Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Marriage of Richard II. and Isabel of France
By Robert Fabyan (d. 1513)
IN the beginning of this mayors year, and nineteenth year of King Richard, and eighteenth day of November, as affirmeth the French chronicle, King Richard being then at Calais, spoused or took to wife, within the church of Saint Nicholas, Isabel, the daughter of Charles the Sixth, then King of France, which Lady Isabel, as witnesseth the said French story, at the day of her marriage was within eight years of age, and as it is registered in one of the books of Guildhall of London, the French king in proper person came down with a goodly company of lords and knights unto a town called Arde, which standeth upon the utter border of Picardy, where, within his own dominion, a rich and sumptuous pavilion was pyght;1 and in like manner a little beyond Gynys, within the English pale was another like pavilion pyght for King Richard, so that atween the two said pavilions was a distance of seventy pace, and in the midway atween both was ordained the third pavilion, at the which both kings coming from either of their tents sundry times there met, and had communication either with other; the ways or distance atween set with certain persons appointed standing in arms, two and two, the one side being set with Englishmen, and that other with French; and a certain distance from either of the two first said pavilions, stood both hosts of both princes, or such companies as before either of them was appointed to bring. Here if I should bring in the divers meetings of the said princes, and the curious services that either caused other to be fed and served with, within either of their tents, or of their dalliance and pastimes continuing the season of their meetings, and the diversity of the manifold spices and wines which there was ministered at that said season: with also the rich apparel of the said pavilions, and cupboards garnished with plate and rich jewels, it would ask a long tract of time: but who that is desirous to know or hear of the circumstance of all the premises, let him read the work of Master John Froissart, made in French, and there he shall see everything touched in an order. And here I shall shortly touch the gifts that were given of either of the princes and of their lords: and first King Richard gave unto the French king an hanap or basin of gold, with an ewer to the same; then againward the French King gave unto him three standing cups of gold, with covers garnished with pearl and stone, and a ship of gold set upon a bier, richly garnished with pearl and stone. Then at their second meeting King Richard gave unto him an owche2 set with so fine stones, that it was valued at five hundred mark sterling, where again the French king gave unto him two flagons of gold, a tablet of gold, and therein an image of Saint Michael, richly garnished: also a tablet of gold with a crucifix therein, well and richly dight: also a tablet of gold with an image of the Trinity richly set with pearl and stone; also a tablet of gold with an image of Saint George, in like wise set with pearl and stone; which all were valued at the sum of fifteen hundred mark. Then King Richard seeing the bounty of the French King, gave to him a baldric or collar of gold, set with great diamonds, rubies, and balessys,3 being valued at five thousand mark, the which for the preciosity thereof, that it was of such an excellency and fineness of stuff, the French King therefore ware it about his neck, as often as the king and he met together; then the French king gave unto him an owche and a spice plate of gold, of great weight, and valued at two thousand mark. Many were the rich gifts that were received of lords and ladies of both princes, among the which specially are noted three gifts which King Richard gave unto the Duke of Orleans, for the which he received again of the duke treble the value; for where his were valued at a thousand mark the dukes were valued at three thousand mark. Finally, when the said princes had thus either solaced with other, and concluded all matters concerning the above said marriage, the French king delivered unto King Richard dame Isabel, his daughter, saying these words following: Right dear beloved son, I deliver here to you the creature that I most love in this world next to my wife and my son, beseeching the Father in heaven that it may be to his pleasure, and of the weal of you and your realm, and that the amity atween the two realms, in avoiding of effusion of Christian mens blood, may be kept inviolate for the term atween us concluded; which term was thirty winter as expresseth the French chronicle. After which words, with many thanks given upon either parties, preparation was made of departing: and after King Richard had conveyed the French King toward Arde, he took his leave and returned unto his wife, the which was immediately, with great honour, conveyed unto Calais, and there after to the King spoused, as before to you I have shewed. After the which solemnisation with all honour ended, the king with his young wife took shipping, and so within short while landed at Dover, and from thence sped him toward London: whereof the citizens being warned, made out a certain horsemen well appointed in one livery of colour, with a cognisance broidered upon their sleeves, whereby every fellowship was known from other, the which, with the mayor and his brethren clothed in scarlet, met the king and the queen upon the Black Heath, and after due salutation and reverent welcomes unto them made, by the mouth of the recorder, the said citizens conveyed the king upon his way till he came to Newington, where the king commanded the mayor with his company to return to the city, for he with his lords and ladies was appointed that night to lie at Kennington.