HBICs of history » I s a b e l l a   d’ A n g o u l e m e

Isabella was queen of England; she is known for her rather fiery marriage to John Lackland (son of Eleanor of Aquitaine) who she married when she was 12 years old. They had 5 children including John’s heir, later Henry III.

At the time of her marriage to John, the 12-year-old Isabella was already renowned for her beauty and has sometimes been called the Helen of the Middle Ages by historians. Isabella was much younger than her husband and possessed a volatile temper to match his own. King John, however, was deeply infatuated with his young, beautiful wife; he neglected his state affairs to spend time with Isabella, often remaining in bed with her until noon, although it was the custom for kings to rise at five o’clock in the morning to commence their duties. The common people began to term her a “siren” or “Messalina”, although they were pleased with her beauty. Her mother-in-law, Eleanor of Aquitaine readily accepted her as John’s wife.