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Katherine Swynford
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    (1350-May 10, 1403)
    Born in Hainault (part of modern Belgium)
    Birth name was Katherine de Roet
    Daughter of a minor Flemish knight Payne de Roet
    Longtime mistress and third wife of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III
    She and John didn’t hide their affair from the public or John’s then-wife Constanza of Castile.
    She’s often described as a medieval Camilla Parker-Bowles.
    She is mainly known through the inaccurate bodice-ripper ‘Katherine’ by Anya Seton.
    Her immediate descendants plunged England into civil war over succession to the throne.
    Her son by her first marriage may have killed Richard II by starving him to death.
    She was called a ‘she-devil,’ ‘witch’ and ‘unspeakable concubine’ by contemporary chroniclers.
    She was probably married off to her first husband, Hugh Swynford, when she was only 12.
    His early death left her a teenage widow with three children.
    She was a governess to John’s daughters from his first marriage.
    Her brother-in-law was Geoffrey Chaucer.
    She and John eventually got permission from the pope to marry and legitimize their four children.
    She is the direct ancestor of all British monarchs since 1461.
    Five American presidents are also descended from her.

Credit: Georgina

    In 2018, Out of 2 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
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