- Anne of Bohemia
:"For other Anna's of Bohemia see
Anne of Bohemia (disambiguation)"Infobox British Royalty|majesty|consort
name =Anne of Bohemia
title =Queen consort of England
reign =20 January 1383 - 7 June 1394
coronation =22 January 1383
spouse =Richard II
royal house =
House of Luxembourg
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Elizabeth of Pomerania
date of birth =birth date|1366|5|11|df=y
place of birth =
date of death =death date and age|1394|6|7|1366|5|11|df=y
place of death =
place of burial =
Anne of Bohemia (May 11, 1366 – June 7, 1394), also known as Good Queen Anne, was a daughter of
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia and Elizabeth of Pomerania. She was a member of the House of Luxembourgand was the first Queen consortof Richard II of England.
Marriage to King Richard II of England
Richard II married Anne of Bohemia as a result of the Great Schism in the Papacy, which had resulted in two rival popes. According to Eduard Perroy, Pope Urban VI actually sanctioned the marriage between Richard and Anne, in an attempt to create an alliance on his behalf, in particular so that he might be stronger against the French, and their preferred pope, Clement. This might explain why Richard married Anne, despite it being against the wishes of many members of his nobility and members of parliament. Although he had been offered the daughter of
Bernabò Viscontiof Milan, who would have brought a great deal of money with her as dowry — Anne was chosen, bringing no direct financial benefits to England. She brought with her no dowry, and in return for her hand in marriage, Richard gave 20,000 florins (around £13,000) in payment to her brother Wenceslas. There were also only few diplomatic benefits — although English merchants were now allowed to trade freely within both Bohemian lands, and lands of the Holy Roman Empire, this was not much when compared to the usual diplomatic benefits from marriages made as a result of the war with France. It is therefore no surprise that the marriage was unpopular.
On her arrival Anne was severely criticised by contemporary chroniclers, probably as a result of the financial arrangements of the marriage, although it was quite typical for queens to be viewed in critical terms. The Westminster Chronicler called her "a tiny scrap of humanity", and Thomas Walsingham related a disastrous omen upon her arrival, where her ships smashed to pieces as soon as she had disembarked. Nevertheless, Anne and King Richard II were married in
Westminster Abbeyon 22 January 1382, when each of them was only fifteen years old. Tournaments were held for several days after the ceremony, in celebration. They then went on an itinerary of the realm, staying at many major abbeys along the way.
They were married for 12 years, but had no children. Anne's death from plague in 1394 was a devastating blow to Richard II, whose subsequent unwise conduct lost him the throne.
Richard married his second wife,
Isabella of Valois, on 31 October 1396.
Although Anne was originally disliked by the chroniclers, there is some evidence that she became more popular in time. She was known to have been a very kind person and popular with the people of England, for example she was well known for her tireless attempts to 'intercede' on behalf of the people, procuring pardons for people in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, and numerous other pardons for wrongdoers.
She also made several high-status intercessions in front of the king. She interceded on behalf of Simon Burley, Richard II's former tutor during his minority, in the 1388 Merciless Parliament. She was also on her knees for the citizens of London in the ceremonial reconciliation of Richard and London in 1392.
On the other hand, she never fulfilled many traditional duties of queens. In particular, she did not bear children, despite 12 years of marriage, and this is perhaps emphasised in her epitaph, whereby she is mentioned as having been kind to 'pregnant women'. The Evesham chronicler said, "this queen, although she did not bear children, was still held to have contributed to the glory and wealth of the realm, as far as she was able". Nevertheless, the fact that her popular legacy seems to have been that she was "Good Queen Anne" seems to suggest that this lack of children was unimportant to many contemporaries.
Anne is buried at
Westminsterbeside her husband. Their joint tomb, now damaged, once showed them clasping hands. The inscription on her tomb describes her as "beauteous in body and her face was gentle and pretty." When her tomb was opened in 1871, it was discovered that many of her bones had been stolen via a hole in the side of the casket. [http://www.westminster-abbey.org/history-research/monuments-gravestones/royalty/12321 Richard II and Anne of Bohemia] at Westminster-Abbey.org. Accessed March 11, 2008.]
Anne of Bohemia is known to have made the
sidesaddlemore popular to ladies of the Middle Ages. She also influenced the design of carts in England when she arrived in a carriage, presumably from Kocs, Hungary, to meet her future husband Richard.
* [http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/person.asp?LinkID=mp00108 Images of Anne of Bohemia at the National Portrait Gallery]
* [http://home.gwu.edu/~jhsy/chaucer-ppp-ab.html Bronze Effigy of Anne of Bohemia on Westminster Tomb]
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