Queen Isabella De Taillefer ENGLAND
- Born: Abt 1187-1188, Angouleme, Charente, France
- Married (1): 26 Aug 1200, Cathedral, Bordeaux, Gironde, France
- Married (2): May 1217-1220, , , England
- Died: 31 May 1245-1246, Abbey, Fontevrault, Maine-Et-Loire, France
- Buried: Abbey, Fontevrault, Maine-Et-Loire, France
Other names for Isabella were ENGLAND Queen and ANGOULEME Countess.
Ancestral File Number: 8XJ5-XC. User ID: 9454873/18911433.
Countess of ANGOULEME, Cousin of Hugh X De LUSIGNAN, Queen of ENGLAND Reigned 8/9 Oct 1200- 19 Oct 1216.
Kings and Queens of Great Britain, Genealogical Chart, Anne Taute and Romilly Squire, Taute, 1990: "John Lackland(Sans Terre) Lord of Ireland, Count of Mortain, Mar =2 Isabella, Daughter of Aymer Taillefer Count of Angouleme, Mar =ii Hugh De Lusignan Count of La Marche, Died 1246."
The Political History of England, Vol II, George Burton Adams LongmansGreen and Co, 1905, Ch XIX, p397:
 "...[John] sent off an embassy to ask for a daughter of the king of Portugal. In the meantime he went on a progress through the French lands which had been secured to him by treaty with Philip, andmet the beautiful Isabel, daughter of the Count of Angouleme, then twelve years of age, and determined to marry her out of hand. The fact that she was already betrothed to Hugh `the Brown,' son and heir of his own vassal the Count of La Marche,and that she was then living in the household of her intended father-in-law, made no more difference to him than his own embassy to Portugal. It seems possible indeed that it was in the very castle of the Count of La Marche that the plan was formed. Isabel's father also did not hesitate in the choice of sons-in-law, and his daughter having been brought home, she was at once married to John. An act of this kind was a most flagrant violation of the feudal contract, nor was the moral blunder saved from being a political one by the fact that the injuredhouse was that of the Lusignans, great barons and long turbulent and unruly vassals of Aquitaine. John had given them now a legal right of appeal to his suzerain and a moral justification of rebellion.
"After his marriage John went beack to England for the coronation of his queen, which took place on October 8..."
A History of the Plantagenets, Vol I, The Conquering Family, Thomas B Costain, 1949, Doubleday & Co, p203:
"Almost in the center of Aquitaine, a short distance south and east of Rochelle in the enchanting valley of the Charente, was a small province called Angoumois. The capital city was Angouleme, sitting on a high promontory. Little touched by the fuedal wars, it still kept its walls strong, inside which it was a warren of narrow streets about the double-towered chateau of Count Adnemar Taillefer. It was chiefly famous for its beautiful cathedral, and Count Adhemar was equally famous for a beautiful daughter, Isabella; in fact, Isabella was better known than the three domed nave of the impressive house of God. At the age of fifteen she was a dazzling little creature with the name of being the loveliest woman inthe world.
"The parents had betrothed her to Hugh of Lusignan, a handsome young knight who was called Le Brun, of the Brown, son of the formidable Count of Marche. The girl had been sent to one of his castles for the same reason that princesses were conveyed early to the country of the man they were to marry. She was content with her lot, being as much in love with the fine, upstanding Hugh as one of her egocentric nature could be. Hugh the Brown was completely enamored of her and was urging that she had now reached the age to marry."
"Having concluded peace with Philip, the newly crowned King of England decided he would follow his mother's advice and make a royal processional through his western dominions. She had mentioned in particular the wisdom of forming an alliance with the Count of Marche. His first stop was Angouleme to receive the homage of Count Adhemar. The count and his wife, an ambitious pair, wanted to make the best possible impression on the new head of the Angevin empire. What better could they do than have their beautiful Isabella there to receive him? Perhaps their purpose ran deeper. At any rate, they arranged for their daughter to pay them a visit during the time that John was there.
