On this day in history : 7th June 1394 – The death of Queen Anne of Bohemia, the first wife of King Richard II – who was so devastated by the loss of his wife that he tore down their home….
The marriage had not been a popular choice amongst the English nobility nor Members of Parliament…. Although her father, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, was a powerful man it was thought by many there would be little trade or political advantage in such a union….
It did not help matters that her arrival on English soil was delayed by severe storms….and no sooner had she disembarked from the ship it was smashed to pieces…. This was inevitably seen as a bad omen and a sign of things to come…. Anne landed in Dover in 1381, travelled to Canterbury and then on to London – where she was received with harsh criticism…. The Westminster Chronicle referred to her as ‘a tiny scrap of humanity’…. Much of the scorn may have stemmed from the absence of any dowry – indeed, in order to wed her it was Richard who paid 20,000 florins (around £4m) to her brother, King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia….
Despite all of the grumblings and misgivings the marriage ceremony went ahead at Westminster Abbey on the 20th of January 1382…. It was, incidentally, 537 years before another royal wedding was to be held at the Abbey….
Richard and Anne were just 16-years-old when they married….they were to form a close and loving relationship – Richard was devoted to his wife…. Over time she won the hearts of the English people; she was known for her kindness – earning her the name of Good Queen Anne…. She would often intervene to try and help people, such as those seeking pardons or clemency…. In 1384 she begged Richard to save the life of former Lord Mayor of London, John Northampton – who had been arrested on charges of sedition and sentenced to death…. His sentence was commuted to 10 years…. She also interceded on the behalf of Richard’s former tutor, Simon de Burley, who faced execution for his role in the Peasants’ Revolt…. In this instance she failed to help….
As King and Queen of England the royal couple chose their main residence as Sheen Manor – which was situated on the site which was later to become Richmond Palace…. Richard was the first King to choose this location as his main home…. Although married for 12 years Richard and Anne were to have no children…. She died at Sheen Manor, probably of plague, on the 7th of June 1394…. She was buried in Westminster Abbey – in a double tomb so Richard could later be laid to rest beside her – another royal first…. He was so distraught after her death that he ordered Sheen Manor to be torn down….
In 1406 he went on to marry Isabella of France – a political union (at least one would hope) as she was only 6-years-old…. However, just 3 years later he was lying beside Anne….