Margaret of France, Queen of England and Hungary

Margaret of France, Queen of England and Hungary
Margaret of France
Junior Queen consort of the English
Tenure 1170 – 11 June 1183
Coronation 27 August 1172 (Westminster Abbey)
Queen consort of Hungary
Tenure 1186–1196
Spouse Henry the Young King
mar. 1172; dec. 1183
Béla III of Hungary
mar. 1186; dec. 1196
William of England (died in infancy)
House House of Capet
Father Louis VII of France
Mother Constance of Castile
Born November 1157
Died August/September 1197
St John of Acre
Burial Cathedral of Tyre

Margaret of France (November 1157 – August/September 1197) was the eldest daughter of Louis VII of France by his second wife Constance of Castile.

Margaret was a younger half-sister to Marie of France, Countess of Champagne, and Alix of France, Countess of Blois. Her older half-sisters were also older half-sisters of her future husband.


First marriage

She was married to Henry the Young King of England on 2 November 1160. Henry was the second of five sons born to King Henry II of England and Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine. He was five years old at the time of this agreement while Margaret was only two. Margaret's dowry was the vital and much disputed territory of Vexin.[1][2]

Her husband became co-ruler with his father in 1170. For unknown reasons, Margaret was not crowned along with her husband on 14 July 1170, an omission that greatly angered her father. In order to please the French King, Henry II had his son and Margaret crowned together in Winchester Cathedral on 27 August 1172.[3] Margaret became pregnant and gave birth to their only son William on 19 June 1177. The child was born prematurely and died on 22 June of the same year.

She was accused in 1182 of having a love affair with William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, although contemporary chroniclers doubted the truth of these accusations. Henry may have started the process to have their marriage annulled, ostensibly due to her adultery but in reality because she could not conceive an heir. Margaret was sent back to France, according to E. Hallam (The Plantagenets) and Amy Kelly (Eleonore of Aquitaine and the Four Kings), to ensure her safety during the civil war with Young Henry's brother Richard. Her husband died in 1183 while on campaign in the Dordogne region of France.

Second marriage

After receiving a substantial pension in exchange for surrendering her dowry of Gisors and the Vexin, she became the second queen consort of Béla III of Hungary in 1186. The difficult delivery of her only known child in 1177 seems to have rendered her sterile, as she had no further children by either Young Henry or Béla.

Later life

She was widowed for a second time in 1196 and died on pilgrimage to the Holy Land at St John of Acre in 1197, having only arrived a few days prior to her death. She was buried at the Cathedral of Tyre, according to Ernoul, the chronicler who continued the chronicles of William of Tyre.

Fictional portrayal

Margaret was portrayed by Lucy Durham-Matthews (as a young girl) and Tracey Childs (as a teenager) in the 1978 BBC TV drama series The Devil's Crown, which dramatised the reigns of Henry II, Richard I and John.


  1. ^ Gilbert of Mons, Gislebertus, Laura Napran; Chronicle of Hainaut; Boydell Press, 2005
  2. ^ Elizabeth M. Hallam, Judith Everard; Capetian France, 987-1328; Pearson Education, 2001
  3. ^ Martin Aurell, The Plantagenet empire, 1154-1224, Pearson Education, 2007
Margaret of France, Queen of England and Hungary
Cadet branch of the Robertian dynasty
Born: 1158 Died: 1197
Royal titles
Preceded by
Eleanor of Aquitaine
as sole consort
Queen consort of the English
27 August 1172 – 11 June 1183
Served alongside: Eleanor of Aquitaine
Succeeded by
Eleanor of Aquitaine
as sole consort
Title last held by
Agnes of Antioch
Queen consort of Hungary
Title next held by
Constance of Aragon

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