Isabella of France
Queen consort of England
Isabella of France
Isabella of France, sometimes described as the She-wolf of France, was Queen consort of England as the wife of Edward II of England. She was the youngest surviving child and only surviving daughter of Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre. Queen Isabella was notable at the time for her beauty, diplomatic skills and intelligence. Isabella arrived in England at the age of twelve during a period of growing conflict between the king and the powerful baronial factions.
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Isabella of France's personal information overview.
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1358
    Age 65
    Isabella took the habit of the Poor Clares before she died on 22 August 1358, and her body was returned to London for burial at the Franciscan church at Newgate, in a service overseen by Archbishop Simon Islip.
    More Details Hide Details She was buried in the mantle she had worn at her wedding and at her request, Edward's heart, placed into a casket thirty years before, was interred with her. Isabella left the bulk of her property, including Castle Rising, to her favourite grandson, the Black Prince, with some personal effects being granted to her daughter Joan Queen Isabella appeared with a major role in Christopher Marlowe's play Edward II (c. 1592) and thereafter has been frequently used as a character in plays, books, and films, often portrayed as beautiful but manipulative or wicked. Thomas Gray, the 18th-century poet, combined Marlowe's depiction of Isabella with William Shakespeare's description of Margaret of Anjou (the wife of Henry VI) as the "She-Wolf of France", to produce the anti-French poem The Bard (1757), in which Isabella rips apart the bowels of Edward II with her "unrelenting fangs". The "She-Wolf" epithet stuck, and Bertolt Brecht re-used it in The Life of Edward II of England (1923).
    She remained interested in Arthurian legends and jewellery; in 1358 she appeared at the St George's Day celebrations at Windsor wearing a dress made of silk, silver, 300 rubies, 1800 pearls and a circlet of gold.
    More Details Hide Details She may also have developed an interest in astrology or geometry towards the end of her life, receiving various presents relating to these disciplines.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1348
    Age 55
    She was also appointed to negotiate with France in 1348 and was involved in the negotiations with Charles II of Navarre in 1358.
    More Details Hide Details As the years went by, Isabella became very close to her daughter Joan, especially after Joan left her unfaithful husband, King David II of Scotland. Joan also nursed her just before she died. She doted on her grandchildren, including Edward, the Black Prince. She became increasingly interested in religion as she grew older, visiting a number of shrines. She remained, however, a gregarious member of the court, receiving constant visitors; amongst her particular friends appear to have been Roger Mortimer's daughter Agnes Mortimer, Countess of Pembroke, and Roger Mortimer's grandson, also called Roger Mortimer, whom Edward III restored to the Earldom of March. King Edward and his children often visited her as well.
  • FORTIES
  • 1342
    Age 49
    In 1342, there were suggestions that she might travel to Paris to take part in peace negotiations, but eventually this plan was quashed.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1331
    Age 38
    Isabella remained extremely wealthy; despite being required to surrender most of her lands after losing power, in 1331 she was reassigned a yearly income of £3000, which increased to £4000 by 1337.
    More Details Hide Details She lived an expensive lifestyle in Norfolk, including minstrels, huntsmen, grooms and other luxuries, and was soon travelling again around England.
  • 1330
    Age 37
    By mid-1330, Isabella and Mortimer's regime was increasingly insecure, and Isabella's son, Edward III, was growing frustrated at Mortimer's grip on power.
    More Details Hide Details Various historians, with different levels of confidence, have also suggested that in late 1329 Isabella became pregnant. A child of Mortimer's with royal blood would have proved both politically inconvenient for Isabella, and challenging to Edward's own position. Edward quietly assembled a body of support from the Church and selected nobles, whilst Isabella and Mortimer moved into Nottingham Castle for safety, surrounding themselves with loyal troops. In the autumn, Mortimer was investigating another plot against him, when he challenged a young noble, Montague, during an interrogation. Mortimer declared that his word had priority over the king's, an alarming statement that Montague reported back to Edward. Edward was convinced that this was the moment to act, and on 19 October, Montague led a force of twenty three armed men into the castle by a secret tunnel. Up in the keep, Isabella, Mortimer and other council members were discussing how to arrest Montague, when Montague and his men appeared. Fighting broke out on the stairs and Mortimer was overwhelmed in his chamber. Isabella threw herself at Edward's feet, famously crying "Fair son, have pity on gentle Mortimer!" Lancastrian troops rapidly took the rest of the castle, leaving Edward in control of his own government for the first time.
