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Isabella of Gloucester

Isabella of Gloucester (d. 1217), queen of King John. Isabella, also known as Avice or Hawisa, was the youngest daughter and co-heiress of William, 2nd earl of Gloucester. She was betrothed to John, son of Henry II, in 1176 when he was only 9, presumably to provide him with estates. The marriage did not take place until 1189, when John's brother Richard had succeeded. It is doubtful whether they ever lived together. There were no children by the marriage and John's natural children date from this period. Isabella was not crowned when John became king in 1199 and the following year they were divorced on the grounds that, as cousins, they were within the prohibited relationships. John married his second wife, Isabella of Angoulême, almost at once. Isabella of Gloucester remained a wealthy heiress and seems to have lived in honourable confinement. But in 1214 she was given as a bride to Geoffrey de Mandeville, presumably as a favour, and on his death in a tournament in 1216 she married, very shortly before her death, Hubert de Burgh.

Sue Minna Cannon

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