Spotlight: Jacquetta of Luxembourg

Name: Jacquetta of Luxembourg

Title/s: Duchess of Bedford / Countess Rivers

Birth / Death: c.1415 – 30 May 1472

Spouse: John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford 1389-1435 / Richard Woodville, Earl Rivers 1405-1469

Children: Elizabeth, Queen of England 1437-1492 / Lewis 1438-1450 / Anne, Countess of Kent 1438-1489 / Anthony, Earl Rivers 1440-1483 / John 1444-1469 / Jacquetta, Baroness Strange 1445-1509 / Lionel 1446-1484 / Eleanor d.1512 / Margaret, Countess of Arundel 1450-1491 / Martha d.1500 / Richard, Earl Rivers 1453-1491 / Edward, Lord Scales 1454-1488 / Mary, Countess of Pembroke 1456-1481 / Catherine, Duchess of Bedford 1458-1497

Parents: Peter I of Luxembourg 1390-1433 & Margaret of Baux 1394-1469

Siblings: Louis 1418-1475 / Thibaud d.1477 / Jacques d.1487 / Catherine d.1492 / Isabelle d.1472

Noble Connections: Jacquetta of Luxembourg was a part of the royal family of Luxembourg. Her father was the Count of Saint-Pol and she had originally been married to John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, although they had no children.

Events of their Lifetime: Battle of Towton 1460, Battle of Barnet 1471, accession of Edward IV to the English throne 1460, marriage of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville 1464, execution of her husband Earl Rivers 1469

Controversy: Throughout Jacquetta’s life there were accusations of witchcraft against her, and she was tried in 1471, but released. It is said that she was descended from the goddess Melusina, hence the witchcraft.

Works of Fiction:
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, The Last of the Barons (1843)
Margaret Frazer, A Play of Treachery (2009)
Philippa Gregory, The Lady of the Rivers (2011)
Philippa Gregory, The White Queen (2009)

Portrayals on Screen:
Janet McTeer, The White Queen, 2013, 6 episodes

Further Reading:
Philippa Gregory, The Women of the Cousins’ War: the Duchess, the Queen and the King’s Mother (2011)
Sarah Gristwood, Blood Sisters: the Women Behind the Wars of the Roses (2012)
Susan Higginbotham, The Woodvilles: the Wars of the Roses and England’s Most Infamous Family (2013)
J.L. Laynesmith, The Last Medieval Queens: English Queenship 1445-1503 (2004)
David MacGibbon, Elizabeth Woodville: her Life and Times (1938)
Alison Weir, The Wars of the Roses (1995)


There don’t appear to be any surviving images of Jacquetta of Luxembourg.

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