Friday, June 1, 2007

Isabella of Angouleme

Isabella of Angouleme
(1186/1188 -1246)
Queen of England

Wife and Queen of King John of England. Isabella was the daughter of Aymer Taillefer, Count of Angouleme (a vassal of first King Richard and then King John of England) and Alice de Courtenay. At the tender age of 14, Isabella was betrothed to Hugh "le Brun" de Lusignan. But things took a different turn. In England, King John dissolved his own marriage (1199) to Isabella of Gloucester and Isabella's own betrothal was broken. Isabella was married John, King of England (24/8/1200) at Bordeaux (becoming his second wife). She was crowned in England.

Isabella was the mother of sons Henry III King of England, Richard Earl of Cornwall and daughters Joanna (betrothed to Hugh "le Brun" de Lusignan) and Isabella. Isabella accompanied John wherever he went during his troubled reign (a slight understatement don't you think).

Isabella was at Gloucester when news of John's death reached her (1216) - her 9yo son Henry was proclaimed King of England and crowned. Isabella did not participate in her son's regency - she left for Angouleme and married the still unwed Hugh "le Brun" de Lusignan, Count de la Marche (1216). The English refused, however, to pay her the revenues due her as Queen Mother and demanded the young Princess Joanna back as a proposed bride for the Scottish King. Isabella bore Hugh de Lusignan five sons and four daughters (prior to Sept. 1244).

On the French political front, Isabella was said to be the instigator in plot to poison King Louis IX of France. Not waiting to see the outcome, Isabella fled to the Abbey of Fontervault, where she took refuge. Isabella died two years later, and by her own request, was buried in an open cemetary at Fontervault. Hugh de Lusignan died three years later on crusade in the Holy Land. Isabella's son King Henry III of England moved her body inside the church to lie alongside Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard I.

~~~ Melisende (first pub: 1998 - Women of History)

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