Joan of England Haiku

You think life’s sorted,

New husband in Castile – BOOM!

A very black death.

Joan of England, third child of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault, died this day 670 years ago, in the same manner at least a third (and maybe over half) of Europe would shortly snuff it.

She was on the way to meet her betrothed, Philip of Castile. Her dad sent her off in grand style, with four ships, scads of treasure, and all the soldiers needed to guard it all. (Including 100 bowmen, veterans of Crecy.) First stop: Bordeaux! No need for a hotel; just stay in one of her family’s many castles.

Except this weird plague just came to town…

Her entourage began to drop like flies and no matter what actions they took, they had no way stopping it. They didn’t even know what the hell it was, as the Black Death hadn’t shown up in England yet. Joan was one of the first to die. The mayor of Bordeaux ultimately set fire to the castle and the port to keep the plague from spreading. This also did not stop it.

Joan’s death was a pretty damned clear sign to everyone that no one was safe from the plague. And in case there were a few stragglers that didn’t get the message, her baby brother William died from it too, when the disease finally got to England.

(There was another outbreak during 1361. Two of Joan’s sisters, Mary and Margaret, died during this time, but I can’t confirm right now if it was because of the Black Death or some other causes.)

Aren’t we glad we have modern medicine?

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