Isabella of England. For the daughter of Edward III of England, see Isabella, Countess of Bedford. Isabella of England (1214 – 1 December 1241) was a princess of the House of Plantagenet and Holy Roman Empress and Queen of Sicily and Germany from 1235 until her death as the third wife of Emperor Frederick II.
Isabella of Angoulême (French: Isabelle, IPA: [izabɛl dɑ̃ɡulɛm]; c. 1186 /1188 – 4 June 1246) was Queen of England as the second wife of King John from 1200 until John's death in 1216. She was also suo jure Countess of Angoulême from 1202 until 1246. Isabella had five children by the king, including his heir, later Henry III.
- 8 October 1200
- 24 August 1200 – 19 October 1216
- 16 June 1202 – 4 June 1246
- Early Life
- Young Queen
- Sent to France
- Return to England
She was the daughter of Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre. As the daughter of two monarchs she was destined to be a queen. While France and England had a common culture, political relations between them were tense. To ease this situation Pope Boniface VIII arranged two marriages. This double-alliance was between Edward I of England and Marguerite of France and also the infant Edward II marrying Isabel. In 1299 the marriage between Edward I and Marguerite took place. The marriage between Edward II and Isabella would wait until she was old enough. They were married in 1308 at Boulogne-sur-Mer in France.
At age 12 the young bride was already considered a great beauty. Since his father's death a year earlier, the 24 year old Edward II was now king. But he showed very little interest in Isabella. His first act as king was to recall the exiled Piers Gaveston. One chroniclerwrote "He had home his greatest love." Whatever their relationship was exactly, Edward II regarded Gaveston with great affection. From the beginning of his marriage to Isabella their relationship was not good. Edward had no romantic interest in Isabella. Isabella soon found her husband was not giving her any money. She wrote to her father telling him she was living in poverty. King Philip quickly wrote back demanding Edward provide for his wife and any children they might have. Edward stalled by giving excuses. Meanwhile Isabella discovered that Piers Gaveston had been given many of the jewels her father had given her as part of her dowry. Isabella was furious. Her uncles warned Edward they would not attend their cor...
In 1325 Edward convinced Isabella to go to France. Her brother Charles IV of France was now king. Edward wanted her to negotiate for him over Gascony. This was Isabella's chance for freedom. She even convinced her husband to send their son Edward (III) to join her. Edward soon realized his mistake and demanded she and his son return. Isabella ignored his demands and remained in France. The anger she must have felt over the years of mistreatment in England finally gave her a chance to rebel against her husband. She had their son, the future king of England with her and Edward could do nothing. At this time she was joined by Roger Mortimer an English exile. Another who came to her aid was Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent, Edward II's half-brother. A number of Englishmen in France joined her cause.Many were upset with Edward II and the Despensers.
But Isabella was short of funds. She and her followers went north to Hainaut to find more support. In turn for their support, she negotiated a marriage for her son Edward to Philippa of Hainaut. She also gave up any claims she had to the French crown. She now had an army from Hainaut with many Englishmen backing her.While living in Hainaut, she and Roger Mortimer had become lovers.
In 1326 Isabella and her army landed at Suffolk. Neither Edward or the Despensers could mount an army against her.Edward II was captured and lost his throne. His son Edward III was made king in his place, with his mother as regent. In 1321 when she was denied access to the Leeds Castle, she made her escort try to force their way in through the gate, and after they failed, she made 13 of her escort hang immediately. She had 4 children and at least 3 miscarriages. When she later died she was buried in her wedding dress.
After Isabella's coronation, Margaret retired to Marlborough Castle (which was by this time a dower house), but she stayed in touch with the new queen and with her half-brother Philip IV by letter during the confusing times leading up to Gaveston's death in 1312. Margaret, too, was a victim of Gaveston's influence over her stepson.
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Four years later, in the summer of 1326, Isabella of France, the Queen of England, arrived at the court of Hainaut to seek aid from Count William in order to depose her husband, Edward II, from the throne. Prince Edward had accompanied his mother to Hainaut, where she arranged the betrothal to 13-year-old Philippa in exchange for assistance.
