The countess and her children

Eleanor de Montfort, the youngest and once beloved sister of Henry III, died on this day of 13 April in 1275. Following the defeat and death of her husband Simon nearly a decade before, she retired to the convent of Montargis in France. She and Simon had 6 children. 1) Henry fell with his father at the battle of Evesham. 2) Simon Junior died in 1271 in Italy after being implicated in the murder of his cousin Henry of Almain. 3) Guy de Montfort had done the killing and was in hiding in Italy. 4) Richard had gone to serve in the court of Navarre and disappeared from view. That left just two by her bedside, her namesake daughter and son Amaury, who was something of the family lawyer, priest and doctor. Eleanor lived to witness her daughter marry Llywelyn of Wales by proxy. She committed her to Amaury to bring to the prince, even though her children were on the most-wanted list of her nephew Edward, now the king of England. In her final days she asked Queen Margaret of France to intervene and soften Edward’s rancor, but when brother and sister sailed at the end of the year, ships were waiting to intercept them. Young Eleanor was confined in comfort at Windsor for more than two years until Llywelyn came to terms. It took half a dozen popes, archbishops and bishops to get Edward to free Amaury, who spent more than 6 years in rigorous confinement.

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