Tales from Froissart

edited by Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University

The marriage of the King of Portugal and Philippa, daughter of the Duke of Lancaster

The alliance between Portugal and Lancaster is sealed by a dynastic marriage, accompanied by jousting.
Book III, ch. 56 (Johnes, v. 2, pp. 221-2).  On the morrow, after the surrender of Muros, when the knights were preparing for their march towards Betancos, a messenger from the duke of Lancaster arrived with letters, ordering them to return instantly, whatever might be their situation; for he was daily expecting the archbishop of Braganza and sir Joao Rodriguez de Sa, ambassadors from the king of Portugal, who were to marry his daughter by procuration, and conduct her to that
king at Oporto, where he was waiting for her. Sir John Holland, the marshal and admiral,
on learning this, altered their plans, and said it was proper that their lord the duke,
when he received ambassadors from the king of Portugal, should have all his council with
him.  Having placed sufficient garrisons in the towns they had won, they said they would
not attempt more until the month of May, and returned to Saint Jago, whither the duke
had sent fo them. Three days after their arrival, came the archbishop of Braganza and sir
Joao Rudriguez de Sa, who entered the town of Saint Jago with two hundred horse, where
they were all lodged, everything having been prepared for them.

When the archbishop, with the knights and lords in his company, had refreshed themselves,
they waited on the duke and duchess of Lancaster in grand array, who received them most
graciously. They then declared the motive of the embassy, which the duke heard with
pleasure; for he was rejoiced at the exaltation of his daughter, and the connexion with the
king of Portugal, which was very opportune, if he persevered in his intention of conquering
Castille. The archbishop explained, to the satisfaction of the duke and his council, that by
power of the king's procuration, he was authorised to espouse personally the lady Philippa
of Lancaster, in the name of don John, king of Portugal. During the residence of these
ambassadors at Saint Jago, the ceremony was performed by virtue of the above-mentioned
procuration; and the archbishop of Braganza and the lady Philippa were courteously laid
beside each other, on a bed, as married persons should be. This being done, on the morrow
the lady and her attendants were ready to depart; and, having bidden adieu to her father
and mother, she mounted her palfrey, as did her damsels, and her bastard sister, the wife of
the marshal, who accompanied her to Portugal. Sir John Holland, sir Thomas Percy, and
sir John d'Ambreticourt, were ordered to escort her with one hundred spears and two
hundred archers. They followed the road to Oporto, and, when near, were met by the king
and his court, with all the prelates at that time in Oporto, to do her honour; such as the
bishops of Lisbon, Evora, Coimbra, and Oporto: among the barons were, the counts
d'Angouse, de Novaire, de l'Escalle, Guadalupe Ferrant Pacheco, Vasco Martin de Merlo,
with upwards of forty knights, and great crowds of ladies and other persons, and the whole
of the clergy in their holiday dresses. Thus was the lady Philippa conducted to the king's
palace at Oporto, where she dismounted. The king took her by the hand and kissed her,
performing the same ceremony to all the ladies who had accompanied her, and then led her
to her apartments, where he took leave of her and her companions.

The English lords and their men were lodged in the town, which is of considerable size;
and this night they kept the vigil of the feast by carolling, dancing, and other amusements,
until the morrow's dawn. On Tuesday morning, the king of Portugal, the prelates and
lords of his country, were dressed by eight o'clock, and, mounting their horses at the palace
gate, rode to the cathedral called St. Mary's church, where they waited for the queetl. She
followed shortly after, attended by her ladies and damsels; and, though the ambassadors
had before espoused her in the king's name, the ceremony was again performed; which done,
they returned to the palace, where were grand and solemn feastings. In the afternoon
were tilts and tournaments before the king and queen; and in the evening the prizes were
distributed. Sir John Holland gained the one destined for strangers; and that for the
natives was won by a knight attached to the king, sir John Testad'oro. The day and
night passed thus jovially in various amusements. That night the king lay with the queen;
and it was reported by those who were near his person, that he had hitherto been perfectly
chaste, and had never known woman.

On the morrow the feastings and joustings were renewed, when sir Vasco Martin de
Merlo gained one prize, and sir John d' Ambreticourt the other. The night was spent as
before, in carollings, dancing, and other sports; and while the English staid at Oporto,
there were tournaments every day. With such rejoicings was the queen of Portugal
received on her arrival at Oporto. They lasted upwards of ten days; and the king made
all the strangers, on their departure, such gifts as satisfied them. The English lords, having
taken leave of the king and queen of Portugal, returned to Saint Jago. The duke and
duchess of Lancaster made great inquiries, and were told all that had passed; that the king
saluted them, and that the queen recommended herself to their love. Sir John Holland and
sir Thomas Percy added, "My lord, the last words the king, said to us were, that you might
take the field when you pleased, for that he would join you and enter Castille." "That is
good news, indeed," replied the duke.

About fifteen days after the return of the lords from Portugal, the duke of Lancaster
ordered them to prepare for conquering the remaining towns in Galicia, for there were
several be was not master of. It was settled by the council of the duke, that when he
should depart from Saint Jago, the duchess and her daughter Catherine should visit the
king and young queen of Portugal, at Oporto. The town of Saint Jago was placed under
the command of an English knight, called sir Lewis Clifford, with thirty spears, and one
hundred archers, for his garrison.

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Posted originally on October 15, 2002