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.

Family of Queen Katherine: The Baux Family of Andria

Francesco de Balzo, 1st Duke of Andria (or Baux) (c.1330[1] – 23 April 1422) Count of Montescaglioso and Squillace, Signore of Berre, Mison, and Tiano.

Original coat of arms of the House of Baux (Lords of Baux). Some authors, and local tradition, with a hagiographic aim, fancifully claimed that the family was descended from Balthazar, one of the three Magi (the 16-rayed star symbolizing the star of Bethlehem). Some, that they descended from the first kings of Armenia, the star signifying that they directly knew Jesus. The motto of the family was ‘Au Hasard Baltasar', as well as 'Jamais Vassal’ and ‘Semper Ardentius’

Original coat of arms of the House of Baux (Lords of Baux). Some authors, and local tradition, with a hagiographic aim, fancifully claimed that the family was descended from Balthazar, one of the three Magi (the 16-rayed star symbolizing the star of Bethlehem). Some, that they descended from the first kings of Armenia, the star signifying that they directly knew Jesus. The motto of the family was ‘Au Hasard Baltasar’, as well as ‘Jamais Vassal’ and ‘Semper Ardentius’

Balzo was the son of Bertrand III del Balzo, Count of Andria and Montescaglioso and his second wife, Marguerite d’Aulnay.[1] Balzo’s father was a Senator of Rome, Captain General of Tuscany, and Justiciar of Naples.[1] The half-royal Balzo (Baux) family was one of the greatest families of Regno after the Duke’s marriage to Marguerite of Taranto in 1348.[2]

In 1349, Balzo was given an extant grant by Louis, Prince of Taranto. Prince Louis had married his cousin Joanna I of Naples in 1346 as her second husband. Louis of Taranto and Queen Joanna’s mothers (Empress Catherine and Marie of Valois) were sisters. Queen Joanna had named Louis, King of Naples; he was crowned in 1352/53. The King was brother to Balzo’s second wife, Marguerite of Taranto, whom he had married in 1348.[1][3] Balzo was created Duke of Andria and was the first magnate to be raised to ducal dignity in the kingdom.[2] Andria had been a royal fief which the Duke’s father received from Beatrice of Anjou, by virtue of her dower.[4]

On the death of Philip II, Prince of Taranto in 1373, Marguerite and Balzo declared Taranto and Philip’s Greek lands and titles for themselves and their son, James of Baux, as the last male descendant of Philip I, Prince of Taranto.[2] Margaret’s claim was supported by Pope Gregory XI.[2] Queen Joanna, however, decided to exercise direct rule over the Prince of Taranto’s Greek possessions.[2] In April 1374, Queen Joanna decided to suppress the family and stripped Baux of all his lands and titles.[2] This action led to a civil war between the Queen and the del Balzo family.[2] An account is recorded in the Aragonese version of Chronicle of Morea.[2]


Balzo married three times.[1] In 1337, he married firstly to Luisa de San Severino, daughter of Tamasso III de San Severino, Count of Marsico; they had no issue.[1]

In 1348, Balzo married secondly to Marguerite of Taranto, daughter of Philip I, Prince of Taranto by his second wife, Catherine of Valois, titular Empress of Constantinople.[1] She died about September 1380 in imprisonment.[1] They had two children:

  • James of Baux, Prince of Achaea and the last titular Latin Emperor of Constantinople.[1]
  • Antonia de Balzo, queen consort to Frederick III, King of Sicily.[1]
Elizabeth Woodville from "Kings & Queens: The story of Britain's monarchs from pre-Roman times to today"

Elizabeth Woodville from “Kings & Queens: The story of Britain’s monarchs from pre-Roman times to today”

In 1381, Balzo married thirdly to Sueva Orsini, by whom he had issue including Margherita del Balzo; mother of Jacquetta of Luxembourg.[1] By Margherita, Balzo was a great-grandfather of queen consort Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV of England.[1]

Queen Katherine Parr was related to Marguerite of Taranto through many lines including Parr’s descent from Charles II, King of Sicily, Prince Charles, Count of Valois (son of Philip III of France), etc. Parr was distantly related to Sueva Orsini by her descent from King John; Parr’s ancestors included Simon de Montfort, lord of Montfort l’Amaury and Amicia de Beaumont (grandparents of the Earl of Leicester), several legitimate and illegitimate children of King John, etc.


  1. Douglas Richardson. Plantagenet Ancestry: Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011. pg 401.
  2. Kenneth Meyer Setton. A History of the Crusades: Fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, edited by Harry W. Hazard. Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1969. pg 142-46.
  3. Pietro Giannone. The civil history of the Kingdom of Naples, Volume 2, London, 1723. pg 241.
  4. Welbore St. Clair Baddeley. Robert the Wise and His Heirs, 1278-1352, W. Heinemann, 1897. pg 463.

