Queen Blanche Castile FRANCE
- Born: Mar 1188, Valencia, Valencia, Spain
- Married: 23 May 1200, Pont Audemer, Eure, Normandy, France
- Died: 27 Nov 1252, Paris, Seine, France
- Buried: Abbey, Maubuisson, Seine-et-Oise, France
Other names for Blanche were Blanca, FRANCE Queen, CASTILE Princess and Blanch.
Ancestral File Number: 8XJR-TP. User ID: 18909845.
Princess of CASTILE, Queen of FRANCE.
Kings and Queens of Europe, Genealogical Chart, Anne Taute and Romilly Squire, Taute, 1989: "Blanca, Daughter of Alfonso VIII King of Castilla and Eleanor England, Mar Louis VIII King of France, Died 1252...Louis VIII, Son Philippe II Auguste, King of France 1223-1226, Mar Blanca Castilla."
The Political History of England, Vol II, George Burton Adams Longmans Green and Co, 1905, Ch XIX, p396:
 "...The peace was to be sealedby the marriage of John's niece, the future great queen and regent of France, Blanche of Castile, to Philip's son Louis, and the county of Evreux was to be ceded as her dower. The aged but tireless Eleanor went to Spain to bring her granddaughter, and the marriage was celebrated four days after the signing of the treaty, Louis at the time being thirteen years old and Blanche twelve."
A History of the Plantagenets, Vol I, The Conquering Family, Thomas B Costain, 1949, Doubleday & Co,p202:
"...[Eleanor] did homage to Philip for Aquitaine and she arranged with him for the marriage of his son Louis to her own granddaughter, Blanche of Castle.
"To make sure there would be no slip and no delay, this indomitable woman rode all the way to Spain, over many hundreds of miles of bad roads from her Aquitainian home to the high passes of teh Pyrenees, and then across the rough trails of Navarre to the arid plains of Old Castile...
"The marriage was performedwith great splendor at Burgos. A Castilian nobleman acted as proxy for the French bridegroom...
"Eleanor brought the bride back with her as she had escorted Berengaria ten years before...It had been the intention of the venerable matchmaker to take her lovely granddaughter all the way to the expectant bridegroom...
"Eleanor had scored a full triumph. She had secured the throne of England for the last of her sons. She had brought about peace. The Angevin sun was again highin the heavens, and the Breton cause seemed hopelessly lost through the ill-considered actions of the much-hated daughter-in-law."
p266: "The barons, bold enough as individuals, were a futile lot in combination. Lacking leadership, they were unable to check the monarch they had humbled at Runnymede. The best they could think of doing in this crisis was to appeal to France for help! The request was made to Prince Louis because his wife, Blanche of Castile, was next in line to theEnglish throne if John and his brood were thrown aside. As Louis was heir to the throne of France, the ultimate result of thsi step would have been the union of the two countries and the further subjugation of the English people. That the barons were able to contemplate and even favor such a result is an indication of the panic into which they had fallen."
A History of The Plantagenets, Vol II, The Magnificent Century, Thomas B Costain, 1951, Doubleday & Co, p30:
"It is high time to tell something of this remarkable woman known to history as Blanche of Castile. When it had been decided some fifteen years before that a Spanish bride should be sought for Louis, King Alfonso had two candidates to offer, his daughters Blanche and Uracca. The King of France decided that the name Blance would have a more familiar sound in the ears of his subjects and accordingly she was selected. Seventyieight year old Queen Eleanor, widow of Henry II of England and grandmotherof the two Spanish princesses, rode all the way to Castile to make the final arrangements and to escort the bride in proper state to her royal husband. When that wise and indomitable woman reached the Spanish court she must have wondered aboutthe wisdom of the choice. Uracca was a dazzling beauty, so lovely, in fact, that Blanche looked plain beside her. Comparison with this beautiful sister was not fair, however, to the prospective bride. Blanche was comely enough, some reports having it that she bore a slight resemblance to her grandmother; and this was high praise because Eleanor had been the reigning beauty of Europe in her day. The plainer of the two princesses had certain advantages over the more vivacious Uracca which, no doubt, were apparent to the wise iyes of the old Queen. She was serious of disposition and very pious and she possessed, moreover, a gift for management. Eleanor, who had become expert at pulling strings to animate the puppets on the stage of history, must have recognized in this quiet and somewhat repressed granddaughter a kindred spirit.
"Louis was well pleased with his bride. The lovely Uracca might have been too giddy and pleasure-loving for the earnest-minded prince, but Blanche was the perfect wife for him. She was as ambitious as he was, as unremitting in her addiction to duty. They became deeply attached, bringing twelve children into the world, six of whom lived. They were model parents, and their life together seems to have been passed without a ripple of disagreement. Taller than her spouse and of a natural sternness of temperament, Blanche dominated Louis as she afterward did her son, the saintly King.
"When Blanche found that herformidable father-in-law had turned against any continuation of the effort to annex the crown of England, she took matters into her own hands. Storming into his presence, she demanded that he change his mind...There was nothing dove-like in theoutraged advocate of action who cornered the monarch and passionately demanded that he continue to support his sone. She left his presence finally with threats that, if he remained obdurate, she would raise the money by pawning her children...Whatever the reason, he gave in finally and promised Blanche the financial support she was demanding.
