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Isabella of France

Isabella of France (1292/1295 - August 22, 1358) was the Queen consort of Edward II of England 1308-1327. She was nicknamed the "She-Wolf of France".

Isabella or Isabelle was the daughter of King Philippe IV of France and the sister of three French kings. Her mother was Joan, Queen of Navarre. Isabella was born in Paris some time between 1292 and 1295. She married Edward at Boulogne in January 1308. He was already king, hence Isabella never held the title of Princess of Wales, as was wrongly portrayed in the film Braveheart.

Although Isabella had four children from the marriage, the king was popularly believed to be homosexual, and lavished his attention on a succession of male favourites, including Piers Gaveston and Hugh le Despenser. When her brother, King Charles IV of France, seized Edward's French possessions in 1325, she returned to France and gathered an army to oppose Edward, in alliance with Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, who had become her lover. Together they invaded England and defeated Edward, who then abdicated in favour of his eldest son, Edward III of England. Since the young king was only fourteen, Isabella and Mortimer ruled as regents in his place.

Isabella and Mortimer famously plotted to murder the deposed king in such a way as not to draw suspicion on themselves. However, when Edward III attained his majority, he remembered their disloyalty, and had both Isabella and Mortimer taken prisoner. Mortimer was executed for treason, but Isabella's life was spared and she was allowed to retire to Castle Rising in Norfolk. It was probably there that she died, on August 22, 1358, and her body was returned to London for burial.

See also: Hundred Years' War



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