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Isabella of Angoulême

Isabella of Angoulême (c.1188–1246), queen of King John. Isabella was the second wife of King John and was about 12 at the time of their marriage in August 1200. The alliance seems to have been a mixture of passion and diplomacy on John's part, since Angoulême lay in the heart of Aquitaine, which John was seeking to retain. She was crowned in Westminster abbey in October 1200 and appeared with John at Canterbury for a crown-wearing at Easter 1201. The spite and malice of the chroniclers make it difficult to be sure of her personality. Matthew Paris insisted that she and her husband were vicious and adulterous and that John threatened to hang her gallants over her bed. But their fifth child, Eleanor, was born in 1215, the year before John's death, which suggests that their relations were normal, if not close. Their first child, the future Henry III, was born in 1207. After John's death, Isabella returned to France and in 1220 married Hugh de Lusignan, comte de la Marche, son of the man to whom she had previously been betrothed. From then on she was engaged in the dynastic politics of that region. Her son Henry erected a tomb over her grave at Fontevraud.

Sue Minna Cannon

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