Isabelle of Valois

Isabelle_de_Valois

Isabelle of Valois,

2nd wife of King Richard II

1389-1409

Born:

9 November 1389, daughter of Charles VI King of France and Isabeau of Bavaria, in the Louvre Palace, Paris, France

Crowned:

7 January 1397 at Westminster Abbey, London

Died:

13 September 1409, Château of Blois, France

Buried:

Church of the Celestines, Paris, France

Married:

  1. 1 November 1396, Richard II, at St. Nicholas Church, Calais, France
  2. 29 January 1406, Charles Duke of Orleans & Milan, at Compiégne, France

sabelle of Valois, married at the age of 6 to the 29-year-old Richard II, brought a large dowry, a treaty of peace, and the distant hope that at some time far far in the future, she would give Richard and England an heir.

The wedding brought the kings of England and France together, Richard traveling east over the Channel and Charles VI, with Isabelle, traveling west from Paris. After three days of meetings between the kings and their large retinues, punctuated by escalating exchanges of extravagant and competitive gifts, small Isabelle left her father’s custody and stepped bravely into her new role. Chaperoned by two English duchesses, she and Richard were married in English-held Calais and then sailed for home.

Isabelle was devoted to Richard. Their relationship was that of cosseted child and doting father. Richard indulged her whims and showered her with gifts. When the bishop of Durham presented him with a whistle inlaid with gems, he immediately handed it to Isabelle.

In May 1399, Richard held a tournament in Isabelle’s honor at Windsor and then set out on an expedition to Ireland. Isabelle never saw him again. On Richard’s return, he was forced to abdicate and then was murdered.

Charles VI angrily demanded that his 10-year-old daughter – and her dowry – be returned. Isabelle, isolated and heartbroken, remained in England until a financial agreement could be reached with England’s new king Henry IV. Isabelle was finally free to sail for home in July of 1401. Her dowry never was repaid.

In 1406, Isabelle married Charles, Duke of Orleans. She died giving birth to her only child, a daughter Jean, in 1409.

Eleven years after Isabelle’s death, in 1420, her youngest sister Catherine would marry Henry V, son of the man who had deposed Richard II.

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