Jacquetta of Luxembourg and the Dukes of Burgundy?

Duke of Burgundy (1364-1404) as Philip II and King Philip II of France.

Duke of Burgundy (1364-1404) as Philip II and King Philip II of France.

Since the beginning of Philippa Gregory’s obsession with the Woodville family and Jacquetta of Luxembourg, she has claimed that Jacquetta was descended from the Dukes of Burgundy. For the past few weeks I have been trying to find a link to what she might be talking about. Jacquetta’s tree doesn’t show any connection or descent from the Dukes of Burgundy since before .. well .. I’m still looking back past the 1100s.

OK… I think I found what they are talking about; two explanations and a HUGE stretch.

Jacquetta sits with Charles "the Bold', Duke of Burgundy.

Jacquetta sits with Charles “the Bold’, Duke of Burgundy.

Theory One — Bedford’s Wives

Remember “The Tudors” brilliant idea of lumping King Henry VIII’s sisters in to one character? Perhaps Philippa Gregory and the writer Emma Frost are doing the same; two historical characters compiled in to one. Here’s how it works: Jacquetta was married to the Lancastrian Duke of Bedford. Bedford’s FIRST wife, Anne of Burgundy, was from Burgundy; the daughter of John II, Duke of Burgundy. Anne’s brother was Philip “the Good”, Duke of Burgundy and father of Charles, the Bold, who was featured in the second episode of “The White Queen” as “cousin” to Jacquetta. A year after the death of Anne of Burgundy, Bedford remarried to Jacquetta, but faced opposition for various political reasons in this decision from Anne’s brother the Duke of Burgundy.[1][2] From this time on, relations between the two became cool, culminating in the 1435 peace negotiations between Burgundy and Charles VII, the exiled king of France. Later that year, a letter was dispatched to Henry VI, formally breaking their alliance.[2] 

The series doesn’t mention the fact that Jacquetta was married to the Duke of Bedford – she is *just* a powerful noblewoman related to the Dukes of Burgundy which is not really the case as I will explain. The series chose to omit that the Duke of Bedford existed and married Jacquetta, and Jacquetta in my opinion is seen as a mix of two historical women – Anne of Burgundy, Bedford’s first wife, and Jacquetta of Luxembourg.

Theory Two — Taranto Relations

Second possible explanation Jacquetta’s grandfather, the Duke of Andria (Francesco del Balzo) married Marguerite of Taranto whose mother was Empress Catherine of Constantinople, daughter of Charles, Count of Valois (4th son of Philip III of France, brother to the 2nd queen consort of Edward I of England, Marguerite of France and uncle to queen consort Isabel of France of Edward II of England).

Francesco and Marguerite had two kids that produced NO surviving issue! Any who, Empress Catherine (of Valois) was a paternal sister to Philip VI of France (son of Charles of Valois and his first wife, Margaret, Countess of Anjou). Philip VI married Joan of Burgundy, daughter of Robert II, Duke of Burgundy. In 1361, Joan’s grandnephew, Philip I of Burgundy, died without legitimate issue, ending the male line of the Dukes of Burgundy. The rightful heir to Burgundy was unclear: King Charles II of Navarre, grandson of Joan’s elder sister Margaret, was the heir according to primogeniture, but John II of France (Joan’s son) claimed to be the heir according the proximity of blood. In the end, John won.

So Jacquetta wasn’t related to them at all by my calculations; only by marriage. Her half-uncle (James of Baux) died in 1383 and her half-aunt (Antonia, Queen of Sicily) died in 1373. They were the only blood connection to the Dukes of Burgundy as cousins. Jacquetta wasn’t born until 1416 — so there would be no close connection.

Other Possible Theory — Henry V of Luxembourg

Henry V "the blond", Count of Luxembourg.

Henry V “the blond”, Count of Luxembourg.

