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Lionel of Antwerp
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Lionel of Antwerp

Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence, (November 29, 1338 - October 7, 1368) was the third son of Edward III of England, and was so called because he was born at Antwerp, Belgium.

Betrothed when a child to Elizabeth (d. 1363), daughter and heiress of William de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster (d. 1332), he was married to her in 1352; but before this date he had entered into possession of her great Irish inheritance and was called Earl of Ulster from 1347. Having been named as his father's representative in England in 1345 and again in 1346, Lionel joined an expedition into France in 1355, but his chief energies were reserved for the affairs of Ireland.

Appointed governor of that country, he landed at Dublin in 1361, and in November of the following year was created Duke of Clarence, while his father made an abortive attempt to secure for him the crown of Scotland. His efforts to secure an effective authority over his Irish lands were only moderately successful; and after holding a parliament at Kilkenny, which passed the celebrated statute of Kilkenny in 1367, he threw up his task in disgust and returned to England.

Lionel's wife died in Dublin in 1363, having given birth to a daughter, Philippa, whose descendants would one day claim the throne for the House of York. A second marriage was arranged for Lionel with Yolande or Violante, daughter of Galeazzo Visconti, lord of Pavia (d. 1378); the enormous dowry which Galeazzo promised with his daughter being exaggerated by the rumour of the time. Journeying to fetch his bride, Lionel was received in great state both in France and Italy, and was married to Violante at Milan in June 1368. Some months were then spent in festivities, during which Lionel was taken ill at Alba, where he died.

His only child, Philippa, married in 1368 Edmund Mortimer, 3rd Earl of March (1351-1381), and through this union Clarence became the ancestor of Edward IV. The poet Chaucer was at one time a page in Lionel's household.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.