Isabella of Angoulême

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Isabella of Angoulême (French: Isabelle d'Angoulême, IPA: [izabɛl dɑ̃ɡulɛm]; 1188 – 31 May 1246) was suo jure Countess of Angoulême and queen consort of England as the second wife of King John. She was queen from 24 August 1200 until John's death on 19 October 1216. She had five children by the king including his heir Henry who succeeded John as Henry III of England. In 1220, Isabella married secondly Hugh X of Lusignan, Count of La Marche, by whom she had another nine children.

Isabella formed a conspiracy against King Louis IX of France in 1241, after being publicly snubbed by his mother, Blanche of Castile for whom she had a deep-seated hatred.[1] In 1244, after the plot had failed, Isabella was accused of attempting to poison the king, and to avoid arrest, sought refuge in Fontevraud Abbey where she died two years later at the age of about 58.

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Queen of England

She was the only daughter and heir of Aymer Taillefer, Count of Angoulême, by Alice of Courtenay. Her paternal grandparents were William IV of Angoulême, Count of Angoulême and Marguerite de Turenne, and her maternal grandparents were Pierre de Courtenay and Elizabeth de Courtenay. Her mother's family produced many illustrious members, which included Isabella's great-grandfather, King Louis VI of France, and her uncle Peter II of Courtenay, Latin Emperor of Constantinople.

Isabella became Countess of Angoulême in her own right on 16 June 1202, by which time she was already queen of England. Her marriage to King John took place on 24 August 1200, at Bordeaux, a year after he annulled his first marriage to Isabel of Gloucester. She was crowned queen in an elaborate ceremony on 9 October at Westminster Abbey in London. Isabella was originally betrothed to Hugh IX le Brun, Count of Lusignan,[2] son of the then Count of La Marche. 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.

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