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7 August - a birthday post

7 August 2014 marks two birthdays. For the purposes of this website the emphasis must be on Elizabeth of Rhuddlan, born amid the dual joys of building work (Rhuddlan Castle had been under siege by the Welsh mere weeks before, and the damage was still being made good) and a muster for the 1282 campaign. Eleanor and Edward arrived on 8 July, and while Eleanor had (as ususal) ensured that she had some form of garden to sit in, with vast amounts of turf laid prior to her arrival, by August over 8,000 troops were based there.

Actually we can't be quite sure when Elizabeth was born, but the fact that Eleanor was churched on 6 September, makes it fairly likely that the birth took place on 7 August. Various small necessaries, including a bucket - perhaps for nappies? - were bought locally and Eleanor held something of a party to celebrate her churching, with minstrels paid for the occasion.

Little Elizabeth spent more of her very early days with her mother than any of the other children; but purely through force of circumstance. With Edward actually on campaign, Eleanor was more or less stuck at Rhuddlan for months, and Elizabeth probably didn't join the nursery establishment until some time in 1283. But from 1286 Eleanor disappeared from her life for three years. There would be just a short window of time to get to know her mother before Eleanor's death in late 1290.

Elizabeth was reputedly Edward I's favourite child. Although she was married to the Count of Holland, she refused to leave her father for some time after the wedding, and Edward finally accompanied her to Holland in 1298. In less than eighteen months, however, she was a widow - and immediately hightailed it back to England! She thereafter contracted a marriage more to her taste - with the young Humphrey de Bohun, heir to the Earldom of Herefordshire, and a companion from her schoolroom days, as well as a cousin. She bore him ten children in twelve years - but died bearing the last one, Isabel.

As for the second birthday - Happy birthday, Amelia!

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