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Diana descended from Simon
I have been doing extensive research into the ancestors and descendants of Simon de Montfort: here are some surprises!
Guy de Montfort→Anastasia de Montfort→Roberto Orsini→Nicola Orsini→Raimondello Orsini del Balzo→Caterina Orsini del Balzo→Isabella de Clermont(de Chiaromonte)→Federigo de Aragon→Charlotte de Aragon(de Napoli, de Tarento)→Anne de Montfort→Louis de la Tremouille→Claude, 1st duke de la Tremouille married to Charlotte de Nassau→Charlotte de la Tremouille→Amelia Ann Sophia , Lady Stanley→John Murray→Ann Susan, lady Murray→Catherine Gordon, Lady of Aberdeen→Alexander Gordon→Georgiana Elizabeth, Lady of Gordon→Louisa Jane Russel→James Hamilton→James Albert Edward Hamilton, 3rd duke of Abercorn→ Cynthia Elinor Beatrix, Lady Hamilton married Albert Edward John Spencer→Edward John 8th Earl Spencer married Frances Ruth Burke→Princess Diana of Wales, mother of William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Do let us see more.
There is a strong link between de Montfort and the Habsburgs. But this starts only with Maria Theresa, (13 May 1717 – 29 November 1780), the last of the House of Habsburg. She married Francis I (Francis Stephen, 8 December 1708 – 18 August 1765), Duke of Lorraine and Grand Duke of Tuscany. They are the founders of the Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty.
Francis had as great grandmother Claude de Lorraine, she is our Simons’s father descendant from all her 4 grand parents. Two of them have as ancestor our Simon’s brother Amaury and the other two have as ancestor our Simon. If you’re interested, I have developed a genealogy entitled ‘MONTFORT to HABSBURGS’.
Grandparents of Claude de Lorraine:
1. Charles III, duc de Lorraine et de Bar, XIII grandson of Amaury de Montfort, Simon’s brother.
2. Claude de Valois, daughter of Henry II de Valois, king of France and Catherine de Medicis, XI granddaughter of Amaury de Montfort, Simon’s brother.
3. Vincenzo Gonzaga (21 September 1562 – 9 February 1612), ruler of the Duchy of Mantua, XII grandson of Simon.
4. Eleonora de’ Medici (February 28, 1567 – September 9, 1611) daughter of Francesco I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, XIII granddaughter of Simon.
It is almost incredible! And this is less than 15%! The rest is in Italy, France, England, Poland, Belgium and Spain!
The fact is that many, many important historical events in Europe had as main characters his descendants. And what is very strange is that they acted as they were aware all the time of the fact that their ancestor was Simon de Montfort, the great defender of the Catholic faith or Simon de Montfort, the Earl who used to give each person what he deserved no matter if that person was a king, a nobleman, a knight or a commoner. Emperor Joseph II, son of Francis de Lorraine, is considered the first monarch of the Enlightenment, his political work was similar to Simon’s in so many ways….
This is wonderful! Looking forward to hearing more…
Hello again Katherine,
My research suggests that Simon’s son, Guy de Montfort may have been the inspiration for The Count of Monte Cristo…
You mentioned Eleanor de Castille, Edward’s wife. This made me go back to my Montfort genealogies. Do you know that Eleanore’s brother, Ferdinand prince of Castille was the first husband of Laure de Montfort, Amaury’s daughter? Yes, Amaury was so great that his daughter married a prince of Castille, long after her father died. They married cca 1256 and Fernando died 1264.
They had a son, Jean d’Aumale with continuous descendants in the Harcourt family. Laure married next Henry de Grandpre de Livry and had other descendants in de Livry family. It would have been a lot better if Ferdinand could have lived longer, I am sure he and Laure would have tried to reconcile Edward with Simon and Guy).
Fernando was the half brother of Alphonse, (king of Castille until 1284) and uncle of Sancho king of Castille until 1291. Sancho’s daughter married James, the new king of Aragon by the time of Guy’s release (1291) from prison. Alphonse was the grandson of Philippe de Hohenstaufen as Constance, James mother was granddaughter of Frederick de Hohenstaufen. So, Jean d’Aumale was first cousin to Guy, Simon, Amaury and Alphonse, Eleanore and Edward’s nephew. Jean d’Aumale was uncle to James de Aragon’s wife.
