"nona" wrote:when I got to that part in the book I found myself wondering if it was such a match, I guess they loved one another but under the pressure it cracked a little as some relationship do, at least they found it within themselves to move on ad find peace afterward.
You and Elizabeth raise a very interesting question, one that haunts writers. We can never really know the hearts of the people we write about. The best we can do is to evaluate the known facts and draw conclusions therefrom. To me, there was no doubt that Llewelyn loved Joanna because he was able to forgive her adultery, and adultery with an Englishman! For any husband, that would have been hard to deal with; imagine how painful it must have been for a prince when there were such dangerous political ramifications because of her betrayal. If he had not truly loved her, he could not have forgiven her. And the proof that they were able to mend the wounds in their marriage was given when she died and he founded a friary in her honor. You must remember that he had nothing to gain by restoring her to favor, for she was not popular with his people. In taking her back, he had to swim against the tide of public opinion.
So I think there is strong case to be made that he loved her. Did she love him? I think so, based on what we know of human nature. Llewelyn was a strong-willed, confident, charismatic individual, married to Joanna for more than 20 years at the time of her betrayal. I find it impossible to believe that he could have nursed an unrequited love for her during those twenty-plus years. In other words, if she had not returned his love, his would have died a natural death, starved into submission. I do not think he could have forgiven her--for her betrayal was political as well as personal, even casting doubts upon the legitimacy of his son Davydd--had he not loved her and had he not been confident that she loved him, too.
I think this is one reason why I always found Llewelyn to be such a fascinating figure in medieval history--that he was strong enough to forgive a public infidelity. Then you have Henry II, of course, who could not bring himself to forgive Eleanor for taking part in the rebellion against him.
It is always tricky to try to interpret human emotions across the span of centuries. Usually if a husband and wife spent most of their time together, that is a good indicator that they had a healthy marriage. Will Marshal and Isabel de Clare are a good example of this, as are the Duke of York and Cecily Neville, and in Devil's Brood, Geoffrey and Constance. When they seem to find reasons to keep apart, as with Richard and Berengaria during the last five years of their marriage, that certainly raises red flags.