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In the Wake of the Treaty of Windsor: A Tale of Two Ladies

In the Wake of the Treaty of Windsor: A Tale of Two Ladies

By Manuel Villas-Boas

Paper presented at The Treaty of Windsor (1386) and 620 year of Anglo-Portuguese Relations – Conference Organised by the Instituto Camões Centre for Portuguese Language, University of Oxford (2006)

Introduction: The river Lima, which crosses the upper Minho region, one of the great and beautiful landscapes in Portugal, had witnessed some of the most significant moments of her life. And yet, Inês had probably been born very far away in England, in the reign of Edward III. During her life in Portugal, she had reflected the spirit caught in her earlier days in England and, since her marriage to Gil Afonso de Magalhães, she became a conduit of that spirit into her country of adoption. As her death approached around 1420, her friend Philippa of Lancaster, Queen consort of Portugal had been dead for some five years, but the old King D. João I was still alive as indeed was her husband. Hers had been tumultuous and fecund times, as the XIVth century gave way to the XVth and the Hundred Years War was slowly pushing Europe into the renaissance. Change had been swift in Portugal since she and Philippa of Lancaster had first followed the route along the river Lima into their new country over thirty years ago. Inês, and the Queen, could look back with pride at the results of their long adventure far way from their original home.

Everything had begun in early October 1386, barely five months after the establishment of the Treaty of Windsor between the English King Richard II and the Portuguese monarch D. João I, when a group of about 2000 troops led by the Portuguese King himself set up camp just south of the river Lima, near the crossing with the ancient road linking the Northern city of Braga to the Galician border. This was a convenient place to settle and wait for news from across the border in Galicia, where John of Gaunt was approaching to meet the Portuguese King. These were also the lands where the Magellan family had been established for more than a century.

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