The strangest thing follows! King Alphonse’s brother Henry was a prisoner of Charles de Anjou as you can see, reading next:
“He later made his way to Italy, where he joined his cousin Charles of Anjou’s campaign in 1266 to become King of Sicily (Battle of Benevento) and lent him large sums of money. It was here that Henry earned his title of El Senador when Charles had him made Senator of Rome. However, he was never repaid by Charles; Henry had aspired to the kingship of Sardinia or some other high title, and found the senatorship poor compensation. As a result, when his cousin Conradin invaded Italy in 1268, Henry changed sides and joined him. He was one of Conradin’s generals at the Battle of Tagliacozzo; he was in command of a host of three hundred Spanish knights sent by his brother Afonso X of Castille. He won the first encounter against the French, but was defeated by a surprise attack of a hidden reinforcement of a thousand French knights under Charles of Anjou. After the loss of the battle, he fled to the Convent of San Salvatore, Monte Cassino,where he was captured by the Angevins. According to Ferdinand Gregorovius he spent the next twentythree years in captivity in Castello di Canosa — from 1268 t0 1277, and in Castel del Monte from 1277 to 1291. In 1272, his half-sister Eleanor and her husband King Edward I of England came to Sicily on their return from the Crusades. Eleanor’s attempts to get him released from prison were unsuccessful, but she kept in touch with him until her own death. Both Eleanor and Charles were dead before Henry was finally released in 1291. He returned to Castile in 1298, where he was appointed Regent for his grandnephew, King Ferdinand IV.
So, it was impossible for Eleanor, wife of Edward to release him in 1272. Charles had no suitable relative to be exchanged at that time. Henry was free only in 1291.
What happened in 1291? James become king of Aragon, at the death of his brother. Isabella — niece of those most noble prisoners in Aragon and Naples, poor Henry and poor Guy — marries the new king of Aragon.
Sancho’s mother was sister to James’ father, so the king of Castille was cousin to the king of Aragon, and Isabella was the niece of her new husband!
I have the feeling Henry was not released for nothing. It was an arranged marriage, and those are made for benefits, the more so if the bride is just 8 years old. The bride was niece to Edward and to Guy as well, now she she is the wife of James. His brother had been keeping Guy in prison from 1287. (The bride and the groom also have Emperor Frederick Barbarossa as a shared great grandfather.)
What if Henry (kept in prison by Charles II de Anjou, the best friend of Guy) was released in exchange for Guy?
I sent you a Latin document where Charles called Guy consanguineo nostrum: “our blood relative.” They were cousins from both their mothers’ sides and fathers’ sides. (They were cousins through their Hainaut great grandfather; Alix de Montmorency was first cousin to Louis IX father, so our Simon and Louis IX were second cousins.
So Charles II de Anjou, king of Naples in 1292, was also a cousin of Guy several times over. They were cousins through the sister of King John Lackland, the mother of Blanche de Castille, the mother of Charles de Anjou and grandmother of Charles II de Anjou. So Guy was cousin to Charles I de Anjou and uncle to the 1291 king of Naples!!!
I wonder If someone would ever be able to prove that a king, having in his power a prisoner for 23 years, would free him without asking an exchange for his beloved cousin and uncle Guy de Montfort?
The marriage had only political reasons, and as soon it was arranged Henry, prince of Castille was freed from prison. The marriage has everything to do with Charles II de Anjou, the of Naples. King James would start regular contacts with Charles, as the next quote will show:
“On 1 December 1291, Isabella married James II of Aragon in the city of Soria. The bride was only eight years old and the groom twenty-four. The marriage was never consummated, was dissolved and annulled after Sancho IV died on 25 April 1295. James chose to change his alliances and take advantage of the turmoil inside Castile. He had their wedding annulled and proceeded to marry Blanche of Anjou, second daughter of Charles II of Naples and Maria Arpad of Hungary.”
For Guy it was impossible to be officially free, as his wife was already married to someone else and he already had been excommunicated once for Viterbo. His daughters would have lost all prospects for good marriages with both parents excommunicated.
So, the Count of Monte Cristo way of doing things was the only possible way!
