On 29th September 1397, two of John of Gaunt’s, lord of Pontefract, children by his first and third marriages, were given titles by Richard II in a series of mass creations of peerages. Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby, was made Duke of Hereford and John Beaufort, Marquess of Somerset and Marquess of Dorset.
On 26th October 1396, Richard II meets Charles VI of France near Ardres, outside Calais regarding his proposed marriage to Charles’ six-years-old daughter, Isabella of Valois; Richard was twenty-nine. John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, and the Duke of Gloucester escort Charles’ brother, the Duke of Orleans and uncle the Duke of Berry. After formal meetings on the following two days, Charles hands over Isabella to Richard on the 30th and she is escorted to the English camp by Gaunt’s and Gloucester’s duchesses, Katherine Swynford and Eleanor de Bohun.
On 11th May 1392, John of Gaunt’s, lord of Pontefract, party arrived at Calais en route to Gaunt meeting Charles VI of France at Amiens. Negotiations surrounded the Duchy of Aquitaine with agreement that it should contain Agenais, Perigord, Quercy and Rouerge, and Angouleme which had all been re-conquered by Charles V. The French were to retain Poitou and the Limousin. Gaunt would hold the territories as a hereditary appanage (perquisite) with direct homage by him as duke to the King of France thereby obviating the King of England having to perform ‘liege homage’ to another sovereign and so diminishing his authority.
On 6th July 1388, John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, ratified the Treaty of Bayonne (Trancoso) renouncing his rights to the throne of Castile. The marriage of the heirs of both John I of Castile and Gaunt was to with both created as ‘Prince and Princess of the Asturias’ and succeeding John I. All the sons of Pedro I still in prison were to be released and those in exile allowed to return to Castile. There was also an obligation for the King of Castile to pay compensation to Gaunt of 600,000 gold francs.
On 17th October 1388, John of Gaunt’s, lord of Pontefract, daughter by Constance of Castile, Catherine, was married, aged fifteen to John I’s (King of Castile) son and heir, Henry, aged ten. Catherine became Queen of Castile through this marriage to the future Henry III of Castile.
On 11th November 1386 a treaty is concluded between John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, and his so-called ally King John of Portugal at River Minho on the Castilian-Portuguese frontier. Portugal agreed to help Gaunt invade Leon (W Castile) in 1387 with 5000 troops but as his own commanders had only consented to serve him in 1386, he had to renegotiate terms with them to stop their returning home.
On 16th May 1386, an Anglo-Portuguese treaty of military and naval alliance was ratified at Westminster. Portugal was to provide John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, with a squadron of galleys for the invasion of Castile. Due to difficulties in hiring other ships, Gaunt’s departure was delayed and he did not sail from Plymouth until the 9th July that year.
On 18th February 1386, Pope Urban VI’s proclamation that John of Gaunt’s, lord of Pontefract, invasion of Castile (the kingdom claimed by virtue of Gaunt’s wife, Constance, as ‘rightful Queen of Castile’) was a Crusade, was announced in St Paul’s Cathedral. King John of Castile backed Urban’s papal rival ‘antipope’ Clement VII.
On 12th July 1383, after the Scots had attacked Wark Castle on the border, John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, held talks with their king’s heir, Earl John of Carrick, at Muirhouselaw with a truce agreed on 17th July to last until 2nd February the following year.
On 13th July 1381, John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, was at Berwick on his way back to London from Edinburgh, recalled by a letter from Richard II after riots in the capital. Gaunt was also trying to meet up with his wife, Constance, who had fled the troubles and had been hiding at Knaresborough Castle.