28. Tour de Nesle Affair – The Gruesome Tale Of Three Sisters-in-law And Three Knights
In the 14th century, the French Crown was headed by King Philip IV, also known as le Bel because of how good looking he was. The year 1314, was described to be a difficult time in his reign due to the impeding domestic political problems which are said to have influenced the royal crisis that was soon to come.
The Tour de Nesle Affair will go down in history as one of the most ghastly events of adultery mostly because the magnitude of the consequences at the time, is greatly unreasonable; especially with our current social standards.
With his reign coming to a pitiful end, The Fair King, as was customary for the time, married his three sons with political gain as one of his primary focuses. His sons, Louis, Philip, and Charles married the daughters of the Count of Burgundy; Margaret and Joan, as well as the daughter of the Duke of Burgundy; Blanche. The King later married his daughter Isabella to Edward II of England.
In 1313, Queen Isabella and King Edward visited King Philip in France and gifted her brothers and sisters-in-law with embroidered silk purses. Later that year, The Queen and King of England hosted a banquet, where Isabella noticed that two Norman knights; Gautier and Philip of Aunay, were carrying embroidered purses.
Isabella assumed that the knights were having an affair and soon told King Philip. The King put the knights under surveillance and soon the accusation against Blanche, Margaret and Joan began taking shape.
It was reported that the three were participants in debaucherous acts with knights in an old guard tower called the Tour de Nestle, which was purchased by the King years earlier. After the surveillance, the King made a public announcement and had the accused arrested.
The two knights were interrogated then brutally tortured. Some accounts cite that some of their body parts were mutilated and they were skinned alive, had their bones broken on a wheel, had molten metal poured over them, and were finally beheaded.
In lesser contrast, of the three sisters-in-law, Blanch and Margaret were found guilty, while Joan managed to prove her innocence with the help of her husband.
The two sisters were stripped naked, had their heads shaved, and were imprisoned. After one of them died, the other was sent to a convent.