I feel I am at war with Maud de Braose (de Brewes, de Mortimer).
If you are so tolerant of Edward I guess I should be too…That is why I decided to believe the documents that say Guy was not released from prison, (as were all other high ranking prisoners taken at Battle of the Counts in 1287) because Edward insisted he should stay a prisoner as a term of peace between Aragon and Naples, were correct only until 1291.
So, if we add Gaston’s death in 1290, there was no reason for Guy to be kept in prison. 1291 is the year Margherita learned — I am sure that it was official news — that Guy was still alive, though there had been no news of him since 1288. I am sending seperately a biographical essay on Margherita — I don’t know who translated it from Italian — saying she was married in 1291. Here is one of my sources that says, on the contrary, that Margherita was not married again in 1291.
“In 1287, durante la Guerra del Vespro (1282–1302), Guido di Monfort viene fatto prigioniero dagli aragonesi che lo rinchiudono nelle carceri di Messina e che in odio agli angioini di Napoli, di cui lo sapevano grande campione, ve lo tennero fino alla morte, che sembra avvenuta negli ultimimesi del 1291. Verso il 1289, mentre il marito era prigioniero in Messina, Margherita entra in contatto con Nello della Pietra, di cui diventa l’amante, nominandolo proprio vicario generale, ma rifiutando tuttavia disposarlo, e da cui ebbe un figlio, Binduccio, allevato segretamente in Massa Marittima e morto nel 1300. Nel 1291, priva del marito e stanca delle probabili arroganze di Nello, Margherita ottiene da papa Niccolò IV che le venga assegnato come consigliere e protettore il cardinale Benedetto Caetani, il futuro papa Bonifacio VIII (1294). Nel 1292, pochi mesidopo la morte del primo marito, sposa Orso degli Orsini, il quale muorenel 1295.”
From Anonimo fiorentino, a cura di Pietro Fanfani, Bologna 1866–1874.
So, I’ve decided not to trust anyone completely, as they just interpret ancient documents. Different documents show different facts.
There are many different versions of Guy’s death in prison, but all of them say it was his decision to die and he committed suicide.
Small wonder you should feel at war with the Lady Mortimer, if she is the same Lady Mortimer who received Simon’s severed head after the Battle of Evesham and “foully shent” it.
I don’t believe Guy was any particular friend of Edward’s, he was too young and would have been in France when Edward’s group of friends was forming. Henry of Alemaine, on the other hand was by all acounts a lovely fellow and a very close friend of Edward’s. Not surprising Edward would want to punish Guy (as he did not have young Simon to hand) for the murder at Viterbo.
Your argument of Guy’s survival and release or escape from prison has a lot to recommend it, especially against interested parties claiming he committed suicide — highly unlikely given the religious beliefs in which Guy was brought up. One can say he set those beliefs aside in murdering young Henry while he was at prayer in a church. Of that, I believe young Simon was the perpetrator and was insane — always marginally stable and now fully mad. Guy, I suppose, had joined him in the hopes of saving him, and when young Simon committed the murder, Guy found himself sharing the blame for it and was too honorable to accuse his crazed brother in an effort to excuse himself.
I don’t know if we’re fully in agreement, but we both hold Guy in high regard.
As for conflicting historical documentation, that is the pitfall of research. Misinformation, disinformation and confusion have always been with us. The historian’s job is to thread his or her way through the morass with a sense of what seems plausible as guide, choosing what verifications there are, but acknowledging the existence of material that can support a very different interpretation.
I find the magnificent statue of Simon de Montfort, erected by subscription by Montfort admirers, is still being described as depicting Richard Couer de Lion!
I checked on the British political scene by the time the statue was created and installed. Two of the prime ministers were Simon descendants and, if their future colleague Disraeli had that wonderful opinion of Simon (Sybil was published in 1845), imagine what was their opinion! Historians used to say that in the XIX century the liberals re-discovered Simon but Disraeli was a conservative politician.
