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Isabella, Queen of England

Isabella of Angouleme was about 13 years old when she married King John of England. on August 24th 1200, in Angoulême, a year after he annulled his first marriage to Isabel of Gloucester. Isabella was crowned queen in an elaborate ceremony on 8 October 1200 at Westminster Abbey in London. Isabella was originally betrothed to Hugh IX le Brun, Count of Lusignan. As a result of John's temerity in taking her as his second wife, King Philip II of France confiscated all of their French lands, and armed conflict ensued.

At the time of her marriage to John, the blonde-haired blue-eyed Isabella was already renowned by some for her beauty. Isabella was much younger than her husband and possessed a volatile temper similar to his own. King John was infatuated with his young, beautiful wife; however, his acquisition of her had at least as much to do with spiting his enemies as romantic love. It was said that he neglected his state affairs to spend time with Isabella, often remaining in bed with her until noon. However, these were rumours spread by John's enemies to discredit him as a weak and grossly irresponsible ruler, given that at the time John was engaging in a desperate war against King Philip of France to hold on to the remaining Plantagenet duchies. The common people began to term her a "siren" or "Messalina", which spoke volumes as to popular opinion. Her mother-in-law, the redoubtable Eleanor of Aquitaine, readily accepted her as John's wife.

On 1 October 1207 at Winchester Castle, Isabella gave birth to a son and heir, named Henry III after the King's father, Henry II. He was quickly followed by another son, Richard, and three daughters, Joan, Isabella, and Eleanor. All five children survived into adulthood and made illustrious marriages; all but Joan produced offspring of their own.

When King John died in October 1216, Isabella's first act was to arrange the speedy coronation of her nine-year-old son at the city of Gloucester on 28 October. As the royal crown had recently been lost in The Wash, along with the rest of King John's treasure, she supplied her own golden circlet to be used in lieu of a crown.

In the spring of 1220, Isabella married Hugh X of Lusignan, the son of her former fiancé, Hugh IX, to whom she had been betrothed before her marriage to King John. It had been previously arranged that her eldest daughter Joan should marry Hugh, and the little girl was being brought up at the Lusignan court in preparation for her marriage. Hugh, however, upon seeing Isabella, whose beauty had not diminished, preferred the girl's mother.

Isabella had nine more children by Hugh X.

Isabella died on 4 June 1246 in Fontevraud Abbey, where she is buried beside Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.