Guinevere was the wife of King Arthur, the legendary ruler of Britain. She was a beautiful and noble queen, but her life took a tragic turn when she fell in love with Lancelot, one of Arthur's bravest and most loyal knights. The relationship between the queen and Lancelot eventually destroyed the special fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table.
Guinevere was the daughter of King Leodegran of Scotland. Arthur admired the king's lovely daughter and married her in spite of a warning from his adviser Merlin that Guinevere would be unfaithful to him. As a wedding gift, Leodegran gave Arthur a round table that would play a central role in his court.
After the marriage, Guinevere became acquainted with Lancelot, who performed various deeds to honor and rescue her. At first, Arthur took no notice of the growing attachment between the queen and Lancelot. Later, however, the king was forced to accuse his wife of adultery and to fight her lover. Several violent battles between Arthur and Lancelot followed, with groups of knights joining in on each side. Eventually, Guinevere returned to Arthur.
Another group of legends concerning Guinevere show the queen in a more loyal role. In these tales, King Arthur left his nephew Mordred in charge of the kingdom during a military campaign. Mordred began to plot against Arthur, planning to marry Guinevere and take over as ruler of Britain. The queen refused to cooperate with Mordred and locked herself in the Tower of London to avoid marrying him. When Arthur returned to reclaim his throne, the two men fought. Arthur killed Mordred but was fatally wounded.
Following the death of Arthur, Guinevere entered a convent, where she spent the rest of her life praying and helping the poor. Filled with remorse for the trouble she and her lover had caused, she vowed never to see Lancelot again. When Guinevere died, she was buried beside King Arthur.
adultery sexual relationship between a married person and someone other than his or her spouse