However, there is a stretch here — Bonne of Bohemia [of Luxembourg] was the mother of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, himself the great-grandfather of Charles the Bold. Bonne of Bohemia was the great-great-granddaughter of Henry V, Count of Luxembourg. Jacquetta herself was a 5x great-granddaughter of Henry V. Funny thing being — anyone who descended from King Edward III of England [most to all of the nobility at court and royal houses of Europe by the reign of King Edward IV] descended from Henry V of Luxembourg via his great-granddaughter, Philippa of Hainault, queen consort to Edward III of England. Included in that long list are Queens Katherine of Aragon, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, and Katherine Parr [wives 1,3,4, and 6 of King Henry VIII of England].

Cecily, Duchess of York as portrayed in 'The White Queen' by actress Caroline Godall.

Cecily, Duchess of York as portrayed in ‘The White Queen’ by actress Caroline Godall.

So using that connection, Jacquetta and Charles would have been at the closest 6th cousins, once removed. Where as the King’s mother, Cecily [Neville], was a 1st cousin, once removed of the Duke. Cecily’s mother, Lady Joan Beaufort [daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster], was a grandaunt of Charles of Burgundy. So who are we kidding when it comes to the show — we saw the King’s mother treated rather poorly [imo extremely] while Jacquetta was positioned as a high born noblewoman with close connections to Burgundy and what not. Wiki [not a good source] even tried to pull that Jacquetta was cousin to Sigismund of Luxembourg, the Holy Roman Emperor (1368–1437); that her first marriage to the Duke of Bedford [John of Lancaster, a younger son of the first Lancastrian King, Henry IV] was

“to strengthen ties between England and the Holy Roman Empire and to increase English influence in the affairs of Continental Europe.”

Portrait of Emperor Sigismund, painted by Albrecht Dürer after the emperor’s death [Source: Wiki]

In actuality, Jacquetta was a fourth cousin, twice removed of Sigismund. Not a bad match for a younger son of King Henry IV, but how is marrying a fourth cousin, twice removed going “to strengthen ties between England and the Holy Roman Empire“?

To add to the distance between Jacquetta and the Holy Roman Emperors — the second Luxembourg Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund, had only one child; a daughter. Elisabeth of Luxembourg was the only child of the Emperor and his second wife and consort, Barbara of Cilli. When Sigismund died in 1437, Elisabeth was expected to ascend to her father’s thrones, but her rights were ignored and the titles of King of Germany, Hungary, and Bohemia was passed to Elisabeth’s husband Albert V, Duke of Austria. The title of Holy Roman Emperor was passed to the House of Habsburg [Philip the Bold would marry Juana I of Castile, sister of Queen Katherine of Aragon] where it would stay for three centuries [1440-1740]. Frederick V, Duke of Austria would become Frederick III of the Holy Roman Empire. After only two Emperors from the House of Luxembourg, the title was passed to the Habsburg dynasty where it would remain until 1740 upon the death of Charles IV. Charles, like Sigismund, had only one surviving daughter. Maria Theresa, was obviously denied her rights to succeed as Holy Roman Empress because she was a woman. Her father, Charles IV, was succeeded by Charles VII of the House of Wittlesbach. Charles VII ruled until his death in 1745. It was then that Maria Theresa’s husband was elected as Holy Roman Emperor and she became his consort. The House was now called Habsburg-Lorraine.


George, Duke of Clarence; Richard, Duke of Gloucester; and Margaret of York, episode 1.

George, Duke of Clarence; Richard, Duke of Gloucester; and Margaret of York, episode 1.

In the show, the marriage of Edward’s sister, Margaret of York, is hinted to be due to Jacquetta’s relations. Margaret of York would marry Charles as his third wife on 27 June 1468. They had no issue, but Margaret was a wonderful stepmother to her husband’s children.


  1. Chipps Smith, Jeffrey (1984). “The Tomb of Anne of Burgundy, Duchess of Bedford, in the Musée du Louvre“. Gesta 23 (01): 39–50.
  2. Weir, Alison (1996). “The Wars of the Roses: Lancaster and York“. London: Ballantine Books.

