Margaret of France

Margaret was born around 1279 in Paris, France, the daughter of Philip III of France and Maria of Brabant.

Following the death of her father when she was only three years old, she was raised under the guidance of her mother and Joan I of Navarre.

The first wife of Edward I died in 1290, and to secure the ongoing peace with France, Edward betrothed his son, the future Edward II to Blanche of France, however when King Edward heard of her beauty he decided to have her for himself.

Philip agreed to the marriage as long as a truce was agreed between the two countries and England returned Gascony to France, but Edward had been deceived as Blanche was betrothed to another.

Philip now offered his younger sister Margaret in marriage, but Edward, unhappy with being deceived refused to marry Margaret and declared war.

Five years later, England and France signed a truce, and Edward finally married Margaret.

The wedding took place on 8 September 1299 at Canterbury. Although Margaret was never crowned queen.

Margaret became pregnant shortly after the wedding, giving birth to her first child under a year after the marriage. She would go on to have a further two children, one of which, a girl was named Eleanor after Edward’s first wife.

Edward was known to have a temper, but his young wife seemed to have a calming influence on him, and many were saved from his wrath by Margaret. She also acted as mediator and reconciled Edward to his son and heir.

There was a large age difference between Edward and Margaret, however they seemed to be happy and content with each other. When Margaret’s sister Blanche died, Edward ordered the court to go into mourning to please his wife.

In 1307, Margaret accompanied Edward on campaign to Scotland, however Edward became ill on the journey and died on 7 July 1307 at Burgh by Sands, south of the Scottish border.

Margaret was never to remarry following Edward’s death, even though she was still a young woman around twenty-six years old. She retired to live at Marlborough Castle, Wiltshire.

During her life Margaret had favoured the Franciscan Order and when she died on 14 February 1318 at Marlborough Castle, she was dressed in a Franciscan habit and buried at Christ Church Greyfriars, London.

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