"Blanche seems to have been fated to play the role of the activating force behind her less aggressive and far from practical men. It wasdevolving on her now to put drive and initiative behind her brave but decidedly not inspired husband. In later years she would rule France during the minority of Louis IX and through the long years he spent at the Crusades, drawing on the resources of the kingdom to supply him with men and money and supplies, thus making it possible for him to achieve historical greatness."
p137: "Count Raimund was so poor, in fact, that he never possessed enough money to make up a suitable dowry for any of his beautiful daughters. He had an asset of much greater value than gold, however, an officer named Romeo of Villeneuve, who possessed such a shrewd head on his threadbare shoulders that he could devise ways and means of snaring kings for the lovely brood without paying out as much as a single coin. This Romeo had already managed to marry Marguerite to King Louis of France. It would have been a most successful match if the mother of Louis, Blanche of Castile, had not become so accustomed to running the kingdom and keeping the royal household under her thumb that she could not share her son with another woman. Blanche made so much trouble for the young couple that they were only happy in their castle at Pontoise, where the King's chambers were directly above those of the young Queen and there and there was a discrete winding stair connecting them. The two married lovers used to meet on the stair in great secrecy, after setting watchers to give them warning if the formidable tread of the Queen Mother were heard on either floor."
p156: "Louis was a man of rare magnanimity, and it may safely be assumed that this slight to the ex-Queen of England was the work of Blanche of Castile. Blanche had suffered a great deal at the hands of beautiful women. As a girl she had been eclipsed by the attractions of her lovely sister Uracca. The court of Philip Augustus, to which she had come as the wife of Prince Louis, was a brilliant one, the center of beauty and chivalry and fashion. The bride from Spain could not have failed to resent the women of the court, who, she knew quite well, considered her plain and dowdy. She had sought release by interesting herself in affairs of state and she had been almost fiercely in favor of the invasion of England on the invitation of the barons. Her rivalry with Isabella had been long-range, but it had been deep-seated."
p208: "Blanche of Castile had resumed the regency of France when Louis set off for the Crusades again [in 1248]..."
The Political History of England 1216-1377, Vol III, T F Tout, 1905, AMS Press,
p11: "... Blanche of Castile, Louis's wife, redoubled her efforts on his behalf. In responseto her entreaties a hundred knights and several hundred men-at-arms took ship for England..."
p62: "... The position of the French monarchy was far stronger than it had been when Henry first intervened in continental politics. Blanche of Castile had broken the back of the feudal coalition...Louis IX attained his majority in 1235, and his first care was to strengthen his power in his newly won dominions..."
The Story of Civilization, Will Durant, Vol IV, The Age of Faith,Bk V, The Climax of Christianity, Ch XXV, The Recovery of Europe, Sec XI France, p690: "[Philip II's] son Louis VIII (1223-1226) ruled too briefly to accomplish much; history remembers him chiefly for having married the admirable Blanche of Castile and begetting by her the one man in history who, like Ashoka in ancient India, succeeded in being at once and in fact a saint and a king...Daughter of Alfonso [VIII] of Castile, granddaughter of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, Blanche lived up to her royal blood. She was a woman of beauty and charm, energy, character, and skill; at the same time she impressed her age by her untarnished virtue as wife and widow [Louis IX was twelve, his mother thirty- eight, when Louis VIII died], and her devotion as the mother of eleven children..."
Ch XXX, Morals and Manners, Sec IV, Woman, p827: "...but one of a score of great medieval women-Blanche of Castile..."
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Micropaedia, Vol II, p72, Blanche of Castile: "Born 1188 Palencia Spain, Died 12 Nov 1252 Paris, the wife of Louis VIII, mother of Louis IX (Saint Louis), and twice regent of France, contributed much to the unification of French territories. After her marriage to Louis VIII in 1200 her loyalty attached to France. She gave birth to Louis, the future French king in 1214. After an unsucessful attempt to seize the English throne (1216), she became involved in a war against the heretical Cathari. On the death of her husband (1226) she became a regent. She gradually subdued a rebellion of barons that was supported by the English king Henry III, established a truce with England, and pacified southern France. When Louis came of age (1236), Blanche remained aloyal supporter and again served as regent (1248-1252) during his absence on the Seventh Crusade."
Ancestral File Ver 4.10 8XJR-TP.
INTERNATIONAL GENEALOGICAL INDEX
IGI Birth T990843-2 Blanca Princess of CASTILE Father Alfonso VIII King of CASTILE Mother Eleanor Princess of ENGLAND Mar 1188 Valencia Valencia Spain.
IGI Marriage T990835-24-1396383 Louis VIII King of FRANCE Spouse Blanca Princess ofCASTILE 23 May 1200 Pont-Audemer Eure France.
Blanche married King Louis FRANCE, VIII, son of King Philip FRANCE, II and Queen Isabelle De Hainault FRANCE, on 23 May 1200 in Pont Audemer, Eure, Normandy, France. (King Louis FRANCE, VIII was born on 5 Sep 1187 in Paris, Seine, France and died on 8 Nov 1226 in Montpensier, Auvergne, France.)