First grandchild

In February of 1261, Henry III and Eleanor of Provence became grandparents for the first time. Their eldest daughter Margaret gave birth to a daughter, also named Margaret, who would later become the queen of Norway and mother of another Margaret, the ill-fated Maid of Norway.
There had been a lot of secrecy surrounding the birth. Margaret was the Queen of Scotland. When she and her husband King Alexander III stated their intention to visit her parents in England, the Scottish council protested that Margaret was pregnant and it was only fitting that the heir to the throne of Scotland be born at home. They gave assurances that it would be the case, but in the event Alexander returned alone and Margaret retired to Windsor, clearly intending to have her first child with her mother present.
Henry and Eleanor loved all their children deeply. Back in 1255, they marched north with an army when word reached them that not all was well with their daughter, with Henry adding the personal touch that “he had not seen her for a long time and it was the greatest desire of his heart to behold her again.”
Henry himself was not at Windsor at the time of the birth. He was at the Tower of London castigating his barons for their squabbling and misuse of the power he granted them during the reform period. It was Margaret’s yeoman, a certain Walter de Costen, who brought him the news, and was well rewarded for it.
The image shows Henry and his five children: Edward, Margaret, Edmund (who was actually the fourth child), Beatrice (the third), and Katharine (who was three when she died in 1257)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *