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  • Isabella of France

    Scheming queen

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Who was she?

Aged just twelve, Isabella, daughter of Philip IV of France married Edward II in 1308. Throughout the marriage Isabella had to compete with Edward’s male favourites for his attention. She was highly intelligent, with a keen understanding of politics.

After Bannockburn

In 1325, Isabella turned on her husband with devastating consequences. Visiting France on a diplomatic mission with her son Edward, the heir to the English throne, Isabella refused to return to England until her husband’s current favourites, Hugh le Despenser and his father (both Bannockburn veterans) were removed from power. Then with the support of her lover, Roger Mortimer, a powerful English lord, she returned to England, executed the Despensers and imprisoned her husband. Edward later died in mysterious circumstances...

His 14-year-old son, Edward was declared king with Isabella and Mortimer ruling in his place. In 1330 Edward III took matters into his own hands, executed Mortimer and removed Isabella from a position of power. She died in 1358.

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