Women's Biography: Sanchia of Provence
There are letters written to and by Sanchia of Provence.
Sanchia/Senchia was the third of the four daughters of Raymond Berengar V, count of Provence (grandson, nephew and cousin of kings of Aragon, +1245) and Beatrice of Savoy (+1266). Beatrice, a skilled diplomat in her own right, had seven brothers who were loyal to the family and gifted players in the diplomatic world of Europe. All four of her daughters were married to kings, a phenomenon noted by Dante (Par. 6.133-35). The oldest sister, Marguerite, was queen of France, married to Louis IX in 1234; the second, Eleanor, was queen of England, married to Henry III in 1236; the youngest sister, Beatrice, heir to Provence, married Charles of Anjou in 1246 and became Queen of Naples in 1266. Sanchia was the second wife of Richard of Cornwall, brother of Henry III, whom she married in 1243. She became Queen of the Romans when he was elected emperor in 1256; they were crowned in 1257 at Aachen. Sanchia and Richard had one son who survived, Edmund of Cornwall.(!1)
Sanchia, whose marriage portion was 5000 marks, had been married by proxy to Raymond VII of Toulouse, but Raymond had not obtained an annulment of his previous marriage. Richard, whose first wife died in 1240, met Sanchia in Provence in 1241 and was amenable to a marriage that strengthened Henry's position on the continent and involved Richard more closely with Henry's interests. Sanchia and her sister Eleanor appear to have been in close contact after she came to England (see Howell, 185, n.43). Sanchia was officially recognized by Henry as a voice in family dynastic matters, e.g.: "Grant to Peter de Sabaudia [uncle to Sanchia and to Queen Eleanor] that if he have an heir male of his wife, he may assign or bequeath the wardship of his lands and heir to whom he will. The king also wills that the said heir shall not be married to anyone without the consent of Queen Eleanor and of Sanchia, countess of Cornwall, and the brothers of the said Peter" (Calendar of Patent Rolls, 4.220, 1253, Aug.3). And she had some influence pleading for others: A pardon to a man who received an outlaw and a licence to another man to enclose a wood at her instance are recorded in the Patent Rolls, 4.455, 1255, January 8 and 4.536, 1256, January 2.
Sanchia joined the family gathering in Chartres and Paris in 1254, when Louis IX and queen Marguerite received Henry III and queen Eleanor; her mother Countess Beatrice and her youngest sister Beatrice were also present. Sanchia had also accompanied her husband on an embassy to Louis in 1250. She died in November, 1261 at Berkhampstead and was buried at the abbey of Hailes (Cox, 310). A grant "for the saving of the king's soul and the soul of Senchia, queen of Almain, to the master and brethren of the hospital of St. Katharine without the Tower of Lond, of 50s. a year at the Exchequer for the maintenance of a chaplain celebrating divine service daily in the chapel of St. John within the Tower for her soul" is recorded in the Patent Rolls of Henry III, 5.195 for December 7, 1261.