Royal Descendants of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt: Their Children

posthumous portrait of John of Gaunt, circa 1650
posthumous portrait of John of Gaunt, circa 1650

The Royal Wedding Nobody Cared About

Well, I can’t actually say that nobody cared about it because it took place in the 14th century, and I wasn’t around then. But I imagine that there wasn’t all the same hype present around the marriage of John of Gaunt to his long-term mistress Katherine Swynford that there is around another Royal Wedding happening in a few days - between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford can count many of Europe’s royal persons among their descendants, as well as some American presidents (except for the current one - no one can really say for certain who his ancestors are because they can’t find his birth certificate).

John and Kate are also my 18th great-grandparents (though I’m not royal or at all famous). Still, I wanted to take the time and write about them and some of their royal descendants (both European and American) because a little of their blood runs through my veins, as well, so I suppose I owe them that much.

To simplify things, I thought I'd write a hub per generation. This is a hub about their children.

Read More About John and Kate

Katherine (Rediscovered Classics)
Katherine (Rediscovered Classics)

This is a fabulous book about the "romance" between John of Gaunt and Katherine (de Roet) Swynford. It is historical fiction, but it is very well researched, as are all of Anya Seton's books. This is one of her best!

 

The Children of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford

All of John and Kate’s children were born before they were married to each other, so they were all considered illegitimate and never did achieve full legitimacy (John’s sons by Katherine were never permitted to ascend the throne of England because Henry IV, John’s son by his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster, had the legitimacy/ascendancy law changed, although he probably did not have any real authority to do that).

Here is a list of their children, in order of birth.

  • John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset (1373–1410). John married Margaret Holland, daughter of Thomas, 2nd Earl of Kent. They had six children, including an ancestor of the famous Tudor family.
  • Henry Beaufort, Cardinal (1375–1447). Henry never married, although he did have one illegitimate child, Jane Beaufort, whose mother is unknown. She married Sir Edward Stradling.
  • Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter (1377–1426). Thomas married Margaret Neville and had one son, Henry Beaufort. Henry died before he could have any children, though.
  • Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland (1379–1440). She married both Robert Ferrers, 5th Baron Boteler of Wem and, after he died, Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland. Her royal descendants come from her marriage to Ralph de Neville. Joan and Ralph are my 17th great-grandparents.

All Landed and Titled; None Royal

The very jealous Henry IV made sure that none of his half-brothers or his half-sister would ever have any real claim to the throne. He did not foresee, however, that his half-siblings’ descendants would later be able to claim power throughout Britain and even elsewhere in Europe.

John and Kate’s only royal grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. came from son John Beaufort and daughter Joan Beaufort. I will discuss these descendants in later hubs.

More by this Author


Comments 13 comments

sholland10 profile image

sholland10 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

One of my favorite topics!! Keep them coming! I was in London two years ago and bought a Royal England family tree. I could look at it all day. I know, I am a nerd. ;-)


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

Wow! Sounds like you could write these hubs better than I can, then. :-) Genealogy is one of my favorite hobbies. I'm finding that mixing it with writing (another favorite) gets very distracting. That's why it takes me so long to do one of these hubs. I get lost in the history and forget to write it down!


gainygranddaughter 4 years ago

What a wonderful place to ztum le upon when I am supposed to be sleeping due to awakening at 5 and it now being almost 1. Read setons book when I was 12 and KNEW she had to be family. At age 58 I discovered she IS. Completely thrilling. Completely. To all of you thank you. How does one join the KS Society? Blessed be, new friends.


Stephannie 4 years ago

From what my Mother - a career genealogist - has uncovered, it seems as though our families ( yours and mine ) may well be related!! She was able to trace my Paternal Grandfather's family to Edward III of England. We are also decended through John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. If the records are accurate, Joan de Beaufort ( as her name is given in the documents my Mother found ) the daughter from which we decend.Because I'm curious by nature, I'd love to research and learn more about the linage I've been told we decend from. But, I don't know how to go about it... I've looked at the historical biographies that are out there but was hoping I could find more information and help in doing it. My Mother is also working on several other family lines and would be as appreciative for the help as I. Do you know where I could find that help? Thank you for your time.


Jean Miller 4 years ago

Hello extended cousins. I too descend from Katherine and John thru Joan Beaufort and James I, then thru their daughter Joan 'the dumb'(she was deaf) via her marriage to James Douglas 1st Earl of Morton, then their granddaughter Agnes Anne Douglas married Baron Alexander Livingston...and so on and so on until you arrive in America. How astounding to find out my 24x's great grandmother was Eleanor of Aquitaine


j burke 3 years ago

The current president's birth certificate is available.


matilda rose 3 years ago

Sorry you have used this amazing story to have a dig at the current president. Shame on you. His birth certificate and lineage is well documented.


workingmomwm profile image

workingmomwm 3 years ago from Kentucky, USA Author

I didn't use the story to dig at the current POTUS. That comment was an aside - a joke. They did actually come up with his birth certificate, but it took them long enough, didn't it?

Man, you Obama lovers are touchy! :-)


jimbronke 3 years ago

Call me JimofGaunt. OK. so that's a joke. But I am descended from John and Kate as well. Through Jane Beaufort. I have that her mother was Alice Fitzalan. Can anyone else confirm that? We still didn't get much lineage down very far to George W. Any more info?


janet hindman 3 years ago

I am descended from John Beaufort and Margaret Holland through their daughter Joan Beaufort. Thanks for the information.


kcs 20 months ago

Joan Beaufort17th great


Judy Anstess (Hudson) 8 months ago

I too am a decendant of John Of Gaunt. My 17th great grandmother was Alice Neville..I have been able to go back as far as the year 37..I just love this stuff so much, and love anything having to do with History. Alice Neville's daughter (Elizabeth FitzHugh) was the mother of Thomas Parr (Queen, and 6th wife of Henery Vlll)..Elizabeth was also the mother of Anne Vaux..Anne's son, Edmund LeStrange, was where my direct decendants came from. Sterling Ausbrooks, was the son of Michael Ozbrooks and Mary Strange. My maternal grandmother was Beulah Ausbrooks, from Illinois. So, that's where it all begins. Would love to hear from anyone else that knows of these names.


DianaKay profile image

DianaKay 4 weeks ago

Both John and Katherine are ancestors of mine....20 generations later is me. The line from them to me was threw their son John Beaufort. Threw King James the II and III on down to my grandson. Makes him 22 generations removed.

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