Joan of the Tower (1321–1362)

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Joan of the Tower (1321–1362)

Queen of Scotland. Name variations: Joanna of the Tower; Joan Plantagenet; Joan Makepeace; Johane.Born in the Tower of London on July 5, 1321; died on August 14, 1362, in Hertford, Hertfordshire, England; interred at Greyfriar's Church, Newgate, London; youngest child of Isabella of France (1296–1358) and Edward II (1284–1327), king of England (r. 1307–1327); sister of Edward III (1312–1377), king of England (r. 1327–1377); became first wife of David Bruce also known as David II (1323–1370), king of Scotland (r. 1329–1370), on July 17, 1328; no children.

In 1327, the dethronement of Edward II, king of England, by his son Edward III set in motion a series of events that led to a treaty with England, the recognition of Scottish independence, and the acknowledgment of Robert Bruce's kingship. The Scots considered that this nullified a 1323 treaty and again began crossborder raiding. After an abortive expedition against Scotland, in 1328 the English finally recognized both Scotland's independence and Bruce's kingship in the treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, which was cemented by the marriage of Edward III's sister, seven-year-old Joan of the Tower, to Bruce's four-year-old son David. The treaty and marriage marked the culmination of Robert Bruce's career and represented the fruit of his 20-year struggle against England.

When Robert Bruce died on June 7, 1329, his five-year-old son became king, and in 1331 David was crowned with his queen Joan at Scone. The Scottish cause once again entered trying times. In 1332, Edward Balliol, son of Scotland's king John Balliol and one of those disinherited by Robert Bruce after the battle of Bannockburn, attempted to claim the throne of Scotland for himself. In this effort, he had the covert backing of Edward III who raised a large army in 1333. On July 19, Edward's army crushed the Scots at the battle of Halidon Hill, and within a year David and Joan were forced to flee to France. From 1334 to 1341, they remained in exile. Following the defeat and capture of her husband in England at Neville's Cross in 1346, Joan repeatedly tried to win his release from prison. She was finally successful in 1357, after his 11-year captivity in the Tower of London, when he was ransomed for 100,000 marks to be paid over ten years.