Catherine of Valois

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Catherine of France (27 October 1401 – 3 January 1437[1]) was the Queen consort of England from 1420 until 1422. She was the daughter of King Charles VI of France, wife of Henry V of Monmouth, King of England,[2] mother of Henry VI, King of England and King of France, and through her secret marriage with Owen Tudor, the grandmother of King Henry VII of England.[3] Catherine's older sister, Isabella of Valois, was Queen consort of England from 1396 – 1399, as the child bride of King Richard II of England.

Born at the Hôtel de St Pol, Paris, and died at the Abbey of St Saviour or Bermondsey Abbey, London, Catherine was buried at Westminster Abbey, and during the reign of Henry VII her coffin lid was accidentally raised, revealing her corpse, which for generations became a tourist attraction; Catherine's remains were not properly re-interred until the reign of Queen Victoria.

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Summary of Catherine

Catherine of Valois was the daughter of King Charles VI of France and his wife Isabelle of Bavaria.[4] She was born at the Hotel of St. Pol (a royal palace in Paris) on 27 October 1401. Early on, there had been a discussion of marrying her to the son of Henry IV, but the King died before negotiations could begin. The new king, Henry V, also proposed the match, but demanded a large dowry and acknowledgement of his right to the throne of France.

Henry V went to war with France and even after the English victory at Agincourt, plans for the marriage continued. Catherine was said to be very attractive and when Henry finally met her at Meulan he became enamoured. In May 1420, a peace treaty was made between England and France and Charles acknowledged Henry of England as his heir. Catherine and Henry were married at the Parish Church of St John or at the Troyes Cathedral on 2 June 1420.

Catherine went to England with her new husband and was crowned as Queen in Westminster Abbey on 23 February 1421. In June 1421, Henry returned to France to continue his campaigns.

By this time, Catherine was several months pregnant and gave birth to Prince Henry on 6 December 1421 at Windsor. The boy and his father would never see each other. During the siege of Meaux, Henry V contracted a fatal illness and died on 31 August 1422, just before his 35th birthday. Catherine was not quite 21 and was left a widow and Dowager Queen of England.

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