This Day in History: 1424-02-12

On 12th February 1424, the prisoner James I of Scotland and Joan Beaufort were married at Bishop Henry Beaumont’s (Joan’s uncle) Winchester Palace. London. James later claimed in a poem ‘Kingis Quair’ that he had been captivated by seeing her walking in the gardens of the tower where he was being held. The political reality of their union was more to do with a promise that James could return to Scotland after being held prisoner by the English for nearly twenty years and that Henry VI’s government could avert Scottish military support to the Dauphin of France and receive £40,000 (over £50 million in today’s money) for James’ expenses whilst imprisoned. James had been held for the latter part of his captivity at Pontefract Castle and Joan Beaufort was the granddaughter of John of Gaunt, lord of Pontefract, by Katherine Swynford. James was allowed to return to Scotland in April 1424 with Joan as his Queen.