Marriage of William de la Pole and Alice Chaucer

11 November 1430 saw the marriage of William de la Pole, Earl.of Suffolk, to Alice Chaucer.

William de la Pole and Alice Chaucer

Alice Chaucer was the granddaughter of the famous writer, Geoffrey Chaucer. She was a wealthy heiress who had been married twice before. William de la Pole was the Earl of Suffolk, who became one of the kings leading ministers.

Related link: Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Full version, split into individual tales. Free, via our sister site on the Hundred Years War.

Marriage of Alice Chaucer to the Earl of Suffolk

The union of Alice and William came at a time when both were enjoying a rise in influence. William received positions in France in 1430, Alice became a Lady of the Garter in 1432. Both retained this level of influence as the young King came of age.

Role at Court

In 1444 it was William who oversaw negotiations for King Henry VI’s marriage to Margaret of Anjou. For his services to King Henry VI, William was created Duke of Suffolk in 1448. Alice was one of the Ladies dispatched to France to escort the King’s bride to England. Alice and Queen Margaret became close friends, and Alice remained a Lady in waiting until the outbreak of war.

The rise and fall of the Duke of Suffolk

William’s stock also rose. He became increasingly important to the King and became seen by the commons as one of the corrupt counsellors responsible for the failings of government. The same charge was laid against him in Parliament, which impeached William in 1450.

Found guilty, William de la Pole was forced into exile. However, he was murdered as he sailed to Calais.

Alice Chaucer after William’s death

Alice continued to play a role in court following the death of her husband. Their son, John de la Pole, married Elizabeth of York, sister of Edward IV, George Duke of Clarence, and Richard III. [Note *not* the same Elizabeth of York who married Henry Tudor].

Following the collapse of Lancastrian resistance following King Henry VI and Prince Edward’s deaths, the former Queen Margret was placed into the care of her former Lady in waiting. Alice Chaucer died in 1475.


St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. Alice Chaucer Duchess of Suffolk LG

Susan Higginbotham. The Indomitable Duchess: Alice Chaucer, Duchess of Suffolk


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