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Isabella of Angouleme

Queen consort of King John I of England, 1200-1216.

Isabella was born in about 1187, the daughter of Aymer Taillefer, Count of Angoulême, and her maternal great-grandfather was King Louis XI of France. She became Countess of Angouleme in her own right in 1202, by which time she was already queen of England. Her marriage to King John took place on August 24, 1200, at Bordeaux.

It could not be said to have been a successful marriage, as Isabella was much younger than her husband and had a fiery character to match his. Before their marriage, she had been betrothed to Hugh de Lusignan, Count of La March. As a result of John's temerity in taking her as his second wife, King Philip II of France confiscated all his French lands, and armed conflict ensued. In the course of their marriage, Isabella bore five children, the eldest of whom became King Henry III of England on his father's death. The youngest daughter, Eleanor, would marry Simon de Montfort.

When John died in 1216, Isabella was still in her twenties. She returned to France and proceeded to marry Hugh de Lusignan, the son of her former fiancé. They had a further eleven children, all of whom survived into adulthood, as did all her children by John. Isabella died on May 31, 1246, at Fontevraud Abbey in France, and was buried there.

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