"He saw her first beside her mother at the ceremony. She was wearing a plain gold circlet on her head from which a cloud of diaphanous veiling fell over her shoulders...Her gown of scarlet and gold had been fitted closely to her fine figure, and it showed considerably more of her white soulders than was customary. It was not just beauty she possessed; she had ways of her own, ways of carrying her head, of walking so that her long, brocaded skirts did not move. Shewas in fact, irresistible.
"John was thirty-two and she was fifteen. He was married. He could pick and choose among the best-looking women of his court; and, to do him credit, he did. If there was one woman he should treat with distant respect and nothing more, it was this furute daughter-in-law of the Count of Marche. But after one long and breathless look John decided that he would disregard all dictates of policy and decency and common sense, that he would divorce his wife and marry Isabella of Angouleme.
p205: "John's wife Avisa was a granddaughter of that great leader and knight of the bend sinister, Robert of Gloucester, and so they were cousins a few times removed. There had been opposition to the match onthat account , and the Pope had been fulminating about it ever since, even demanded that they separate. It was an easy matter, therefore, to break the bond. The ARchbishop of Bordeaux called a synod to consider the problem, and it was solemnly declared that the marriage to Avisa was null. Soon afterward John and Isabella were married in the cathedral of that city..."
"...[John] was so infatuated with his girl wife that nothing else mattered. He neglected his duties to dance attendance on her...It would be noon before the uxorious King would from the curtains of the nuptial couch and call huskily for the royal wine cup...As for Isabella, they termed her a siren and a Messalina.
"The newly wedded pair left for England as soon as possible, and Isabella was crowned Queen at Westminster on October 9
p248: "While John was thus disturbing the felicity of the most influential men in the kingdom, he was having trouble with his own lovely wife...
"Such a steady succession children [after seven years of childless marriage, two boys and three girls] should have neen proof of domestic felicity in the royal family, but there seems instead to have been a rift which increased with the years. Isabella's reason for marrying Johan had been ambition. She had never loved him and she was such a sparkling beauty that every man looked at her with admiration. This provided all the ingredients for trouble, and it is perhaps not surprising that the Queen's eye began to develop a roving tendency also. It is recorded that John became convinced of an affair she was carrying on with a man of the court and that he adopted a characteristic way of having his revenge. One day the Queen found the body of her lover dangling at the head of her bed, the cords of the rich hangings knotted about his heck, his face black and swollen, his tongue protruding from his mouth.
"At one stage she was placed in restraint as Eleanor had been. It was, however, for a short period only. John never seems to have recovered from his infatuation for his Queen, who was called the Helen of the Middle Ages."
p277: "After John's death his widow returned to Angouleme, where her daughter Joan was being brought up as the future bride of the man she had jilted herself, Hugh the Brown of Lusignan. Isabella was in her early thirties and at the very peak of her dazzling beauty. Hugh saw her and declared fervently that she must be his bride and not the little Joan. Isabella was happy enough to make the change (probably she had it in mind in going over), they were married forthwith, and Joan Makepeace was sent back to England. Isabella hoad involved her new husband in troublewith the King of France by her plotting to create an English confederacy, and with his neighbors by her queenly ways, before the news reached England that the old romance had blossomed again."
A History of The PLantagenets, Vol II, The Magnificent Century, Thomas B Costain, 1951, Doubleday & Co, p45:
"Queen Isabella had left England in July 1217, returning to the peace of the high-walled city of Angouleme which had been her home until John saw her and stole her away from the man to whom she had been pledged, Hugh of Lusignan. Her purpose was to visit her seven-year-old daughter, Joanna. The little princess, who was a beautiful child and blessed with a perfect disposition which she could not have inherited from eitherof her parents was to marry in due course of time this same Hugh of Lusignan, who was no the Count of La Marche...
