Personality summary.Joan is in the words of Jean Froissart, court chronicler, the most beauteous and amorous lady in Europe–and we all know what that means.Joan is the ultimate sex goddess, attractive, An entertaining and humorous conversationalist. Nearly every man she meets finds her sexually stimulating and often the feelings are reciprocated. Inevitably she is extremely experienced in sexual matters.
She is also ambitious, determined and generous to those who help her achieve her ambitions. Despite continually vowing to reform her dissolute lifestyle, in order to become the next Queen of England, she cannot help herself. Seduction has become just one of the many skills at her disposal.
Joan of Kent was the granddaughter of Marguerite of France, second wife of Edward I of England. In her late childhood Joan learned that there was a strong possibility that her grandfather was William Wallace , the Scottish patriot. Edward I had brutally executed William, the excruciating hanging, drawing and quartering process being invented to make William’s death as painful as possible. This left Joan with ambivalent feelings towards the rest of the English royal family. To say she was badly affected by her experiences in childhood would be an understatement. At Queen Phillipa’s instigation Joan had been educated within the same Cathar cell at Old Sarum as Phillipa’s eldest son, the Black Prince. William Montacute, the son of the earl of Salisbury, the owner of the castle, was another member of this elite group .
A child, only just eleven, Joan went through a romanticised marriage with one of the squires at the castle, Thomas Holland. Perhaps more significantly the marriage had been consummated. The consummation had taken the form of a theatrical performance in which a virgin princess sacrificed herself to a barbarian invader to save her people. There was an audience to this performance who would later bear witness to the fact that the consummation had actually occurred.
Joan herself moved on quickly. She seduced both the Black Prince and William Montacute. Neither of them ever fully recovered. Joan developed a menage a trois which was enjoyed by all of them. He world came crashing down when Thomas Holland claimed her as his wife. Joan slumped into a dissolute lifestly whichb was the scandal of Europe. Joan’s triumph is that she emerged from that as loving, constructive and ultimately faithful as she re-established her relationship with the Prince.
Having been educated as a Cathar she did not realise how important an event in her life the make believe marriage was likely to be. Subsequently she fell in love with the Black Prince. Edward III had tried to protect his son by in 1342 by marrying Joan to William Montacute. But William was by now the Black Prince’s best friend. The marriage was used in practice to hide a continuing love affair between Joan and the Prince. One winter morning when Queen Phillipa had needed to see her son urgently she had found them three in a bed.
As Joan reached maturity she was readily accepted into the royal court. Despite the fact that from 1344 Joan had become the countess of both Kent and Salisbury and Queen of the Isle of Man, she asked permission to divorce William on the grounds that the marriage had not been consummated. She also requested that she be allowed to marry the Black Prince. The King would not allow this. His stated reason was that the Prince must make a strategic marriage alliance.
Five years later, at the ball held after the successful siege of Calais in 1347, the King tried to seduce her and on her refusal to accept his advances, to rape her. He was caught in the act and putting the garter he had ripped from Joan’s leg onto his own leg made the famous comment “Honi soit qui mal y pense” ( evil to him who evil thinks). This incident made Joan believe that his refusal to allow her to marry the Prince was because he had designs on her himself.
Bitter and disillusioned she determined to look after herself. He first thing she did was to seduce and make love to William Montacute. To her surprise they both enjoyed the experience and she blossomed in a new found loving relationship
It was at this point the earlier clandestine marriage then came to light and in 1349, the Pope, wanting to use the Prince’s marriage for his own purposes, and desiring to remove Joan from the equation supported Thomas Holland in his claim to Joan’s hand.
The King raised no objection to this reallocation of Joan to someone who by now was a total stranger. Joan’s bitterness and determination was rekindled. She saw herself as used by her relatives. She was forced to submit to the sexual advances of Thomas Holland simply because the Pope and King had decided it should be so. , The experience removed the last constraints on Joan’s behaviour. She became adroit in using sexual attraction to obtain ever increasing influence and not a little power. She appeared at court dinners with her breasts almost totally exposed, men clustered around her as if there were no other women in the room. A major conquest was King David Bruce of Scotland, during his captivity in England. He left his wife and never married again. Joan was able to exert influence on David for the rest of his life and she openly boasted that there was not a man alive who would not bed her if she asked them to. She deliberately confronted Queen Phillipa with the knowledge that one of those men was the Black Prince. It was during this period that Froissart christened her “the most beautiful and amorous woman in Europe”. She bedazzled and seduced the Prince.
Close contact with the Prince led to Joan’s perception that he was vulnerable. Nevertheless she came to genuinely love the Black Prince and now works tirelessly to make it possible to marry him. She sees Ximene as a threat but eventually, without any force creates circumstances which remove Ximene from the equation. Her true character is best revealed by the fact that at the moment of her success she immediately thinks of how she can help others.
Application of the character arc
Joan’s affair with the Prince a not a conventional love match. The Prince left her isolated for long periods, but expected her to be available instantly, whenever he wanted her, wherever he wanted her. She had learned much about how to use her sexual attraction, now she intended to use it to force the Prince’s hand. She nurtured an unshakable ambition to be the next Queen of England. It gave her considerable pleasure to reflect that her child would quite possibly be the great grandchild of William Wallace.
She knew that her previous husband William Montacute had been made Commander of the Prince’s rearguard. This was a euphemism for the Prince’s intelligence and espionage activities. In 1352 at the age of 24 she recommenced her relationship with William Montacute. Joan had no difficulty in encouraging him to see her often. The pillow talk which resulted meant that she was aware of everything that the Prince did or even contemplated and every risk he faced.
Joan was aware of the Pope’s desire to marry the Prince to Ximene Trencavel, almost before the Prince knew himself. By an accident of fate Joan already knew Ximene. Joan’s second cousin on her grandmother’s side was Agnes of Navarre. In 1353 Agnes married Gaston de Foix. The wedding was held in Paris and Joan was invited. In Paris she was befriended by Eleanor de Padilla.
Joan and Ximene
Eleanor introduced Joan to her granddaughter Ximene, who had been made Gaston’s ward following the death of her parents. As a result of this chance meeting Joan was invited to be the sponsor for Ximene’s progression to adulthood. The ceremony was held in 1354 in Gaston’s palace at Bearn, in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
When she finally arrived in Bearn, the events of the progression were imprinted in Joan’s memory. She found Ximene delightful and to her surprise was tempted into the only physical contact with another woman that she had ever enjoyed.
Ximene’s presence was so overpowering that Joan vowed never to introduce her to the Prince. Aware that a marriage to the Prince was a possibility, it was Joan who planted the idea in Ximene’s mind that she should flee to her estates in Sicily out of her Guardian’s control. Ximene willingly built on the idea as she thirsted for freedom and indepenence. Less than six months later Joan became aware that a meeting between the Prince and Ximene was being promoted by both the Pope and King Edward. In her prime, with many useful contacts she sets about using all her talents to ensure that the proposed marriage between the Prince and Ximen never occurs.