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Edmund of Langley

Edmund of Langley

York, Edmund of Langley, duke of, 1341-1402, fifth son of Edward III of England. He was made (1362) earl of Cambridge, served on expeditions to Spain and France, and married (1372) Isabel, daughter of Peter the Cruel, king of Castile. He became (1377) a member of the council of regency for his nephew Richard II and in 1381-82 made a fruitless expedition to help Ferdinand I of Portugal against John I of Castile. He served against the Scots in 1385, and in that year he was created duke of York. He acted as regent when Richard II went to Ireland in 1394-95 and again in 1399. When Henry of Lancaster landed in England in 1399, to claim the throne, Edmund opposed him halfheartedly and finally veered to his support. After Henry's coronation as Henry IV, York retired from court. The royal house of York takes its name from his creation as duke of York.
Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York (June 5 1341August 1 1402) was a younger son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault, the fourth of the five sons of the Royal couple who lived to adulthood. Like so many medieval princes, Edmund gained his identifying nickname from his birthplace: Kings Langley in Hertfordshire. At the age of twenty-one, he was created Earl of Cambridge. On 6 August 1385, Edmund was created Duke of York. He was the founder of the House of York, but it was through the marriage of his younger son, Richard, that the Yorkist faction in the Wars of the Roses made its claim on the throne.


Although marriages within the royal family and between royal families are the rule, it is interesting to note Langley's marital ties to his older brother, John of Gaunt. Langley's first wife, Isabella of Castile, was the sister of Gaunt's second wife, Constance of Castile; his second wife, Joan Holland, was the sister of Gaunt's daughter-in-law Margaret Holland, wife of Gaunt's son John Beaufort.

Langley's first wife, Isabella, was a daughter of Pedro "the Cruel" of Castile and María de Padilla. They had two sons and a daughter:

After Isabella's death in 1392, Langley married his cousin Joan Holland, whose great-grandfather Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent, was the half-brother of Langley's grandfather Edward II; she and Langley were thus both descended from King Edward I. The marriage produced no children.


Edmund of Langley died in his birthplace, and was buried there, in the church of the mendicant friars. His dukedom passed to his eldest son, Edward.

Titles, styles, honours and arms


As a son of the sovereign, Edmund bore the arms of the sovereign, differenced by a label argent, on each point three torteaux.


  • Peggy K. Liss, "Isabel the Queen," New York: Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 165
  • James Reston, Jr. "Dogs of God," New York: Doubleday, p. 18.

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