"...Hugh returned before end of her visit...and he realized at once that his love for her had not lessened with the years.This was not surprising, for the royal widow at thirty-four was still beautiful, as lissome as ever, her manner gay and seductive. A troubadour would have compared her to a ripe peach hanging on a sun-kissed wall in Provence or an earth-bound spirit of beauty. Why should he wait seven or eight years more while the little Joanna grew up? Here was the lady of his first choice, free and abviously willing. He held out his arms and Isabella walked right into them.
"They were marriedwithout waiting for the consent of the King's Council in England. This was a mistake. The Council had the power to say whom she should marry or whether she should marry at all. As the second matrimonial ventures of queens aresupposed to be dictated by political expediency, it was certain they would not have selected Hugh le Brun for her. They promptly confiscated all her dower lands and stopped the payment of her pension...
"Isabella was happy for a time in her second marriage,presenting her husband over the years with eight children. she had been a queen, however, and could not reconcile herself to the rank of a mere countess. Her dissatisfaction grew with the years and led, as will be recorded later, to much trouble for her husband and her son, and much unhappiness for the people of England."
p155: "...Henry decided to go to war with France. Of all the wide Angevin possessions, only a small province in the southwest remained to the English King, made up largely of Gascony. Henry dreamed of winning back the empire of his grandfather and he kept an eager eye on developments south of the Channel. It was largely through the influence of his mother that he decided to make the effort at this juncture.
"It had already been told that Isabella could not reconcile herself to the loss in rank which resulted from her marriage to the Count of La Marche. She had been Queen of England and of the Angevin possessions beyond the seas, and three times each year she had worn in public a crown on her lustrous hair. Whenever she found herself now in the company of women who outranked her and took advantage of it, whe would return in a great rage, her fine eyes blazing, her color high. She was the widow of a king and mother of a king, she would declare, and she could not live under such rebuffs...
"...In 1241 Louis decided that his brother Alphonse was to rule over Poitou and took him to Poiciters to receive the submissions of the nobility. Hugh of La Marche obeyed the summons with the greatest reluctance. Isabella accompanied him with even greater unwillingness, and it did not improve her state of mind that she was ignored for three days. Finally she was summoned to the royal presence.
"Blanche of Castele was seated beside the King when the former Queen of England made her entrance. It does not need stating that the two women had hated each other from the time when Blanche's husband had tried to take John's throne. The presence of the dowager Queen of France did nothing to soothe the ruffled feelings of Isabella.
"There was silence in the room while she walked to the far end where Louis and his mother were seated on raised chairs. Neither rose to greet her, nor did they speak. Isabella compelled herself to voice a brief expression of her loyalty, although each word must have cost her an effort. Louis nodded in response but said nothing. His mother, her eyes fixed triumphantly on this once admired Queen who had been her bitter rival, remained silent also. Isabella accepted their attitude as a dismissal and swept out of the state room in a towering passion...
"...The humiliation of the ex-Queen who had tossed her cap over the windmill (and her royal prerogatives with it) had a result which Blanche could not have expected. The Count of La Marche was still in love with his wife and he resented the coolness of her reception as much as she did.She accompanied him when he arrived at the palace sometime later, ostensibly for the purpose of taking the oath of fealty. It was during the Christmas festivities, which may account for the way things fell out. Hugh stomped into the presence of the new ruler of Poitou and in a loud voice disputed Alphonse's right to control of the Poitevin realm. He then turned and left the palace. Before the ale-drowsy officials could order his detention, he and Isabella had mounted their horses and galloped out through the courtyard.
"Having thus committed themselves to rebellion, the daring pair put their heads together and planned the first steps in a conspiracy to unite the provinces of the South and West against the French King..."
p159: "Ex-Queen Isabella seems to have taken things into her own hands after the disastrous failure of the confederacy. No records exist by which her course of action from that point on can be charted, but there is no doubt that fromthe first she was not reconciled to French domination. She must have realized that nothing more could be expected from her son. Henry had demonstrated that he was neither a military leader nor an organizer of causes. Her own husband was almostas unstable. Hugh's easy submission to Louis must have galled his implacable wife. Inasmuch as his treacherous change of sides was the price he paid for retaining the lands and honors of Lusignan, it may have been that Isabella, who was completely realistic where property was concerned, did not blame him for that move.
