Posts Tagged ‘Isabelle d’Angouleme’

Profiles in Grateness

Posted in General, On This Day on October 12th, 2006 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

On this day in 1216, King John lost the crown jewels in a flood. John was fleeing from his nobles; they seemed a bit upset after he reneged on the Magna Carta. The barons had decided to oust the little weasel and invited the French crown prince Louis (what else) to be king of England.

In his flight from the realm of England’s Louis I, John took a route along the eastern coast. Unfortunately, he had not quite mastered the concept of incoming tides. In an estuary known as the Wash, John’s baggage train was washed away.

John had an obvious talent for losing. Understandably the least favorite child of Eleanor of Aquitaine, John also had lost Normandy to the French, and his power to the barons. He would have lost the throne, too but for his rare instance of decisive initiative. He dropped dead. The death was suitably ridiculous: a surfeit of peaches and ale. Yet, it effectively ended the rebellion.

(The barons realized that John’s heir, his nine year-old son Henry, would make a much more malleable king than an adult French prince. In return for the barons’ allegiance, the regency of Henry III un-reneged the Magna Carta.)

Yet, for all of John’s losing, he could keep a woman. John and Isabelle d’Angouleme had an unique courtship. Upon seeing the beautiful twelve-year-old, John was so obsessed that he kidnapped her and coerced her into marriage.

For some reason, John never quite trusted her. He suspected that she was having an affair with a young noble, so the King arranged a surprise for his queen. She found the murdered noble hanging in her bedchamber.

Queen Elizabeth is a descendant of this happy union.