Blanche of England

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Blanche of England
Ludwig III. mit Ehefrauen.jpg
Blanche (middle) with her husband and his second wife Matilda as depicted in 1435
Born Spring 1392
Peterborough Castle, Northamptonshire
Died 22 May 1409(1409-05-22) (aged 17)
Haguenau, Alsace
Burial St Mary's at Neustadt, Electorate of the Palatinate
Spouse Louis III, Elector Palatine
m. 1402; wid. 1409
House House of Lancaster
Father Henry IV, King of England
Mother Mary de Bohun

Blanche of England, LG (spring 1392 – 22 May 1409), also known as Blanche of Lancaster, was a member of the House of Lancaster, the daughter of King Henry IV of England by his first wife Mary de Bohun.


Born at Peterborough Castle in Northamptonshire, Blanche was the sixth of the seven children born during the marriage of Henry of Lancaster and his wife Mary de Bohun. At the time of her birth, Henry was only Earl of Derby and, thanks to his marriage, Earl of Northampton and Earl of Hereford; as the only surviving son of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster, he was the heir of the Duchy of Lancaster. Blanche was named after her paternal grandmother.

Blanche's mother died on 4 June 1394 in Peterborough Castle after giving birth to her last child, Philippa. Five years later, on 13 October, Blanche's father deposed his cousin Richard II and usurped the throne. Three years later, in 1402, her father was remarried, to Joanna, daughter of King Charles II of Navarre and widow of Duke John V of Brittany. They had no children.


After his accession to the English throne, King Henry IV wanted to make important alliances in order to maintain and legitimize his rule. One needed ally was King Rupert of Germany, who had also ascended following his predecessor's deposition: a marriage between Rupert's eldest surviving son Louis and Henry IV's eldest daughter Blanche was soon arranged.

Blanche's restored tombstone at the church in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse

The marriage contract was signed on 7 March 1401 in London; the bride's dowry was fixed in the amount of 40,000 Nobeln. The formal marriage between Blanche and Louis took place one year later, on 6 July 1402 at Cologne Cathedral, Germany. Blanche's dowry included the oldest surviving royal crown known to have been in England. Despite its political nature, the marriage was said to be happy. Four years later, on 22 Jun 1406 in Heidelberg, Blanche gave birth to a son, called Rupert after his paternal grandfather.

In 1408 Blanche was made Lady of the Garter. One year later, pregnant with her second child, she died of fever in Haguenau, Alsace and was buried in the Church of St. Mary (today St. Aegidius) in Neustadt in the Palatinate.

Her widower became Elector Palatine as Louis III in 1410 after the death of his father King Rupert and in 1417 married Matilda, daughter of Amadeo, Prince of Achaea, member of the House of Savoy, who bore him six children. Blanche's son Rupert (nicknamed the English) died aged nineteen in 1426, unmarried and without issue.