the Nevilles, Edward IV’s maternal relatives, quite as rapacious, ambitious and aggressive as the Woodvilles, and even more numerous. Quarrels between the King’s family and the Woodvilles stirred up dynastic conflict.