The Historische Kring Voorhout (HKV) wants to rebury Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut in the cemetery of the Maartenskerk in Sint-Maartensdijk, according to the Countess’s last wishes. She is currently buried in the court chapel in the Binnenhof in The Hague with other family members.
She was born in the castle of Le Quesnoy in Hainaut on 16 August 1401. She was the only daughter of William II, Duke of Bavaria and Margaret of Burgundy. Jacqueline was famously married four times.
Her first marriage was to John, Duke of Touraine, fourth son of Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. He was not expected to rule in France. They married on 6 August 1415, when Jacqueline was only 14, in The Hague. However, that same year John became the new Dauphin of France after the death of his elder brother. The marriage was short. John died two years later on 4 April 1417. A mere two months later, Jacqueline’s father also died.
Jacqueline was acknowledged as the sovereign of Holland, Zeeland and Hainaut, but her uncle John III, Duke of Bavaria-Straubing, claimed them as his rightful inheritance. To make her position stronger, Jacqueline decided to marry again. She married her cousin John IV, Duke of Brabant, but he proved a bad choice. He gave John III full custody over Holland and Zeeland for 12 years. It was decided that the marriage should be dissolved.
In 1422 Jacqueline obtained a dubious divorce from John IV of Brabant to allow her to marry Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, who was a brother of Henry V of England. Jacqueline had hoped for help from Humphrey, but he was not recognised in Holland and Zeeland as count. He eventually had to return to England, and he had to leave Jacqueline behind. In 1425 she was imprisoned in Ghent by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. She escaped from Ghent dressed in men’s clothes. During this time the pope decreed that she was still married to John IV, Duke of Brabant and that her marriage to Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester was invalid. John IV had died a year before the decree, however.
In 1428 Jacqueline was forced to agree to a peace treaty that basically took away all her lands, but she was allowed to keep her titles. Philip the Good was also her heir if she died without children and she was not to marry without the permission of her mother, Philip and the three counties. Philip did not abide by this peace treaty; however, and in 1433, Jacqueline ended up giving him all her land and titles, and in return, she was to have an income from several estates. Her financial situation before this had been dire.
Jacqueline retired to her lands in Zeeland, and this is where she met her fourth husband, Francis, Lord of Borssele. They married in 1434. Supposedly it was a love match. It was to be a short marriage. Jacqueline became ill in 1436, and she died a few months later. She died in Teylingen Castle on 8 October 1436. She had no children.
The Binnenhof in The Hague is due to be remodelled, and according to the HKV, this would be the best time to grant the Countess’s final wish. However, it is unknown which bones are Jacqueline’s as the tombstones have been moved over time and after extensive renovations the court chapel currently houses offices. One solution would be to DNA-test the bones and match them to a braid currently housed in the Rijkmuseum that is said to belong to Jacqueline.
Nothing is certain yet, and so Jacqueline will, for now, remain buried in The Hague.