    Edmund was finally involved in a conspiracy in 1330, allegedly to restore Edward II, whom he claimed was still alive: Isabella and Mortimer broke up the conspiracy, arresting Edmund and other supporters – including Simon Mepeham, Archbishop of Canterbury.
    More Details Hide Details Edmund may have expected a pardon, possibly from Edward III, but Isabella was insistent on his execution. The execution itself was a fiasco after the executioner refused to attend and Edmund of Kent had to be killed by a local dung-collector, who had been himself sentenced to death and was pardoned as a bribe to undertake the beheading. Isabella de Vesci escaped punishment, despite have been closely involved in the plot.
  • 1329
    Age 36
    In January 1329 Isabella's forces under Mortimer's command took Lancaster's stronghold of Leicester, followed by Bedford; Isabella – wearing armour, and mounted on a warhorse – and Edward III marched rapidly north, resulting in Lancaster's surrender.
    More Details Hide Details He escaped death but was subjected to a colossal fine, effectively crippling his power. Isabella was merciful to those who had aligned themselves with him, although some – such as her old supporter Henry de Beaumont, whose family had split from Isabella over the peace with Scotland, which had lost them huge land holdings in Scotland – fled to France. Despite Lancaster's defeat, however, discontent continued to grow. Edmund of Kent had sided with Isabella in 1326, but had since begun to question his decision and was edging back towards Edward II, his half-brother. Edmund of Kent was in conversations with other senior nobles questioning Isabella's rule, including Henry de Beaumont and Isabella de Vesci.
  • 1328
    Age 35
    By the end of 1328 the situation had descended into near civil war once again, with Lancaster mobilising his army against Isabella and Mortimer.
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    Isabella's reign as regent lasted only four years, before the fragile political alliance that had brought her and Mortimer to power disintegrated. 1328 saw the marriage of Isabella's son, Edward III to Philippa of Hainault, as agreed before the invasion of 1326; the lavish ceremony was held in London to popular acclaim.
    More Details Hide Details Isabella and Mortimer had already begun a trend that continued over the next few years, in starting to accumulate huge wealth. With her lands restored to her, Isabella was already exceptionally rich, but she began to accumulate yet more. Within the first few weeks, Isabella had granted herself almost £12,000; finding that Edward's royal treasury contained £60,000, a rapid period of celebratory spending then ensued. Isabella soon awarded herself another £20,000, allegedly to pay off foreign debts. At Prince Edward's coronation, Isabella then extended her land holdings from a value of £4,400 each year to the huge sum of £13,333, making her one of the largest landowners in the kingdom. Isabella also refused to hand over her dower lands to Philippa after her marriage to Edward III, in contravention of usual custom. Isabella's lavish lifestyle matched her new incomes. Mortimer, as her lover and effective first minister, after a restrained beginning, also began to accumulate lands and titles at a tremendous rate, particularly in the Marcher territories.
  • 1327
    Age 34
    Henry of Lancaster was amongst the first to break with Isabella and Mortimer. By 1327 Lancaster was irritated by Mortimer's behaviour and Isabella responded by beginning to sideline him from her government.
    More Details Hide Details Lancaster was furious over the passing of the Treaty of Northampton, and refused to attend court, mobilising support amongst the commoners of London. Isabella responded to the problems by undertaking a wide reform of royal administration, local law enforcement. In a move guaranteed to appeal to domestic opinion, Isabella also decided to pursue Edward III's claim on the French throne, sending her advisers to France to demand official recognition of his claim. The French nobility were unimpressed and, since Isabella lacked the funds to begin any military campaign, she began to court the opinion of France's neighbours, including proposing the marriage of her son John to the Castilian royal family.
    The session was held in January 1327, with Isabella's case being led by her supporter Adam Orleton, Bishop of Hereford.
