While, these days, study of the human genome has enabled us to trace our lineage to any number of unsuspected ancestors from kings to Neanderthals, the tracing of links of kinship not through DNA but through the records of births and marriages has its surprises – and its interest in revealing not merely the storyless trace of decent but something of the process and the people themselves. Valentina Baciu’s researches in the genealogy of the Montfort family provide insights into the Spencer family’s Montfort heritage, as well as that of the British Royal House.
Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester who founded England’s parliament in 1258, reestablished it in his near miraculous victory at Lewes (the 750th anniversary is being celebrated this year). In 1265, on the slopes of Green Hill at Evesham Montfort fought and died for the rights of the common man to choose his government.
Four of Montfort’s seven children survived him, but only his daughter Eleanor and his third son Guy had known issue. Eleanor, wed to the prince of northern Wales, Llewelyn ap Gruffid, bore (according to some early records) two daughters, Gwencillian who was consigned to a convent shortly after her birth. The second daughter, Katherine, was wedded to the prince of southern Wales thus uniting the royal lineages of Wales.
Henry VIII emblazoned the end wall of his hall in Winchester with a family tree emphasizing his descent from Simon de Montfort through Owen Tudor and the princes of Wales. This genealogy has been spurned by scholars as a blatant attempt to give Queen Katherine, the widow of King Henry V, a better lineage for her lover and second husband Owen Tudor. However, King Henry need not have stretched the point on his own behalf since his grandmother Elizabeth Woodville, Queen to Edward IV, was herself a descendent of Simon de Montfort.
However, Valentina Baciu has further unearthed as well the Spencer family’s Montfort connections and Princess Diana’s links to the Founder of Parliament.
Simon de Montfort -> Guy de Montfort→Anastasia de Montfort→1) Roberto Orsini→ 2) Nicola Orsini→ 3) Raimondello Orsini del Balzo→ 4) Caterina Orsini del Balzo→ 5) Isabella de Clermont(de Chiaromonte)→ 6) Federigo de Aragon→ 7) Charlotte de Aragon(de Napoli, de Tarento)→ 8) Anne de Montfort→ 9) Louis de la Tremouille→ 10) Claude, 1st duke de la Tremouille married to Charlotte de Nassau→ 11) Charlotte de la Tremouille→ 12) Amelia Ann Sophia , Lady Stanley→ 13)John Murray→ 14) Ann Susan, Lady Murray→ 15) Catherine Gordon, Lady of Aberdeen→ 16) Alexander Gordon→ 17) Georgiana Elizabeth, Lady of Gordon→ 18) Louisa Jane Russel→ 19) James Hamilton→ 20) James Albert Edward Hamilton, 3rd duke of Abercorn→ 21) Cynthia Elinor Beatrix, Lady Hamilton married Albert Edward John Spencer→ 22) Edward John 8th Earl Spencer married Frances Ruth Burke→ 23) Princess Diana of Wales ->24) William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor.
A few of the details:
1) Roberto Orsini, Count of Nola, Count of Soleto, of Soana and Nettuno
2) Nicolo Orsini (27 august 1331-1399) Grand Justiciar and Grand Chancellor of Kingdom of Naples.
3) Raimondo Orsini del Balzo (Raimondello) (~1361- 1406), Count of Soleto (1382), Duke of Benevento (1385-1401), Prince of Taranto (1393-1406), Count of Lecce (1401-06), Prince of Taranto, Duke of Bari, Grand Constable of the Kingdom of Naples, Gonfaloner of the Holy Roman Church, Lord Protector of the King of Naples, 1385.
4) Caterina Orsini, di Taranto, (b. aft. 1386) married the knight Barthelemi Tristan, Seigneur de Claremont-Lodeve (Chiaramonte), Count de Copertino (d.1432)
5) Isabella di Chiaromonte, Princess of Taranto, queen of Naples (d. 1456), Isabella also inherited the Brienne claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Married Ferdinand I de Aragon, King of Naples
6) Federico I de Aragon, King of Naples ( 1452 – 1504). The last King of Naples of the House of Trastámara, ruling from 1496 to 1501. Married Anne de Savoie (1455- 1480) daughter of Amedee IX , Duke of Savoie (1435 - 1472), granddaughter of Anne de Lusignan. The Savoie are the royal family of Italy today.
7) Charlotte de Aragon, Princess of Taranto ( aft. 1478 – 1506). Brought up in France, she spent most of her life at the French court. Cesare Borgia wanted to marry her, but she refused. Married Guy XV, Comte de Laval (1476 – 1531) who inherited the title Comte de Montfort et de St.Quintin: the Laval branch of the Montfort family descended from Simon’s brother Amaury de Monfort.