Written and Researched by Meg McGath; 5 May 2013.

STARZ ‘The White Queen’: Elizabeth Woodville

The “common” Queen

Rebecca Ferguson as Queen Elizabeth.

Rebecca Ferguson as Queen Elizabeth.

A young commoner from the House of Lancaster with angelic beauty and high intellect, Elizabeth becomes widowed when her first husband is killed in battle. She is left to fend for herself with two small boys, until fate introduces her to the noble King Edward IV (Max Irons) from the House of York. They both fall madly in love, and after a secret wedding she becomes Queen of England. At the outset of their lives together, Elizabeth’s motives are pure but once she finds herself on the throne, Elizabeth becomes fiercely protective of her family as she sees the dangerous forces surrounding her in the perilous politics of the day. — STARZ

The first in a stunning new series, The Cousins’ War, is set amid the tumult and intrigue of the Wars of the Roses. Internationally bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings this extraordinary family drama to vivid life through its women – beginning with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

Philippa Gregory's new covers to promote "The White Queen."

Philippa Gregory’s new covers to promote “The White Queen.”

Elizabeth Woodville, of the House of Lancaster, is widowed when her husband [Sir John Grey of Groby, by whom she has issue] is killed in battle. Aided and abetted by the raw ambition and witchcraft skills of her mother Jacquetta, Elizabeth seduces and marries, in secret, reigning king Edward IV, of the family of the white rose, the House of York. As long as there are other claimants to Edward’s throne, the profound rivalries between the two families will never be laid to rest. Violent conflict, shocking betrayal and murder dominate Elizabeth’s life as Queen of England, passionate wife of Edward and devoted mother of their children.

In The White Queen Philippa Gregory brilliantly evokes the life of a common woman who ascends to royalty by virtue of her beauty, a woman who rises to the demands of her position and fights tenaciously for the survival of her family, a woman whose two sons become the central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the Princes in the Tower whose fate remains unknown to this day. — Gregory

Philippa Gregory's new covers to promote "The White Queen."

Philippa Gregory’s new covers to promote “The White Queen.”

Elizabeth Woodville’s (Rebecca Ferguson) mother. Jacquetta hails from royalty through the House of Burgundy. She is a kind, caring and loving mother. As the matriarch of the family and a woman who feels she is in tune with the Earth and worldly callings, Jacquetta encourages the romance between Elizabeth and Edward, claiming it to be destiny. Jacquetta wants only the best for her daughter, and in Edward, she has gotten it, along with a proper place for herself and the rest of her family in history. That is, if they all can weather the raging political storm. — STARZ

Jacquetta of Luxembourg portrayed by Janet McTeer.

Jacquetta of Luxembourg portrayed by Janet McTeer.

Elizabeth Woodville was the niece of Queen Katherine’s maternal great-great-grandmother Joan Wydeville [Katherine would have been a first cousin, thrice removed of Queen Elizabeth by her mother, Maud Green]. Joan Wydeville married Sir William Haute/Hawte. Their daughter, Alice, married Sir John Fogge. The Haute family which Joan married into was quite prominent during the reign of Edward IV and Richard III. Fogge had originally been a supporter of the Lancastrian king, but in 1460 Fogge joined the Yorkist earls in Kent. It is obvious however that he was a Yorkist by the families which he married into; Alice Kyriel (daughter of Yorkist Sir Thomas) and Alice Haute c. 1465 who was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth. The previous year, Elizabeth Woodville had married Edward. Queen Elizabeth brought her favorite female relatives to court to serve her. Lady Alice Fogge (Haute) would be one of five ladies-in-waiting to her cousin, queen consort Elizabeth Woodville during the 1460s. (Harris) The other ladies included her sister Lady Anne (wife of William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier and George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent) and her sister-in-law Lady Elizabeth Scales (wife of Sir Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers). (Harris)

Katherine Parr was also a descendant of Henry V, Count of Luxembourg and Marguerite de Bar; William II, Baron of Tingry and Blanche de Brienne; Guy of Dampierre, Count of Flanders; and several other paternal ancestors of Jacquetta of Luxembourg.

Elizabeth Woodville portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson.

Elizabeth Woodville portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson.

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STARZ Official Trailer

The White Queen BBC one commercial – Directors cut from Jamie Childs on Vimeo.

See also —

Starz ‘The White Queen’: The Kingmaker’s Daughters

Starz ‘The White Queen’: Lady Margaret Beaufort


  • Philippa Gregory.The White Queen (the family tree is not correct and has many links missing!)
  • STARZ. “The White Queen,” August 2013.
  • Philippa Gregory. “The New Cousins’ War Series Book Covers,” 9 May 2013.
  • Barbara J. Harris. “English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550 : Marriage and Family, Property and Careers: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers,” Oxford University Press, Jul 26, 2002. pg 218.