22 thoughts on “Jacquetta of Luxembourg and the Dukes of Burgundy?

  1. Jacquetta and Phillip ,the Duke of Brabant a male line grandson of Duke Phillip of Burgundy shared a common great aunt in Joan ,demoiselle de Luxembourg so she was distantly related to the house of Valois-Burgundy through her great aunt Jeanne ,countess of Saint -Pol ,the mother of Phillip of Brabant .I’m not sure about this but it is plausible.

    • Like I said, there is no blood relation and Joan St Pol was a great-aunt of Jacquetta. Jeanne, daughter of Waleran, married the Duke of Brabant who was the son of the Duke of Burgundy. Their children had no issue and by the time Jacquetta was aged 15 or so–they were all dead. Her only DISTANT connection was the children of Anthony, Duke of Brabant and his wife Jeanne St Pol. Their two sons died with no issue. Their son, Philip of Brabant’s, St Pol inheritance went to his great aunt Joan (his mother’s line). There was no relation by 1430. So there is no reason that Jacquetta should have been conversing with Burgundy as her cousins in the White Queen seeing how Philip, Duke of Burgundy was a cousin of the Brabant Dukes by their father’s lineage–not Luxembourg. Philip, Duke of Burgundy would marry Philippa of Portugal, a cousin to Lady Cecily, Duchess of York (daughter of Philippa’s aunt, Lady Joan Beaufort)–mother of Edward IV. It’s quite pathetic to push Jacquetta’s “relation” to Burgundy when the Yorks had the closest relation and Jacquetta was so distantly related by marriages.

      • Tudor Queen this is a great article. The series really goddened her a lot like she was the one with the highest pedigree and she was still the Duchess of Bedford. That scene where she acts all uppity after Edward IV tells his wife and her army of Woodvilles that he is going to give the title of Duke of Bedford to his eldest daughter’s prospective husband. EW said that title belonged to her mother which I was like ‘You’re kidding me, right?’ Because I mean, that title was thanks to her marriage to the King’s late uncle. And she gave that up when she married her second and last husband, Richard Woodville. I also want to add that this really highlights her real ancestry and what her connections were, not what others want them to be.

      • Exactly. Jacquetta married into the Lancastrian family. She didn’t have that title by any other way. She didn’t have the highest pedigree and it was an insult to the actual Neville and other families who were actually descended from Edward III or Henry IV. Unbelievable! I’m not looking forward to the new series.

      • Yeah, I don’t even want to imagine. If they goddened them in this one, they will put them on an even greater pedestal in the White Princess, having Meg Beaufort continue to be crazy, Henry VII a mommy’s boy, Jasper will turn evil, Cecily will be so mean and cruel to her poor granddaughter EOY who will seek divine intervention from her vindictive ancestress, and think to herself as she did in the novel ‘I am so much better than them because we Woodvilles are descended from royalty and from the divine’ blah blah. Ugh.
        I wonder when we are ever going to see something focused on the Nevilles. They have such a complicated family history. It would be cool to see a series on them.

  2. Jacquetta and Anthony,Duke of Brabant the younger son of the Duke of Burgundy shared a common great aunt ;Joan ,the demoiselle of Luxembourg so the wife of the Duke of Burgundy andJacquetta’s father were probably siblings thus making Jacquetta a 2nd cousin of Charles the Bold .I’m not sure if this is right but I think it’s possible.

    • No. The Duke of Burgundy and Jacquetta’s father were not siblings. They didn’t share the same parents. Jeanne de St Pol, daughter of Waleran III of Luxembourg married the Duke of Brabant. Their sons had no issue and their relation to the Duke of Burgundy came from their paternal grandfather, Philip, Duke of Burgundy. Joan was a great-aunt of Jacquetta. They were so far removed from each other and were only related through marriage. Joan died in 1430; her children died around the same time. No blood relations.

