Joan of Kent
I am currently reading "The Dragon and the Fair Maid of Kent" by Gordon R. Dickson, I soon found out that the Fair Maid of Kent is[was] a real person! I found this great website that has a good description of her and her life. Here is an excerpt:
At the age of twelve, she entered into a clandestine marriage with Thomas Holland of Broughton. The following year, while Holland was overseas, her family forced her into a marriage with William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury. As Countess of Salisbury, Joan moved in the highest society. Some historians identify her as the mystery woman who appeared at a banquet in Calais and attracted the attention of every man present. .
I highly recomend if you have a few moments to go to the site and read up on her and follow some of the links, it makes for some very interesting reading.
Beyond being a main character in a light fantasy book, is there another relationship to to Joan and the Dragon Knight series? why yes!
According to this site, Joan was rumored to help start "The Order of the Garter", please read the website readarding the order, and how it got started. The interesting aspect and the connection to the Dragon Knight series is this excerpt:
Insignia of the Order. Thus, at roughly the same time that the Order of the Garter was founded, Edward proclaimed Saint George as the patron saint of England and the Order. Aside from a blue garter, worn below the left knee, the first insignia of the Order was "the George", a badge depicting St. George slaying a dragon. St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle was named the spiritual home of the Order.
For those that don't know this book series at all (shame on you!) In Gordon R. Dickson's world, Dragons call humans Georges! as it was Saint George who had slain the dragon. You learn about all this and more in the first book, appropriately titled "Dragon and the George"
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction :)