Catherine Montagu, Countess of Salisbury

Born: c. 1304

Died: April 23, 1349 (Age c. 45)

Countess in History

Virtually nothing is known of Catherine Montague, Countess of Salisbury. She married Sir William Montague, future Earl of Salisbury, in around 1327, and the marriage produced six children, including the future second earl. The countess is sometimes associated with the legendary figure of Alice, Countess of Salisbury, a woman who was raped by Edward III, but this is all speculation and is most likely the French attempting to defame the good name of their enemy. After her husband's death in 1344, Catherine took an oath of chastity and died quietly in 1349.

Countess in Shakespeare

Appears in: Edward III

The Countess of Salisbury is a major figure within the first two acts of Edward III. She is first seen being rescued by the king and his party after her castle is besieged by David II and Sir William Douglas of Scotland. The king immediately becomes infatuated with the countess, despite her objections and the fact that both are married, and Edward attempts to convince her father, the Earl of Warwick (who was not her father historically), to force the countess to become his mistress. Warwick reluctantly does this, but the countess is ultimately able to convince the king that what he is doing is wrong and that he must concentrate on the war in France, which he had become distracted from. Overall, the countess is portrayed as a strong woman, insulting the Scottish invaders and turning down the king, no easy task to perform against a man who is head of the country.


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