Churchill was a descendant too! I am sure Simon was considered the prototype of the highest rank politician working for the entire nation, for all three classes. The Montfort descendants were: Liberal Lord John Russell (his first ministry: 30 June 1846–21 February 1852) prime minister by the time the statue was conceived and exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851; conservative George Hamilton–Gordon,the Earl of Aberdeen (19 December 1852–30 January 1855). In 1860, when the statue was cast and installed, prime minister was Lord Palmerstone, not a friend of Lord Russell. Although not in the same party, the Earl of Aberdeen and Lord Russel were friends and Russell was behind the coalition between the two parties!
Does the Gordon earl mean that george Gordon, Lord Byron, the poet, was also a Simon descendant?
I am sending you the coat of arms of Elizabeth Woodville before she became the Queen of Edward IV,. Here it is with its official explanation, from an official site of queens.
You will see that the Orsini coat of arms is there (and it is going to stay on Elizabeth’s coat of arms as Queen). Everyone in England knew of her mother Jaquetta de Luxembourg’s Italian great grand parents. Please read Jaquetta’s wikipedia biography:
Jacquetta’s father Peter I of Luxembourg, Count of Saint-Pol was also the hereditary Count of Brienne from 1397 to his death in 1433.
Peter had succeeded his father John, Lord of Beauvoir and mother Marguerite of Enghien. They had co-reigned as Count and Countess of Brienne from 1394 to her death in 1397.John was a fourth-generation descendant of Waleran I of Luxembourg, Lord of Ligny, second son of Henry V of Luxembourg and Margaret of Bar. This cadet line of the House of Luxembourg reigned in Ligny-en-Barrois.
Her mother Margaret de Baux was a daughter of Francois de Baux, Duke of Andria, and of Sueva Orsini. Sueva was a daughter of Nicola Orsini, Count of Nola (27 August 1331 – 14 February 1399) and Jeanne de Sabran.
Nicola Orsini was a son of Roberto Orsini, Count of Nola (1295-1345) and Sibilla del Balzo. Sibilla was a daughter of Hugh de Baux, Great Seneschal of the Kingdom of Naples.
Roberto Orsini was a son of Romano Orsini, Royal Vicar of Rome, and of Anastasia de Montfort. Anastasia was the oldest daughter and heiress of Guy de Montfort, Count of Nola and Margherita Aldobrandeschi.
Guy de Montfort was a son of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and Eleanor of Pembroke. Eleanor was the youngest child of King John of England and his Queen consort Isabella of Angoulême.
Jacquetta herself was an eighth-generation descendant of John and thus distantly related to the Kings of England descending from him.
On 22 April 1433 at 17 years of age, Jacquetta married John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford at Therouenne. The Duke was the third son of King Henry IV of England and Mary de Bohun. Jacquetta was a cousin of Sigismund of Luxembourg, the reigning Holy Roman Emperor, and King of Bohemia and Hungary. The marriage was meant to strengthen the ties of the Kingdom of England with the Holy Roman Empire and to increase English influence in the affairs of Continental Europe.The marriage was childless and the Duke died on 15 September 1435 at Rouen.
Most historians used to say that medieval European politicians failed to consider the political ideas of their famous contemporary scholars. But Simon de Montfort’s allies have a different opinion!
“Between 1258 and 1265, communitas regni, the slogan of the political discourse in the 13th century, came closest to a real and relevant existence from a social standpoint.” as Simon’s most recent biographer said.
To a certain extent, the action of the English reformers under the leadership of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, can be considered to be the implementation of the political theories formulated by the scholars of the period. One of these scholars was John of Salisbury who, in his work Policraticus (1159), tried to define the ideal form of government: “When divine law (iustitia) is not manifest, natural law (aequitas) – the application of a person’s ability to reason and to be fair (ratio et ius) – may intervene.” (John of Salisbury) The baronial movement revolted against the prerogatives enjoyed by the king at the time, considering that King Henry was not fulfilling his duties to the community as a whole. This is an interpretation of Salisbury’s conclusion that “if society possesses a certain, fictional persona corporis, then it must materialise in the figure of the leader, the physical expression of justice itself. He is the imago deitas but also imago aequitas and can remain king as long as he represents the equilibrium of society, between the part and the whole, between the divine and the natural… In order to become a policraticus, the leader, be it king or pope, has to be the ideal, social human being.”
