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For Weddings in Ireland.

Famous Wedding's In History.

The Duke of Clarance and Violante Visconti.

In 1368 The Duke of Clarance then 29 a widower and father passed through Paris on his way to Milan to marry Violante Visconti the thirteen year old daughter of Galezzo. He was accompanied by a retinue of 457 people 1,280 horses. He was lodged in a suite especially decorated for him at the Louve. While in Paris Clarance enjoyed an elaborate banquet which cost the Duke of Burgandy 1,556 livres forty kinds of fish and thirty different roasts were on the menu. On his departure the King presented him with gifts to the value of 20,000 florins.

Two Visconti ruled jointly in Lombardy Galezzo and his more terrible brother Bernabo. Murder, cruelty, avarice, effective government alternating with savage despotism, respect for learning and encouragement of the arts, and lusts amounting to sexual mania characterised one or other of the family. Lucchino, an immediate predecessor, had been murdered by his wife, who, after a notable orgy on a river barge during which she entertained several lovers at once including the Doge of Venice and her own nephew Galezzo, decided to eliminate her husband to forestall his same intention with regard to her.

When Clearance eventually arrived in Milan in June the wedding banquet was held out doors, the scale of which was stupendous there were thirty double courses of meat and fish alternated with presentations of gifts after each course. Under the directions of the brides brother, Gian Galezzo the younger, the gifts were distributed among Lionel's party according to rank.. They consisted of costly coats of mail, plumed and crested helmets, armour for horses, surcoats embroidered with gems, greyhounds in velvet collars, falcons wearing silver bells, enamelled bottles of the choicest wine, purple and golden cloth and cloaks trimmed with ermine and pearls, 76 horses including six beautiful little palfreys caparisoned in green velvet with crimson tassels, six great war horses in crimson velvet with gold rosettes, also six fierce strong aulunts or war dogs, and twelve splendid fat oxen.

The meat and fish all gilded (with a paste of powdered egg yoke , saffron and flower sometimes mixed with real gold leaf) paired suckling pigs with crabs, hares with pike, a whole calf with trout , quail and partridge with more trout, ducks and heron with carp, beef and capons with sturgeon, veal and capons with carp in lemon sauce, beef pies and cheese with eel pies, meat aspic with fish aspic, meat gelatine with lamprey, and among the remaining courses, roasted kid, venison, peacocks with cabbage, French beans and pickled ox-tongue, junket and cheese, cherries and other fruit. The left overs brought from the table was enough it was said to feed one thousand men.

Among those who shared the feast were Petrarch, an honoured guest at the high table, and both Froissart and Chaucer were among the company. Never did fortunes wheel come down with such a crash; never was vainglory so reprimanded. Four months later while still in Italy, the Duke of Clarance died of an undiagnosed "fever" which naturally raised cries of poison, although since it destroyed the influential alliance that Galezzo had bought at such enormous expanse, the cause was most likely the delayed effects of all those gilded meats in the heat of the Lombarty summer.

Violante's fate was no happier, she was next married to a half mad sadist, the seventeen year old Marquis of Montferat, who was given to strangling boy servants with his own hands. After his violent death she married her first cousin, one of Bernabo's sons, who came to a violent end at the hands of her brother. She died at the age of thirty one three times widowed.

A Distant Mirror. By Barbara W Tuchman. (Penguin Books)
If this is your taste in reading this book is to be thoroughly recommended.