8) Anne de Montfort Laval (1505 – 1553) married Francois de la Tremouille, Vicomte de Thouars; Prince de Talmond (1502-1541)
9) Louis (III) de la Tremouille, (1521-1577) 1st Duke of Thouars, Prince of Talmond and Tarente, Count of Taillebourg (1542-1550), Baron of Sully.10) Claude de La Trémoïlle, (1566 -1604) 2e Duke of Thouars, Prince of Talmond, Count of Guînes, Baron of Sully, Berrie, Mauléon: married Charlotte-Brabantine d'Orange-Nassau (1580- 1631), daughter of William I (the Silent) of Orange-Nassau and of Charlotte de Bourbon-Montpensier.
11) Charlotte de Tremoille (1599 - 1664), Countess of Derby: married James Stanley, 7th Count of Derby, during the life of his father he was styled Lord Strange. Lord of the Isle of Man called Y Stanlagh Mooar ( The Great Stanley) eldest son of William Stanley and Elizabeth de Vere.
12) Lady Amelia Ann Sophia Stanley (1633 to 1702/1703) married John Murray, 1st Marquess of Atholl, a leading Scottish royalist and defender of the Stuarts during the English Civil War of the 1640s, and until after the rise to power of William and Mary in 1689. He succeeded as 2nd Earl of Atholl on his father's demise in June 1642 and as 3rd Earl of Tullibardine after the death of his first cousin the 2nd Earl in 1670.
13) John Murray, (1660 – 1724) 1st Duke of Atholl, fought in the Glorious Revolution for William III and Mary II, was created 1st Earl of Tullibardine by William III of England in 1696, was created the 1st Duke of Atholl by Queen Anne in 1703.
14) Lady Susan Murray 1699 – 1725) married William Gordon, 2nd Earl of Aberdeen.
15) Lady Catherine Gordon (1718–1799) married her distant cousin, Cosmo George Gordon, 3rd Duke of Gordon, styled Marquess of Huntly until 1728. Gordon was the son of the 2nd Duke of Gordon and was named after his father's close, Jacobite friend, Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
16) Alexander Gordon (1743 – 1827), 4th Duke of Gordon, described by Kaimes as the "greatest subject in Britain", known as the Cock o' the North, the traditional epithet of the chief of the Gordon clan. Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland Dictionary of National Biography described him thus: "At the time of his marriage the Duke was reputed one of the handsomest men of his day." Credited as founder of the Gordon Setter breed of dog.
17) Lady Georgiana Gordon (1781 – 1853), married John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford, the father of Prime Minister John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (placed equestrian statue of Simon de Montfort in front of the Houses of Parliament – statue is presently labeled Richard Coeur de Lion.)
18) Lady Louisa Jane Russell (1812 – 1905), married James Hamilton, 1st Duke of Abercorn.
19) James Hamilton, (1838 – 1913), 2nd Duke of Abercorn styled Viscount Hamilton then Marquess of Hamilton Lord of the Bedchamber to Edward, Prince of Wales from 1866 to 1885. Lord Lieutenant of County Donegal, and member of Privy Council of Ireland. Married Lady Maria Anna Curzon-Howe (1848–1929), daughter of Richard Curzon-Howe, 1st Earl Howe.
20) James Albert Edward Hamilton (1869 – 1953), 3rd Duke of Abercorn, KG, KP, PC, styled Marquess of Hamilton Married Lady Rosalind Cecilia Caroline Bingham, daughter of Charles Bingham, 4th Earl of Lucan and Lady Cecilia Catherine Gordon-Lennox.
21) Cynthia Elinor Beatrix Spencer, Countess Spencer (1897 – 1972), known as Lady Cynthia Hamilton until her marriage, and from then as Viscountess Althorp until 1922 when her husband inherited his father's title of Earl. Married Albert Edward John Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer, known less formally as "Jack" Spencer.
22) Edward John "Johnnie" Spencer, (1924 – 1992), 8th Earl Spencer, (styled Viscount Althorp until 1975) Educated at Eton, the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, and the Royal Agricultural College. A Captain in the Royal Scots Greys, Lord Spencer fought in the Second World War from 1944 to 1945. 1947 to 1950, Lord Spencer served as Aide-de-Camp to then-Governor of South Australia, Willoughby Norrie.
23) Diana Spencer (1961-1997) Married Charles, Prince of Wales, son of Queen Elizabeth II. Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Chester, Baroness of Renfrew. Mother of Princes William and Harry Wales, Captain, Army Air Corps.
24) William Arthur Philip Louis (b.1982), Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn. Married Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.
25) George Alexander Louis (b. 2013) styled Prince George of Cambridge.
Valentina Baciu contributes the genealogy feature on www.simon-de-montfort.com
Katherine Ashe is the author of the four volume Montfort novelized series
book website: www.simon-de-montfort.com
personal website: www.katherineashe.com
personal website: www.katherineashe.com