- Birth and Family
- Titles, Style, and Arms
Mary was born on 18 February 1516 at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, England. She was the only child of King Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon to survive infancy. Her mother had suffered many miscarriages. Before Mary's birth, four previous pregnancies had resulted in a stillborn daughter and three short-lived or stillborn sons, including Henry, Duke of Cornwall. Mary was baptised into the Catholic faith at the Church of the Observant Friars in Greenwich three days after her birth. Her godparents included Lord Chancellor Thomas Wolsey, her great-aunt Catherine of York, Countess of Devon, and Agnes Howard, Duchess of Norfolk. Henry VIII's cousin, once removed, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, stood sponsor for Mary's confirmation, which was conducted immediately after the baptism. The following year, Mary became a godmother herself when she was named as one of the sponsors of her cousin Frances Brandon. In 1520, the Countess of Salisbury was appointed Mary'...
Mary was a precocious child. In July 1520, when scarcely four and a half years old, she entertained a visiting French delegation with a performance on the virginals (a type of harpsichord). A great part of her early education came from her mother, who consulted the Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives for advice and commissioned him to write De Institutione Feminae Christianae, a treatise on the education of girls. By the age of nine, Mary could read and write Latin. She studied French, Spanish, music, dance, and perhaps Greek. Henry VIII doted on his daughter and boasted to the Venetian ambassador Sebastian Giustiniani that Mary never cried.Mary had a fair complexion with pale blue eyes and red or reddish-golden hair. She was ruddy-cheeked, a trait she inherited from her father. Despite his affection for Mary, Henry was deeply disappointed that his marriage had produced no sons. By the time Mary was nine years old, it was apparent that Henry and Catherine would have no more children, l...
Meanwhile, the marriage of Mary's parents was in jeopardy. Disappointed at the lack of a male heir, and eager to remarry, Henry attempted to have his marriage to Catherine annulled, but Pope Clement VII refused his request. Henry claimed, citing biblical passages (Leviticus 20:21), that his marriage to Catherine was unclean because she was the widow of his brother Arthur (Mary's uncle). Catherine claimed that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated and so was not a valid marriage. Her first marriage had been annulled by a previous pope, Julius II, on that basis. Clement may have been reluctant to act because he was influenced by Charles V, Catherine's nephew and Mary's former betrothed, whose troops had surrounded and occupied Rome in the War of the League of Cognac. From 1531, Mary was often sick with irregular menstruation and depression, although it is not clear whether this was caused by stress, puberty or a more deep-seated disease. She was not permitted to see her mother,...
In 1536, Queen Anne fell from the king's favour and was beheaded. Elizabeth, like Mary, was declared illegitimate and stripped of her succession rights. Within two weeks of Anne's execution, Henry married Jane Seymour, who urged her husband to make peace with Mary. Henry insisted that Mary recognise him as head of the Church of England, repudiate papal authority, acknowledge that the marriage between her parents was unlawful, and accept her own illegitimacy. She attempted to reconcile with him by submitting to his authority as far as "God and my conscience" permitted, but was eventually bullied into signing a document agreeing to all of Henry's demands. Reconciled with her father, Mary resumed her place at court. Henry granted her a household, which included the reinstatement of Mary's favourite, Susan Clarencieux. Mary's privy purse accounts for this period, kept by Mary Finch, show that Hatfield House, the Palace of Beaulieu (also called Newhall), Richmond and Hunsdon were among h...