    More Details Hide Details Isabella's son, Prince Edward, was confirmed as Edward III, with his mother appointed regent. Isabella's position was still precarious, as the legal basis for deposing Edward was minimal and many lawyers of the day maintained that Edward was still the rightful king, regardless of the declaration of the Parliament. The situation could be reversed at any moment and Edward was known to be a vengeful ruler. Edward II's subsequent fate, and Isabella's role in it, remains hotly contested by historians. The minimally agreed version of events is that Isabella and Mortimer had Edward moved from Kenilworth Castle in the Midlands to the safer location of Berkeley Castle in the Welsh borders, where he was put into the custody of Lord Berkeley. On 23 September, Isabella and Edward III were informed by messenger that Edward had died whilst imprisoned at the castle, because of a "fatal accident". Edward's body was apparently buried at Gloucester Cathedral, with his heart being given in a casket to Isabella. After the funeral, there were rumours for many years that Edward had survived and was really alive somewhere in Europe, some of which were captured in the famous Fieschi Letter written in the 1340s, although no concrete evidence ever emerged to support the allegations. There are, however, various historical interpretations of the events surrounding this basic sequence of events.
  • 1326
    Age 33
    Taking Prince Edward with them, Isabella and Mortimer left the French court in summer 1326 and travelled north to William I, Count of Hainaut.
    More Details Hide Details As Joan had suggested the previous year, Isabella betrothed Prince Edward to Philippa, the daughter of the Count, in exchange for a substantial dowry. She then used this money plus an earlier loan from Charles to raise a mercenary army, scouring Brabant for men, which were added to a small force of Hainaut troops. William also provided eight men of war ships and various smaller vessels as part of the marriage arrangements. Although Edward was now fearing an invasion, secrecy remained key, and Isabella convinced William to detain envoys from Edward. Isabella also appears to have made a secret agreement with the Scots for the duration of the forthcoming campaign. On 22 September, Isabella, Mortimer and their modest force set sail for England. Having evaded Edward's fleet, which had been sent to intercept them, Isabella and Mortimer landed at Orwell on the east coast of England on 24 September with a small force; estimates of Isabella's army vary from between 300 and around 2,000 soldiers, with 1,500 being a popular middle figure. After a short period of confusion during which they attempted to work out where they had actually landed, Isabella moved quickly inland, dressed in her widow's clothes. The local levies mobilised to stop them immediately changed sides, and by the following day Isabella was in Bury St Edmunds and shortly afterwards had swept inland to Cambridge. Thomas, Earl of Norfolk, joined Isabella's forces and Henry of Lancaster – the brother of the late Thomas, and Isabella's uncle – also announced he was joining Isabella's faction, marching south to join her.
  • 1325
    Age 32
    Mortimer and Isabella began a passionate relationship from December 1325 onwards; Isabella was taking a huge risk in doing so – female infidelity was a very serious offence in medieval Europe, as shown during the Tour de Nesle Affair – both Isabella's former French sisters-in-law had died by 1326 as a result of their imprisonment for exactly this offence.
    More Details Hide Details Isabella's motivation has been the subject of discussion by historians; most agree that there was a strong sexual attraction between the two, that they shared an interest in the Arthurian legends and that they both enjoyed fine art and high living. One historian has described their relationship as one of the "great romances of the Middle Ages". They also shared a common enemy – the regime of Edward II and the Despensers.
    Having promised to return to England by the summer, Isabella reached Paris in March 1325, and rapidly agreed a truce in Gascony, under which Prince Edward, then thirteen years old, would come to France to give homage on his father's behalf.
    More Details Hide Details Prince Edward arrived in France, and gave homage in September. At this point, however, rather than returning, Isabella remained firmly in France with her son. Edward began to send urgent messages to the Pope and to Charles IV, expressing his concern about his wife's absence, but to no avail. For his part, Charles replied that the, "queen has come of her own will and may freely return if she wishes. But if she prefers to remain here, she is my sister and I refuse to expel her." Charles went on to refuse to return the lands in Aquitaine to Edward, resulting in a provisional agreement under which Edward resumed administration of the remaining English territories in early 1326 whilst France continued to occupy the rest. Meanwhile, the messages brought back by Edward's agent Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter and others grew steadily worse: Isabella had publicly snubbed Stapledon; Edward's political enemies were gathering at the French court, and threatening his emissaries; Isabella was dressed as a widow, claiming that Hugh Despenser had destroyed her marriage with Edward; Isabella was assembling a court-in-exile, including Edmund of Kent and John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond. By this stage Isabella had begun a romantic relationship with the English exile Roger Mortimer.
    When her brother, King Charles IV of France, seized Edward's French possessions in 1325, she returned to France, initially as a delegate of the King charged with negotiating a peace treaty between the two nations.
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    By 1325, Isabella was facing increasing pressure from Hugh Despenser the Younger, Edward's new royal favourite.
    More Details Hide Details With her lands in England seized, her children taken away from her and her household staff arrested, Isabella began to pursue other options.