Montfort’s political manifesto of 1264, the year when royal power fell under the reformers’ control, was disseminated in the form of a ballad, composed by the Franciscan monks, The Song of Lewes. In this song, Montfort was depicted as a vassal faithful to his sovereign, whose obligation was to maintain the cooperation between king and community through the agency of a council. The authors admitted that the noblemen faithful to the king despised the reformers’ ideology, dismissing it as “priest talk”. This is a reference to the fact that Simon de Montfort based his political beliefs on the political and religious writings of the Oxford University, considering the great theologian and philosopher, Robert Grosseteste, the patron of the Franciscans, as his mentor.
The comparison between the state and a living organism was one of the most widespread political ideas of the Middle Ages. In all of the existing variants, the comparison served to define the station and role of every individual, as well as their relationship with society as a whole.
“The human community is described as a living body, created by God like everything else in this world and subject to natural law (aequitas). The king represents the head of this organism. The Royal Council is its heart, the justiciars and those responsible with public order are the eyes, the ears and the tongue; the courtiers are the chest, those who govern are the unarmed hand whereas the soldiers represent the armed hand. Those in charge of the finances represent the stomach and the internal organs while the other workers represent the legs. And, in the same way in which the human body is governed by the soul, the political body has to submit to the clergy, who stand as the soul of the state.” (John of Salisbury –Policraticus)
This concept of the state as a living organism was developed in the following century by Marsiglio of Padova who “[…] in a manner similar to Aristotle, defines the state as an organism, a living being, whose component parts have to function in perfect harmony.”
My Grandmother, Blanche Montfort is a supposed to be a decendant of Simone de Monfort. She had a coat of arms in her home and paintings of the Montfort Castle. Can you verify this for me?
Delighted to hear from you. Your grandmother well might be descended from the father of the Simon I write about. The father, presently numbers V in the line of Simons de Montfort, was the hero of the Third Crusade and the Albigensian Crsade aganst heretic in southern France. I’ve not been able to open the file where i suppose the pictures are. Montfort l’Amaury, the family seat, about 45 miles west of Paris, has reduced the partial shell of a tower for at least the last hundred years. Another Montfort castle, in Israel, was called Starkenburg for a while.
Simon VI, whom i write about, had none but female descendants after the generation of his own sons. But the Tudors claimed descent from him by way of his daughter Eleanor and her daughter, her child by Llewellyn the Prince of North Wales.
Men of influence tempered fairness with agonizing revenge, women of strength enchanted and betrayed, and the Church perpetually affected lives destined for torment and governance enveloped in turmoil as the 12th Century ascended into the 13th. Katherine Ashe’s extensive research into Montfort and his times paints an exciting and intricately detailed portrait of justice and its evolvement within Western civilization and beyond.
After reading of the young Simon de Montfort’s jousting contest with a wayward highwayman, enthusiastically portrayed in the first few pages, it became clear that this is the adventure story craved by the motion picture industry, and I thought immediately of young Australian-born actor Chris Egan, who might make a superb Simon in an eventual movie dramatization.
From Montfort’s battlefield victories, to his marriage, to a brief fling with Henry’s Eleanor (whilst wed to another woman), accentuated by the release of a hawk, once its presence no longer assured a loving — yet forbidden — relationship enjoyed away from prying eyes, the young man exhibits a powerful, yet eternally conflicted personality.
When was mixing historical fact with story-telling ever not risky business? Nevertheless, Ashe’s obvious confidence in her laborious research has resulted in an historical viewpoint worth the trouble.
The trappings of known-world Church influence are illustrated magnificently, right down to an individual level where Simon is instructed to self-flagellate his sins away, whilst also trembling in fear when Bishop Grosseteste predicts that the tragic death of both child and father will occur simultaneously one day.
A section at the end placing significant passages and words in historical context is also helpful for the reader, who will benefit even more intimately from the author’s search for knowledge about Simon de Montfort and his era. Well done.
I, amongst many others descend from Simon de Montfort, many many times. The inspiration for the count of Monte Cristo was rather more prosaic. It is the standard vehicle for the ‘revenge is a dish better served cold’ scenario and was much used by many 19th century authors (and 20th) in varying degrees of success. Dumas explained it in his notes on the novel that are kept at the Archives Nationales in Paris. He used many sources but De Montfort’s son does not seem to be part of his game plan…………
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