Five royal marriages with a large age difference

(public domain)

Royal marriages were mostly for convenience, prestige and offspring, and so it was quite common for the bride and groom to be quite different and mismatched. This included their ages, so here are five royal marriages with large age differences.

(public domain)

1. Adeliza of Louvain and King Henry I of England

Adeliza of Louvain was about 18 years old when she married King Henry I of England, who was about 53. This makes an age difference of about 36 years. He had been married once before to Matilda of Scotland, who had died in 1118. His only legitimate son, Willian, had died in the White Ship disaster in 1120, and he had just one legitimate daughter and a score of illegitimate children.

The wedding took place on 29 January 1121, and she was crowned the following day. She wasn’t very politically active, but he kept her with him on his travels, probably in the hopes of fathering a child. She was widowed in 1135 and remarried in 1138 to William d’Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel, and they had at least seven children together. After her death in 1151, she was buried with her first husband at Reading.

(public domain)

2. Margaret of France & King Edward I of England

Margaret of France was about 20 years old when she married the 60-year-old King Edward I of England. He had been widowed in 1290, and although he had six surviving children, he had just one surviving son. Margaret quickly fell pregnant after the wedding, and she gave birth to two sons in quick succession. A daughter named Eleanor was born in 1306, but she did not survive to adulthood. Margaret also forged a good relationship with her stepchildren despite the fact that she was only a few years older. Margaret was widowed in 1307, and she was deeply grieved. She never remarried, even though she was only in her late twenties. She died in 1318.

3. Mary Stewart & James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton 

Mary was the daughter of King James II of Scotland and Mary of Guelders. She was born in 1453 and was first married to Thomas Boyd, Earl of Arran, before 26 April 1467. They had two children together. Thomas and his father were accused of treason, and despite Mary’s attempts to clear their names, they were attained, and the marriage was declared void in 1473. Her brother, King James III, had another alliance in mind with the much older James Hamilton. They were married in 1474 when Mary was around 21, and James was about 60 years old. They went on to have three children together before she was widowed in 1479. Mary died in 1488.

(public domain)

4. Catherine of Saxony & Sigismund, Archduke of Austria

Catherine was born on 24 July 1468 as the daughter of Albert III, Duke of Saxony and Sidonie of Poděbrady. She was just 16 years old when she married the 56-year-old Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, who had previously been married to Eleanor Stewart. She was pulled into court intrigues by one of her husband’s mistresses, who accused her of trying to poison him. In the same year as their marriage, Sigismund was largely dismissed from power by Emperor Frederick III. The marriage remained childless, and Sigismund died in 1496. Catherine remarried not much later to Eric I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, and they had a short-lived daughter together. Catherine died in 1524.

(public domain)

5. Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este & Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria

Maria Leopoldine of Austria-Este was born on 10 December 1776 as the daughter of Ferdinand Karl, Archduke of Austria-Este and Maria Beatrice d’Este, Duchess of Massa. She was just 18 years old when she was selected as a bride for the 70-year-old Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, in 1795. He had been widowed in 1794 and only had illegitimate children. His only legitimate son had lived for just one day. Maria Leopoldine was said to be shocked but settled in her fate. She reportedly said. “Thank God, he is already so old.”1 As his wife, she repeatedly snubbed him, and he died just four years later. She remarried to Count Ludwig von Arco in 1804, and they went on to have three children together. She died in a carriage accident on 23 June 1848.

  1. Das Enfant Terrible des Koningshauses by Sylvia Krauss-Meyl p.36

About Moniek Bloks 2697 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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