"If that were true, she soon ceased to allow such considerations to control her actions. She had five sons by her second marriage, and it must have been clear toher that anything which widened the breach between the French Crown and the family of Lusignan would make it still more difficult to provide for all of them. She had always been vain, capricious and troublesome, and at this state she seems to have permitted the worst sides of her nature to take possession of her mind to the exclusion of everything else.
"...[In an attempted poisoning of Louis, the captured suspects] babbled abjectly, declaring among other things that they had been in the pay of the ex- Queen of England. Louis had been long-suffering in respect to the troublesome Lusignans, overlook their arrogance and defiance of him, even forgiving them the recent hostilities. The final offense, in which he seems tohave believed, had to be dealt with, however, in the manner prescribed for such crimes. An attempt to take Isabella into custody failed because she had been warned in time and had fled. Her husband was arrested, however, and thrown into prison with his eldest son, charged with complicity in the poisoning plot.
"There was no evidence against the mother of England's King save the confession of the two cooks. It may have been no more than a sense of panic which caused her to fly tothe monastery at Fontevraud, the burying place of many Norman and Plantagenet kings and queens. Here she was received by the abbess and promised sanctuary. Because of the nature of the charge against her, she was placed in the secret room. "The abbey of Fontevroud was a most unusual institution, consisting of a nunnery with three hundred members and a monastery with two hundred monks, rigidly segregated and under the rule of the abbess. It had been established to help the lowlyand downtrodden and contained a hospital for lepers and a home for a fallen women.
"Isabella said a prayer at the row of stately tombs where Eleanor of Aquitaine lay between her husband, Henry II, and her son, Richard the Lionheart, and was then escorted to the dark apartment where she would be free from molestation. No description is available of the secret room at Fontevraud, but it undoubtedly was a small hole in the thick masonry surrounding the hearth in the refectory of the nuns, approached by narrow steps from an exit somewhere in the vaults, this being the method commonly followed in castles and religious institutions. This much may be taken for granted: it was an airless hole without any natural light, lacking in all comforts and just large enough for a narrow couch and a few domestic utensils.
"Here the one-time lady of England existed in safety but great discomfort and unhappiness while her husband and son were charged with a share in the plot to kill the French King. Whether or not Isabella was guilty, it is certain that neither of the men had been involved. There does not seem to have been a shred of evidence against them, and the two cooks had already been executed and could not be tortured into more confessions. The proceedings took the form, therefore of a challenge to trial by battle. None of the champions of France, however, were ready to meet on the field of honor anyone as tainted with treason as Hugh of Lusignan, and so nothing came of that. Finally the prisoners were allowed their freedom, although they emerged discredited and dishonored.
"No further effort seems to have been made to secure the person of Isabella. To try a former queen of England on a charge of attempted murder with no evidence but confessions under torture would create a difficult situation and lead to more war. It is certain that she could have been found brought to book if there had been any desire to place heron trial. She continued to exist in the secret room, and there she died in the following year. When her body was carried out from the dark enclosure in the stout walls there was nothing to remind those who tended her of the great beauty which had once caused her to be known as the Helen of Europe. Her face was wasted with privation, and her once beautifully proportioned body was reduced to skin and bones.
"She was buried in the common cemetery of the abbey, but some years later, on the insistence of Henry, she was given a final resting place in a stone coffin with the other kings and queens.
