As I am actually the most useless blogger of all time – I haven’t posted any more Women in History posts. Here’s a little one to keep all the history buffs going.
I love reading about the monarchy of the past – it fascinates me – scandals, lies, affairs, love and all the pomp and pageantry that a good royal family brings with them.
As I have for the past 20 or so years of my life, mistakenly believed King Richard’s wife is buried alongside him at Fontrevaud instead of his sister-in-law, I thought I should make some amends and write about Isabella before I wrote about Richard’s wife (Berengaria of Navarre).
Isabella, by all accounts, was a bit of a rum ‘un. She had an affair with King John, making him neglect state affairs and breaking off her engagement to Hugh, the Count of Lusignan. King John married Isabella and threw her a very elaborate coronation. King John died in 1216, and Isabella then went onto marry the son of her former fiancé! Now, there’s some good negotiation! She had 9 children with him, but it all went a bit wrong after she and Hugh were summoned to France to swear fealty to the king. Isabella and the Queen mother, Blanche, hated each other, really despised each other and Isabella began to do some plotting and a bit of conspiring against the king along with her husband and some other angry nobles.
Her son Henry invaded Nomandy based on her support, which never arrived and as she was then accused of poisoning the king, she did a runner to Fontrevaud where she died in 1246 and was buried first in the Abbey churchyard until her son Henry arrived and demanded she was moved inside to be with his grandparents Eleanor and Henry II.
Now, Isabella is a character. She bagged herself a king for a husband, gave birth to another king and then married the son of someone she was formerly betrothed to (and without the English Council’s permission) and she more or less got her own way with lots of things. It’s amazing to know that women in the thirteenth century didn’t sit back and let things happen, they went out and caused issues; she wasn’t the first and she wouldn’t be the last! She fell out with many in John’s court because she was beautiful and he didn’t want to miss out (or more likely – he didn’t want anyone else to have her) and she was quite forward about plotting against the king of France!
Isabella is forgotten by many but she should be remembered and celebrated; she was classed as a She-wolf and a witch and she was ruthless when necessary. She caused a stir and between her and Eleanor caused some scandals in the Thirteenth century. She and Eleanor had more in common than anyone thought, both women pretty much did anything for their children to ensure the succession even if it meant disobeying their husbands and ran to safe haven when it didn’t work out. They deserve a place in my mini Women in History Hall of Fame.
I will write about poor Berengaria of Navarre – Richard The Lionheart’s wife. I’ll have to do a bit of research as I know very little about her, I don’t even know if she ever actually came to England!
Picture of Isabella taken from historyofroyalwomen.com
Sources: Wikipedia and HistoryOfRoyalWomen.com