The marriage that began as a political one changed to one of love and devotion.
Edward I, also known as Edward Longshanks and Hammer of the Scots was born in 1239, the son of Henry III. In youth he was involved in political intrigue and fell out of sorts with his father but they reconciled.
A politically expedient marriage with Eleanor of Castille took place in 1254 when he was fifteen and she was thirteen. Eleanor, the second of five children was born in Spain and when she married an English King, like her mother in law before her, she brought some of her family members to England. It must have been a wrench to leave her home so young but that was the lot of highly born ladies of powerful families.
Edward and Eleanor had 14 children together. Of these, five girls and one boy survived them. They were devoted to each other. Edward was apparently faithful to her during their marriage which was something very rare in those times.
She supported her husband, sending for archers to her mother’s realm of Ponthieu to help him during the Second Barons War. They spent very little time apart. She even went with him to Wales during the conflict there.
Apparently there was humour and laughter in their marriage. Every Easter Monday Eleanor’s ladies trapped Edward in his bedroom and he had to pay them a ransom to be allowed to enter his wife’s chamber. On the first Easter following her death, he kept the tradition and paid her ladies the usual ransom.
Eleanor died in 1290. In 1291 when seeking prayers for his wife, Edward is recorded as saying “my wife, whom living we did dearly cherish and whom dead we cannot cease to love.” He held memorial services for her until his death.