"The ex-queen's coffin looks very small in contrast with those occupied by Henry II, Queen Eleanor, and their son Richard of the Lion Heart; a proof that the rigors of her confinement had been such that she had been reduced to the proportions of a child."
p162: "The disgrace of the family of Lusignan had the effect which Isabella should have foreseen earlier.Her husband lost most of his possessions. There would be enough for Hugh, the first son, but what of the four younger sons and three daughters? There was only one way to provide for them, and that was to send them to England and let Henry assume the burden..."
p164: "A curious situation developed out of the arrival of Henry's relatives. Eleanor remained loyal to her own uncles and cousins, the Provencals and Savoyards, and wanted all the plums for them. Henry's preference had been transferred to his half brothers, and he was determined to make the wealthy and influential. The two parties, as was to be expected, began to clash, openly and bitterly. The public, wryly amused at the struggle between the rival bands of harpies, called them the Queen's Men and the King's Men. They had no reason to find any satisfaction, however, in the situation. Between them the warring relatives were gobbling up all the offices in the kingdom and filling their pockets with thenational wealth..."
The Oxford Book of Royal Anecdotes, Elizabeth Longford, 1991, Oxford Univ Press, pxix: "Normans and Plantagenets Genealogy: Isabella of Angouleme, mar John Lackland (2), died 1246."
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Micropaedia, Vol VI, p397, Lusignan:
"Hugh VIII's eldest son and successor, Hugh IX the Brown (died 1219), held countship of La Marche. In 1200 his fiancee, Isabella of Angouleme, was taken for wife by his feudal lord, King John of England. This outrage caused Hugh to turn to the King of France, Philip II Augustus, forming an alliance that culminated in John's loss of his continental possessions.
"John, in an attempt to pacify Hugh, gave his daughter Joan as fiancee to Hugh X (died1249), but the marriage never took place. Instead, after John's death, Hugh X married his widow, Isabella, in 1220. Hugh and Isabella fluctuated in their loyalty to John's successor (Isabella's son), Henry III. When Louis IX of France grantedPoitou as a countship to his brother Alphonse, Hugh at first supported him. Isabella's anger caused a change of mind and, eventually, brought about a disastrous revolt supported by Henry III. In this revolt Hugh lost his principal strongholds,but Louis IX pardoned the Lusignans, and they swore loyalty again.
"Nine children were born to Isabella and Hugh X, five of whom went to England at the invitation of their half brother, Henry III. There they were rewarded with lands, riches, and distinctions at the expense of the English barons, who eventually revolted against Henry and forced the exile of the Lusignan borthers from England in 1258...
"Two other sons of Hugh VIII became kings of Jerusalem and Cyprus. Guy, through his marriage to Sibly, the sister of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, got the kingdom in 1186 but lost his capital city in wars with the Muslims (1187) and finally exchanged his empty title for the sovereignty of Cyprus (1192).
"Guy'sbrother Amalric II (Died 1 Apr 1205) succeeded to the crown of Cyprus and became king of Jerusalem in 1197 by marrying Sybil's sister Isabella after the death of her two previous husbands. Amalric was the founder of a dynasty of sovereigns of Cyprus...His descendants after 1269 regularly enjoyed the title of King of Jerusalem..."
Political History of England 1216-1377, Vol III, T F Tout, AMS Press, 1905,
p31: "...The powerful Viscounts of Thouars were constantly kept in check by their traditional enemies the Counts of La Marche, whose representative, Hugh of Lusignan, was by far the strongest of local barons. His cousin, and sometime betrothed, Isabella, Countess of Angouleve, the widow of King John, had left Englandto resume the administration of her dominions. Early in 1220 she married Hugh, justifying herself to her son on the ground that it would be dangerous to his interests if the Count of La Marche should contract an alliance with the French party.But this was mere excuse. The union of La Marche and Angouleme largely increased Count Hugh's power, and he showed perfect impartiality in pursuing his own interests by holding a balance between his stepson and the King of France..."