    Isabella could not tolerate Hugh Despenser and by 1325 her marriage to Edward was at a breaking point.
    More Details Hide Details Travelling to France under the guise of a diplomatic mission, Isabella began an affair with Roger Mortimer, and the two agreed to depose Edward and oust the Despenser family. The Queen returned to England with a small mercenary army in 1326, moving rapidly across England. The King's forces deserted him. Isabella deposed Edward, becoming regent on behalf of her son, Edward III. Many have believed that Isabella then arranged the murder of Edward II. Isabella and Mortimer’s regime began to crumble, partly because of her lavish spending, but also because the Queen successfully, but unpopularly, resolved long-running problems such as the wars with Scotland. In 1330, Isabella’s son Edward III deposed Mortimer in turn, taking back his authority and executing Isabella’s lover.
  • 1324
    Age 31
    Gascon forces destroyed the bastide, and in turn Charles attacked the English-held Montpezat: the assault was unsuccessful, but in the subsequent War of Saint-Sardos Isabella's uncle, Charles of Valois, successfully wrestled Aquitaine from English control; by 1324, Charles had declared Edward's lands forfeit and had occupied the whole of Aquitaine apart from the coastal areas. Edward was still unwilling to travel to France to give homage; the situation in England was febrile; there had been an assassination plot against Edward and Hugh Despenser in 1324, there had been allegations that the famous magician John of Nottingham had been hired to kill the pair using necromancy in 1325, and criminal gangs were occupying much of the country.
    More Details Hide Details Edward was deeply concerned that should he leave England, even for a short while, the barons would take the chance to rise up and take their revenge on the Despensers. Charles sent a message through Pope John XXII to Edward, suggesting that he was willing to reverse the forfeiture of the lands if Edward ceded the Agenais and paid homage for the rest of the lands: the Pope proposed Isabella as an ambassador. Isabella, however, saw this as a perfect opportunity to resolve her situation with Edward and the Despensers.
    At the end of 1324, as tensions grew with Isabella's homeland of France, Edward and the Despensers confiscated all of Isabella's lands, took over the running of her household and arrested and imprisoned all of her French staff.
    More Details Hide Details Isabella's youngest children were removed from her and placed into the custody of the Despensers. At this point, Isabella appears to have realised that any hope of working with Edward was effectively over and begun to consider radical solutions.
  • 1323
    Age 30
    On her return in 1323 she visited Edward briefly, but refused to take a loyalty oath to the Despensers and was removed from the process of granting royal patronage.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1322
    Age 29
    Isabella effectively separated from Edward from here onwards, leaving him to live with Hugh Despenser. At the end of 1322, Isabella left the court on a ten-month-long pilgrimage around England by herself.
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  • 1321
    Age 28
    After surrendering to Edward's forces on 31 October 1321, Margaret, Baroness Badlesmere and her children were sent to the Tower, and 13 of the Leeds garrison were hanged.
    More Details Hide Details By January 1322, Edward's army, reinforced by the Despensers returning from exile, had forced the surrender of the Mortimers, and by March Lancaster himself had been captured after the battle of Boroughbridge; Lancaster was promptly executed, leaving Edward and the Despensers victorious. Hugh Despenser the younger was now firmly ensconced as Edward's new favourite and lover, and together over the next four years Edward and the Despensers imposed a harsh rule over England, a "sweeping revenge" characterised by land confiscation, large-scale imprisonment, executions and the punishment of extended family members, including women and the elderly. This was condemned by contemporary chroniclers, and is felt to have caused concern to Isabella as well; some of those widows being persecuted included her friends. Isabella's relationship with Despenser the younger continued to deteriorate; the Despensers refused to pay her monies owed to her, or return her castles at Marlborough and Devizes. Indeed, various authors have suggested that there is evidence that Hugh Despenser the younger may have attempted to assault Isabella herself in some fashion. Certainly, immediately after the battle of Boroughbridge, Edward began to be markedly less generous in his gifts towards Isabella, and none of the spoils of the war were awarded to her. Worse still, later in the year Isabella was caught up in the failure of another of Edward's campaigns in Scotland, in a way that permanently poisoned her relationship with both Edward and the Despensers.
    At this point, Isabella undertook a pilgrimage to Canterbury, during which she left the traditional route to stop at Leeds Castle in Kent, a fortification held by Bartholomew de Badlesmere, steward of the King's household who had by 1321 joined the ranks of Edward's opponents.
