Isabella of England


Isabella of England

"For Isabella of England, the daughter of Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault, see Isabella de Coucy."

Infobox German Royalty|majesty|consort
name=Isabella of England
title= Holy Roman Emperess
Queen consort of the Romans and Sicily


caption = The wedding of Isabella and Emperor Frederick II
reign= 15 July 12351 December 1241
coronation=
spouse= Frederick II
issue = Margaret, Margravine of Thuringia
royal house= House of Hohenstaufen
House of Plantagenet
father= John of England
mother= Isabella of Angouleme
date of birth= 1214
place of birth=
date of death= 1 December, 1241
place of death= Foggia, Puglia, Italy
place of burial= Cathedral of Bari

Isabella of England, also called Elizabeth (b. 1214 – d. Foggia, 1 December, 1241) was an English princess and, by marriage, Holy Roman Empress, German Queen, and Queen consort of Sicily.

She was the fourth child but second daughter of King John of England and Isabella of Angouleme.

Wife of Frederick II

Betrothal

It was at a friendly meeting at Rieti where Pope Gregory IX suggested to Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, that he marry princess Isabella, a sister of Henry III of England. At first Frederick II was concerned to lose his French allies; but when he realised that an English marriage would end English support for his opponents, he agreed. The betrothal was formalized in London on February 1235.

The beautiful Isabella was about twenty-one years old when she set out to marry the twice-widowed Emperor Frederick II, who was forty. On her way through Cologne, she delighted the local women when she removed the traditionally worn veil so that they could see her face.

Marriage and Death

The marriage between Isabella and Frederick took place in the Cathedral of Worms on 15 or 20 July 1235; in the ceremony, she was also crowned Holy Roman Empress, Queen of Germany and Sicily. Her dowry was 30,000 marcs of silver (a considerable sum by that time) and she was granted with the castle of Monte Sant'Angelo by her husband upon her her marriage.

However, as soon as she was married she was introduced to the secluded harem life attended by black eunuchs. Their marriage had been a political match, and she was allowed to keep only two of her English women-attendants; the others were sent home. Isabella lived in retirement at Noventa where her husband regularly visited her. When her brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, returned from the crusades, he was allowed to visit her, although Isabella was not allowed to be present at the official reception. While the imperial court resided at Foggia, Isabella gave birth to her last child and died. According to Thomas Costain, Frederick buried her beside one of his Saracen mistresses and his previous wife, Yolande of Jerusalem, in the Cathedral of Bari.

Issue

Primary sources are at variance concerning Isabella's issue; including the number of children she had, their names, and their birth order. What is known for sure is that Isabella had at least four children: a son who died shortly after his birth in 1236 or 1241, a daughter who - like her older brother - died shortly after her birth in 1237, Margaret, and Heinrich. Margaret is believed by some to have been the first child, and by others to be the child whose birth caused Isabella's death. The most common belief is Margaret was the last child. The short-lived son of Isabella has been given the name of Frederick, Jordanus/Jordan, and Carl Otto by various sources. Some historians believe Isabella actually had five children, two short-lived sons instead of one, and that they were named Jordanus/Carl Otto and Frederick, the two being born in Spring 1236 and Summer 1240.

*Frederick/Jordanus/Carl Otto (Spring 1236-1236) [Thomas Curtis Van Cleve's "The Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen: Immutator Mundi" (Oxford, 1972). Page 381:"Certainly there is some evidence that a son, Jordanus, was born in the year 1236, and died shortly afterwards, but the only son of Frederick II and Isabella of England whose birth can be firmly established was a second Henry, born in 1238, and named after his uncle, Henry III, the King of England." Ref supplied by Peter Stewart via soc.gen.med 20 Jan 2008]
* Agnes (born & died 1237)
* Heinrich (18 January 1238 - May 1254)
* Margaret, landgravine of Thuringia (1 December 1241 - 8 August 1270)

Footnotes

References

* Tuchman, Barbara W. (1978), "A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century.", Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1984. ISBN 0-394-40026-7.
* pages 70 & 71


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