d.Nov 1386 Pavia, Pavia, Lombardia, Italy
Facts and Events
Violante (Jolantha) Visconti (1354 – November 1386) was the second of three children of Galeazzo II Visconti, Lord of Milan and Pavia, and Bianca of Savoy. Her father gave to her the provinces of Alba, Mondovì, Kenites, Cherasco, and Demonte as an inheritance.
As a 13-year-old, with the promise of a large dowry from her father, in addition to her territories, she was married to the third son of King Edward III of England, Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, predecessor of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Nascente, Milan, on 28 May 1368. The wedding festivities were lavish and ostentatious. The banquet, held outside, included 30 courses of meat and fish presented fully gilded. Between the courses the guests were given gifts such as suits of armor, bolts of cloth, war horses, arms, and hunting dogs. Among the guests were Geoffrey Chaucer, Petrarch, Jean Froissart and John Hawkwood. The marriage was short-lived. Lionel died in Alba on 17 October that year, just five months after the wedding. His death may have been due to food poisoning. The Duchess of Clarence had no issue by the Duke.
On 2 August 1377, Violante's father negotiated a second marriage, to Secondotto, Marquess of Montferrat. Sixteen months later, on 16 December 1378, Secondotto was assassinated after a battle at Piacenza (or Asti). They had no issue.
On 18 April 1381, she married a third time to her cousin Ludovico Visconti, lord governor of Lodi and Parma. He was the son of her paternal uncle Bernabò Visconti and his wife, Beatrice Regina della Scala. They had a son, Giovanni Visconti, who was born after 1382. Barbara Tuchman suggests that her brother may have killed her third husband.
She was a sister-in-law to Isabelle of Valois, the youngest daughter of King John II of France. As a niece of Bernabò Visconti, she was cousin to Valentina Visconti, Queen of Cyprus, and had cousins who married into Austrian and Bavarian nobility, including Viridis Visconti, grandmother of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, and Taddea Visconti, mother of Isabeau of Bavaria, of France, whose daughters Isabella of Valois and Catherine of Valois were both Queens consort of England.
Violante died in Pavia in November 1386, at the age of 32.