1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Catherine of Valois

CATHERINE OF VALOIS (1401–1437), queen of Henry V. of England, daughter of Charles VI. of France by his wife Isabel of Bavaria, was born in Paris on the 27th of October 1401. The lunacy of her father and the depravity of her mother were serious drawbacks to Catherine, and her only education was obtained in a convent at Poissy. About 1408 a marriage was suggested between the princess and Henry, prince of Wales, afterwards Henry V., who renewed this proposal after he became king in March 1413. In addition to the hand of Catherine, however, the English king asked for a large dowry both in money and lands, and when these demands were rejected war broke out. Once or twice during short intervals of peace the marriage project was revived, and was favoured by Queen Isabel. When peace was eventually made at Troyes in May 1420 Henry and Catherine were betrothed, and the marriage took place at Troyes on the 2nd of June 1420. Having crossed to England with Henry, the queen was crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 23rd of February 1421, and in the following December gave birth to a son, afterwards King Henry VI. She joined Henry in France in May 1422, returning to England after his death in the succeeding August. Catherine’s name soon began to be coupled with that of Owen Tudor, a Welsh gentleman, and in 1428 Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, secured the passing of an act to prevent her from marrying without the consent of the king and council. It appears, however, that by this time Catherine and Tudor were already married. They lived in obscurity till 1436, when Tudor was imprisoned, and Catherine retired to Bermondsey Abbey, where she died on the 3rd of January 1437. Her body was buried in the Lady chapel of Westminster Abbey, and when the chapel was pulled down during the reign of Henry VII., was placed in Henry V.’s tomb. It lay afterwards under the Villiers monument, and in 1878 was re-buried in Henry V.’s chantry. By Tudor Catherine had three sons and a daughter. Her eldest son by this marriage, Edmund, was created earl of Richmond in 1452, and was the father of Henry VII.

See Agnes Strickland, Lives of the Queens of England, vol. iii. (London, 1877).