p64:"...A minor result of Louis' triumph was the well-deserved ruin of Hugh of Lusignan and Isabella of Anouleme. The proud spirit of Isabella did not long tolerate her humiliation. She retired to Fontevraud and died there in 1246. Hugh X followedher to the tomb in 1248. Their eldest son Hugh XI suceeded him, but the rest of their numerous family turned for support to the inexhaustible charity of the King of England. Thus in 1247 a Poitevin invasion of the king's half-brothers and sisters recalled to his much-tried subjects the Savoyard invation of ten years earlier. In that single year three of the king's brothers and one of his sisters accepted his invitation to make a home in England..."
p74: "...Soon after his son's[Edward's] return with his bride [Eleanor], Henry III quitted Gascony, making his way home through France, where he visited his mother's tomb at Fontevraud..."
The Story of Civilization, Will Durant, Vol IV, The Age of Faith, Bk V, The Climaxof Christianity, Ch XXV, The Recovery of Europe, Sec 3, Magna Carta,
p674: "In 1199 John secured permission from Pope Innocent III to divorce Isabel of Gloucester on grounds of consanguinity, and soon thereafter he married Isabella of Angouleme, despite her betrothal to the Count of Lusignan. The nobility of both countries took offense, and the count appealed to Philip II Augustus for redress."
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Macropaedia, Vol X, p236, John of England:
"...Therenewal of war in France was triggered off by John's second marriage. His first wife, Isabella of Gloucester, was never crowned, and in 1199 the marriage was dissolved on grounds of consanguinity, both parties being great-grandchildren of Henry I. John then intervened in the stormy politics of his county of Poitou and, while trying to settle the differences between the rival families of Lusignan and Angouleme, himself married Isabella (August 1200), the heiress to Angouleme, who hadbeen betrothed to Hugh IX de Lusignan. This politically conceived marriage provoked the Lusignans into rebellion the next year; they appealed to Philip II, who summoned John to appear before his court. In the general war that followed his failure to answer this summons, John had temporary success at Mirebeau in August 1202, when Arthur of Brittany was captured, but Normandy was quickly lost (1204). By 1206, Anjou, Maine and parts of Poitou had also gone over to King Philip."
The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, Antonia Fraser, 1975, Alfred Knopf, p25: "John Lackland, mar (2) Isabelle of Angouleme..."
Isabelle of Angouleme, Queen [Remains may have been removed] b. 1188. d. 1246.
British queen, second wife of King Richard I's younger brother, King John of England.
In 1244, she may have attempted to have Louis assassinated. She fled to
Fontevraud convent where she took the veil.
[Internet source: http://www.genealogy.com/~brigitte/royal/lusignan.htm]
World Ancestral Chart No. 17779 James Carl Romans.
World Ancestral Chart No. 31759 Ancestors of Warren Cash 1760.
World Ancestral Chart No. 125360 Ancestors of Patricia Ann Kieffer.
Ancestral File Ver 4.10 Mar Hugh X De LUSIGNAN May 1217/1220 Bur Abbey Founteurand, Also Isabelle of Angouleme, OBRA Isabella of ANGOULEME Died 1246, CF Isabella ANGOUMOIS or Isabella of ANGOULEME, 8XJ5-XC Isabella De TAILLEFER.
Isabella married King John ENGLAND, son of King Henry ENGLAND, II and Queen Eleanor Aquitaine ENGLAND, on 26 Aug 1200 in Cathedral, Bordeaux, Gironde, France. (King John ENGLAND was born on 24 Dec 1166 in Kings Manorhouse, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, died on 19 Oct 1216 in Newark, Nottinghamshire, England and was buried in Cathedral, Worcester, Worcestershire, England.)
Isabella also married Count Hugh De Lusignan LA MARCHE, X, son of Count Hugh Lusignan LA MARCHE, IX, in May 1217-1220 in , , England. (Count Hugh De Lusignan LA MARCHE, X was born about 1183 in Lusignan, Vienne, France and died in 1248-1249 in , Surrey, England.)