    More Details Hide Details Historians believe that the pilgrimage was a deliberate act by Isabella on Edward's behalf to create a casus belli. Lord Badlesmere was away at the time, having left his wife Margaret in charge of the castle. When the latter adamantly refused the Queen admittance, fighting broke out outside the castle between Isabella's guards and the garrison, marking the beginning of the Despenser War. Whilst Edward mobilised his own faction and placed Leeds castle under siege, Isabella was given the Great Seal and assumed control of the royal Chancery from the Tower of London.
    Despite the momentary respite delivered by Isabella, by the autumn of 1321, the tensions between the two factions of Edward, Isabella and the Despenser, opposing the baronial opposition led by Thomas of Lancaster, were extremely high, with forces still mobilised across the country.
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  • 1320
    Age 27
    In 1320, Isabella accompanied Edward to France, to try and convince her brother, Charles IV, to provide fresh support to crush the English barons.
    More Details Hide Details Meanwhile, Hugh de Despenser the younger became an increasing favourite of Isabella's husband, and was widely believed to have begun a sexual relationship with him around this time. Hugh was the same age as Edward. His father, Hugh the elder, had supported Edward and Gaveston a few years previously. The Despensers were bitter enemies of Lancaster, and with Edward's support began to increase their power base in the Welsh Marches, in the process making enemies of Roger Mortimer de Chirk and his nephew, Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, their rival Marcher lords. Whilst Isabella had been able to work with Gaveston, Edward's previous favourite, it became increasingly clear that Hugh the younger and Isabella could not work out a similar compromise. Unfortunately for Isabella, she was still estranged from Lancaster's rival faction, giving her little room to manoeuvre. In 1321, Lancaster's alliance moved against the Despensers, sending troops into London and demanding their exile. Aymer de Valence, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, a moderate baron with strong French links, asked Isabella to intervene in an attempt to prevent war; Isabella publicly went down on her knees to appeal to Edward to exile the Despensers, providing him with a face-saving excuse to do so, but Edward intended to arrange their return at the first opportunity.
  • 1319
    Age 26
    The Scottish general Sir James Douglas, war leader for Robert I of Scotland, made a bid to capture Isabella personally in 1319, almost capturing her at York – Isabella only just escaped.
    More Details Hide Details Suspicions fell on Lancaster, and one of Edward's knights, Edmund Darel, was arrested on charges of having betrayed her location, but the charges were essentially unproven.
  • 1316
    Age 23
    Despite Isabella giving birth to her second son, John, in 1316, Edward's position was precarious.
    More Details Hide Details Indeed, John Deydras, a royal Pretender, appeared in Oxford, claiming to have been switched with Edward at birth, and to be the real king of England himself. Given Edward's unpopularity, the rumours spread considerably before Deydras' eventual execution, and appear to have greatly upset Isabella. Isabella responded by deepening her alliance with Lancaster's enemy Henry de Beaumont and by taking up an increased role in government herself, including attending council meetings and acquiring increased lands. Henry's sister, Isabella de Vesci, continued to remain a close adviser to the Queen.
  • 1314
    Age 21
    Isabella concluded that the pair must have been carrying on an illicit affair, and appears to have informed her father of this during her next visit to France in 1314.
    More Details Hide Details The consequence of this was the Tour de Nesle Affair in Paris, which led to legal action against all three of Isabella's sisters-in-law; Blanche and Margaret of Burgundy were imprisoned for life for adultery. Joan of Burgundy was imprisoned for a year. Isabella's reputation in France suffered somewhat as a result of her perceived role in the affair. In the north, however, the situation was turning worse. Edward attempted to quash the Scots in a fresh campaign in 1314, resulting in the disastrous defeat at the battle of Bannockburn. Edward was blamed by the barons for the catastrophic failure of the campaign. Thomas of Lancaster reacted to the defeats in Scotland by taking increased power in England and turning against Isabella, cutting off funds and harassing her household. To make matters worse, the "Great Famine" descended on England during 1316–7, causing widespread loss of life and financial problems.
  • 1313
    Age 20
    In 1313, Isabella travelled to Paris with Edward to garner further French support, which resulted in the Tour de Nesle Affair.
