At the age of twenty , two years younger than John Stanley , the Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt is Alys’s counterpart, a male sexual predator. He is third in line to the throne and full of pride, self confidence and ambition, he is not happy with that situation. He is already married to Blanche of Lancaster. That marriage has brought him weath and a dukedom but more importantly to him the Sangreal for his children. Before the marriage he consulted the same French Geneologists who had declared Philip de Valois as the rightful King of France and discovered that Blanche’s Great grandmother Blanche d’Artois shared the same boodline as the Valois. On Ximene’s arrival in England he is the first to realise how large her landownings are going to be and set about “Assisting” her with the management of the lands, with the motivation of getting close to Ximene. He supports his fathers liason with Alyse and in quick succession he tries to install both Ximene and her friend Phillipa de Roet as his mistresses. He is a ruthless opportunist but has supported Ximene because it suits his own ends
The following takes place after the end of this present book ‘ The shadow without a name’ but is included as some of these later traits probably show earlier.
Lancaster went on to marry Constance of Castille, declaring himself King of Castile, but he never succeeded in wresting the title from Trastamara. Finally he took Phillipa’s younger sister Catherine as a mistress but by this stage Ximene was running him not the other way round. He finally married Catherine and had her children by him legitimised. Lancaster was always a problem for Ximene. He never totally suceesful in anything he attempted and became increasingly bitter about his lack of success. He then asks Ximene to mother a child and hide it away so that it might be merged into the Lancastrian bloodline at some time in the future
When Ximene agrees to the marriage of Isabella of Castile to Edmund , Duke of York, his brother, a love match Ximene encouraged, instead of “saving” isabella for his son Henry, Lancaster never finds it possible to forgive her, telling her that what she had done guaranteed civil war. As its turns out he is right.