  3. According to the Ancestry of Elizabeth I, which gives a tree going back from Jacquetta of Luxembourg to Clodius – the long-haired. It mentions Ermentrude of Burgundy (9xGGM) daughter of William II – The Great – of Burgundy, who was married to Stephanie of Metz. I cannot remember just who, or when this Family History was compiled, but I have found inconsistancies – which has made me cautious about entering this line into my tree, until all sources have been verified.

  4. I never had the impression they were saying she was a descendant from the Dukes of Burgundy, but only a cousin. And she would be a distant cousin to them.
    John King of England and Isabella
    Henry III and Eleanor of Provence
    (A)Beatrice of Enlgand/John II, Duke of Brittany
    Marie Countess of Saint Pol
    John of Saint Pol
    Mathilde married Guy I of Luxembourg
    John of Luxembourg
    Peter of Luxembourg
    Jaquetta of Luxembourg
    (B)Edward I/Eleanor of Castile
    Edward II/Isabella of France
    John of Gaunt
    Philippa of Lancaster/John I of Portugal
    Isabella/Philip the Good
    Charles the Bold/ 3rd wife was Margaret of York

    • That’s the thing though … She is a remotely DISTANT cousin. They make it seem as if she is so close to the Burgundy family. Also I believe in the book she does and even Philippa Gregory says they were descended from them. The person closest in relation to the actual Duke was Lady Cecily, Duchess of York who was a cousin, once removed of the Duke.

      • I understand now what you are saying and I could not figure that our either. She always referred to them as “their cousins from Burgundy”, and I tried to find a closer link but could not. They do seem to make one think they are closely related and I could not find that.

      • Exactly. They even talk of wine from Burgundy. And when Charles comes to town they entertain him at their table. I’m not sure why. The duchess of York was his cousin via his mother, Isabel, Duchess of Burgundy who was the daughter of Philippa of Lancaster — sister of Lady Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland (mother of the Duchess of York).

  5. Thanks for clearing this up. I also could not figure out how she thought they were related and was guessing she was confusing Bedford’s first and second wives. I wonder whether she just made a mistake or had some reason to connect Jacquetta to Burgundy, but I can’t seem to find any real reason to do so. Very strange indeed.

    • I think it was something Philippa made up in her head and decided to go with it. The connection to the Duke of Burgundy and the Duchess of York (mother of Edward IV) was cousin, once removed. She had the closest relation due to her maternal grandfather, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.

  6. I could be completely wrong about this connection, but Jaquetta’s grandfather was John of Luxembourg. His brother was Waleran III, Count of Ligny. Waleran III’s daugher Jeanne married Antoine, Duke of Brabant, son of Phillip II of Burgandy, founder of the Burgundian house of Valois. When their son, Phillip of St Pol died in 1430, his lands were inherited by his 1st cousin, Phillip III, Duke of Burgandy. It’s all very confusing. There are other connections as well but it’s all very confusing!

    • The problem with this is it’s made to be known that she is a “cousin” of Charles. Implying that they are very close. Philippa Gregory makes this very clear of her “noble” connections which is not so. She even has Jacquetta informing the Duchess of York that her cousin has informed her of the marriage of Lady Anne and the prince of Wales if I’m not mistaken. In actuality, Charles was Cecily’s cousin.

      The whole connection of the daughter of a great-uncle who marries the son of a Duke of Burgundy and had no Duke of Burgundy blood connection except by marriage is preposterous! The Duke of Burgundy was a cousin to the Duke of Brabant, Jacquetta’s distant cousin. The whole of the royal families and nobility descended from the Dukes of Brabant.

      You can also note that Wallerin III of Luxembourg married Lady Maud Holland; daughter of Thomas, Earl of Kent and the Princess of Wales (Lady Joan, Countess of Kent). Lord Warwick descended from the Kent line via their granddaughter, Lady Eleanor Holland, Countess of Salisbury.

      So bottom line, still no blood connection.

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