    More Details Hide Details The journey was a pleasant one, with lots of festivities, although Isabella was injured when her tent burned down. During the visit Louis and Charles had had a satirical puppet show put on for their guests, and after this Isabella had given new embroidered purses both to her brothers and to their wives. Isabella and Edward then returned to England with new assurances of French support against the English barons. Later in the year, however, Isabella and Edward held a large dinner in London to celebrate their return and Isabella apparently noticed that the purses she had given to her sisters-in-law were now being carried by two Norman knights, Gautier and Philippe d'Aunay.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1312
    Age 19
    Tensions mounted steadily over the decade. In 1312, Isabella gave birth to the future Edward III, but by the end of the year Edward's court was beginning to change.
    More Details Hide Details Edward was still relying upon his French relatives – Isabella's uncle, Louis d'Évreux, for example had been sent from Paris to assist him – but Hugh Despenser the elder now formed part of the inner circle, marking the beginning of the Despensers' increased prominence at Edward's court. The Despensers were opposed to both the Lancastrians and their other allies in the Welsh Marches, making an easy alliance with Edward, who sought revenge for the death of Gaveston.
  • 1311
    Age 18
    In the aftermath, the barons rose up, signing the Ordinances of 1311, which promised action against Gaveston and expelled Isabella de Vesci and Henry de Beaumont from court. 1312 saw a descent into civil war against the king and his lover – Isabella stood with Edward, sending angry letters to her uncles d'Évreux and de Valois asking for support.
    More Details Hide Details Edward left Isabella, rather against her will, at Tynemouth Priory in Northumberland whilst he unsuccessfully attempted to fight the barons. The campaign was a disaster, and although Edward escaped, Gaveston found himself stranded at Scarborough Castle, where his baronial enemies first surrounded and captured him. Guy de Beauchamp and Thomas of Lancaster ensured Gaveston's execution as he was being taken south to rejoin Edward. Isabella's rival for Edward's affections was gone, but the situation in England was deeply unstable.
    During 1311, however, Edward conducted a failed campaign against the Scots, during which Isabella and he only just escaped capture.
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  • 1308
    Age 15
    Isabella and Edward were finally married at Boulogne-sur-Mer on 25 January 1308.
    More Details Hide Details Isabella's wardrobe gives some indications of her wealth and style – she had gowns of baudekyn, velvet, taffeta and cloth, along with numerous furs; she had over 72 headdresses and coifs; she brought with her two gold crowns, gold and silver dinnerware and 419 yards of linen. At the time of her marriage, Isabella was probably about twelve and was described by Geoffrey of Paris as "the beauty of beauties... in the kingdom if not in all Europe." This description was probably not simply flattery by a chronicler, since both Isabella's father and brothers were considered very handsome men by contemporaries, and her husband was to nickname her "Isabella the Fair". Isabella was said to resemble her father, and not her mother, queen regnant of Navarre, a plump, plain woman. This indicates that Isabella was slender and pale-skinned, although the fashion at the time was for blonde, slightly full-faced women, and Isabella may well have followed this stereotype instead. Throughout her career, Isabella was noted as charming and diplomatic, with a particular skill at convincing people to follow her courses of action. Unusual for the medieval period, contemporaries also commented on her high intelligence.
    The French chroniclers Guillaume de Nangis and Thomas Walsingham describe her as 12 years old at the time of her marriage in January 1308, placing her birth between the January of 1295 and of 1296.
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  • 1305
    Age 12
    A Papal dispensation by Clement V in November 1305 permitted her immediate marriage by proxy, despite the fact that she was probably only 10 years old.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1303
    Age 10
    Since she had to reach the canonical age of 7 before her betrothal in May 1303, and that of 12 before her marriage in January 1308, the evidence suggests that she was born between May and November 1295.
    More Details Hide Details Her parents were King Philip IV of France and Queen Joan I of Navarre; her brothers Louis, Philip and Charles became kings of France.
  • 1299
    Age 6
    She is described as born in 1292 in the Annals of Wigmore, and Piers Langtoft agrees, claiming that she was 7 years old in 1299.
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  • 1298
    Age 5
    Pope Boniface VIII had urged the marriage as early as 1298 but was delayed by wrangling over the terms of the marriage contract.
    More Details Hide Details The English king, Edward I attempted to break the engagement several times for political advantage, and only after he died in 1307 did the wedding proceed.
  • 1295
    Age 2
    Isabella was born in Paris on an uncertain date – on the basis of the chroniclers and the eventual date of her marriage, she was probably born between May and November 1295.
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