Monday, May 23, 2016

15C European Gardens - Who was the young queen in this 1400s Garden of Love?



Queen Catharina of Batavie presents her son at the court of love. c.1480 Poems of Charles d'Orleans and other works, c.1480 -1500 British Library, Royal ms 16 F 2, f.1r, detail.

Catharina of Batavie ("Catharina the Radiant") (1358-1400) was the 2nd wife of King Edvard II of Arendaal & thus the Queen Consort of Arendaal & Queen Consort of Suionia between 1378 & 1388. She married the Aren King a year after the death of his 1st wife, Louise of Montelimar. Though profoundly affected by Queen Louise's death, King Edvard II was pressured by his counselors to remarry. He did so in 1378, choosing the much younger Batavian Princess, Catharina, in order to reinforce the nation's alliance with Batavië.

Catharina was the daughter of the King of Batavië. Her father's interest in securing an alliance with the Aren Kingdom was the reason that Catharina was put forward as a prospective bride for the Aren King, in spite of the sizable age difference between them. Aren courtiers had been exceptionally fond of Catharina's predecessor, Louise of Montelimar, & did not warm up to the young, new queen easily. However, Catharina did become popular with her husband's subjects.

She delighted the Aren court by naming her 1st daughter by Edvard Princess Lovisa (an Aren form of the French name Louise) in honour of Edvard's wife Queen Louise. Although Catharina was decades younger than her husband, the mismatched couple reportedly had a happy marriage. Catharina became close to Edvard's children by Louise, who were more or less her age, & to her husband's grandchildren. Edvard II's eldest son by his 1st wife, Crown Prince Lief, predeceased him; & so the King was succeeded by his granddaughter Blanche I in 1388.


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