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Margaret of France

Margaret of France (c.1282–1318), queen of Edward I. Edward's second wife, whom he married in 1299, has attracted little attention from historians. She was some 40 years younger than her husband, and there is no evidence to suggest that she was as close to him as his first queen Eleanor of Castile had been. The marriage was the result of diplomatic moves in the aftermath of the war of 1294–7 between England and France; Margaret was a daughter of Philip III of France by his second marriage. The ceremony was an occasion for considerable celebration, but Margaret was never crowned queen. She bore Edward a son, Thomas, in admirably short order. A second son, Edmund, and a daughter, Eleanor, followed. Margaret performed the traditional queenly function of interceding with the king to obtain pardons more extensively than had her predecessor Eleanor, and used her influence to help reconcile the king with his eldest son Edward when the two quarrelled bitterly in 1305. Edward did not grant her a generous landed endowment, and there are indications that she suffered some financial problems. Her widowhood was uneventful. She was notably pious, and patronized the Franciscans, in whose London church she was buried in 1318, rather than at Westminster beside her husband.

Michael Prestwich

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