On 6 July 1553, at the age of 15, Edward VI died of a lung infection, possibly tuberculosis. He did not want the crown to go to Mary because he feared she would restore Catholicism and undo his and their father's reforms, and so he planned to exclude her from the line of succession. His advisers told him that he could not disinherit only one of his half-sisters: he would have to disinherit Elizabeth as well, even though she was a Protestant. Guided by John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland, and perhaps others, Edward excluded both from the line of succession in his will. Contradicting the Succession Act, which restored Mary and Elizabeth to the line of succession, Edward named Dudley's daughter-in-law Lady Jane Grey, the granddaughter of Henry VIII's younger sister Mary, as his successor. Lady Jane's mother was Frances Brandon, Mary's cousin and goddaughter. Just before Edward VI's death, Mary was summoned to London to visit her dying brother, but was warned that the summons was a...
One of Mary's first actions as queen was to order the release of the Roman Catholic Duke of Norfolk and Stephen Gardiner from imprisonment in the Tower of London, as well as her kinsman Edward Courtenay. Mary understood that the young Lady Jane was essentially a pawn in Dudley's scheme, and Dudley was the only conspirator of rank executed for high treason in the immediate aftermath of the coup. Lady Jane and her husband, Lord Guildford Dudley, though found guilty, were kept under guard in the Tower rather than immediately executed, while Lady Jane's father, Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, was released. Mary was left in a difficult position, as almost all the Privy Counsellors had been implicated in the plot to put Lady Jane on the throne. She appointed Gardiner to the council and made him both Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor, offices he held until his death in November 1555. Susan Clarencieux became Mistress of the Robes. On 1 October 1553, Gardiner crowned Mary at Westmin...
After Philip's visit in 1557, Mary again thought she was pregnant, with a baby due in March 1558. She decreed in her will that her husband would be the regent during the minority of their child.But no child was born, and Mary was forced to accept that her half-sister Elizabeth would be her lawful successor. Mary was weak and ill from May 1558. In pain, possibly from ovarian cysts or uterine cancer, she died on 17 November 1558, aged 42, at St James's Palace, during an influenza epidemic that also claimed Pole's life later that day. She was succeeded by Elizabeth. Philip, who was in Brussels, wrote to his sister Joan: "I felt a reasonable regret for her death." Although Mary's will stated that she wished to be buried next to her mother, she was interred in Westminster Abbey on 14 December, in a tomb she eventually shared with Elizabeth. The inscription on their tomb, affixed there by James I when he succeeded Elizabeth, is Regno consortes et urna, hic obdormimus Elizabetha et Maria s...
At her funeral service, John White, bishop of Winchester, praised Mary: "She was a king's daughter; she was a king's sister; she was a king's wife. She was a queen, and by the same title a king also."She was the first woman to successfully claim the throne of England, despite competing claims and determined opposition, and enjoyed popular support and sympathy during the earliest parts of her reign, especially from the Roman Catholics of England. Protestant writers at the time, and since, have often condemned Mary's reign. By the 17th century, the memory of her religious persecutions had led to the adoption of her sobriquet "Bloody Mary". John Knox attacked her in his First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women (1558), and she was prominently vilified in Actes and Monuments (1563), by John Foxe. Foxe's book remained popular throughout the following centuries and helped shape enduring perceptions of Mary as a bloodthirsty tyrant.Historian Lucy Wooding notes miso...
When Mary ascended the throne, she was proclaimed under the same official style as Henry VIII and Edward VI: "Mary, by the Grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England and of Irelandon Earth Supreme Head". The title Supreme Head of the Church was repugnant to Mary's Catholicism, and she omitted it after Christmas 1553. Under Mary's marriage treaty with Philip, the official joint style reflected not only Mary's but also Philip's dominions and claims: "Philip and Mary, by the grace of God, King and Queen of England, France, Naples, Jerusalem, and Ireland, Defenders of the Faith, Princes of Spain and Sicily, Archdukes of Austria, Dukes of Milan, Burgundy and Brabant, Counts of Habsburg, Flanders and Tyrol".This style, which had been in use since 1554, was replaced when Philip inherited the Spanish Crown in 1556 with "Philip and Mary, by the Grace of God King and Queen of England, Spain, France, both the Sicilies, Jerusalem and...
Both Mary and Philip were descended from John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster, a relationship that was used to portray Philip as an English king.