2nd Wife of King Richard II: Isabella of Valois

Isabella of Valois, was born on the 9th November 1389, to parents King Charles VI of France and Queen Isabeau of Bavaria, at the Louvre in Paris.

King Richard II of England, lost his first wife “Anne of Bohemia” to the plague in June of 1394.

Charles VI of France, desperately wanted to prevent any alliance between England and Spain, which could result in an end to peace between England and France.  Furthermore the Duke of Burgundy wanted to see a continuation of trading with England.  To this end, it was essential that Richard II should marry a French princess.

On the 31st October 1396, King Richard II of England, accepted into his care, his child bride; Isabella of Valois, at a ceremony held at St.Omer in France.

In November of 1396, the couple were married at the Church of St.Nicholas in Calais.  On the 3rd January 1397, Isabella spent the night in the Tower of London and on the 4th rode through the streets of London, where she met Richard at Westminster.  On the 5th January was crowned Queen at her coronation.

Following the coronation, she went to Windsor, to receive her royal education.

Isabella, a child Queen had no political influence, and as such came under the care of the Duchess Eleanor de Bohun and Duchess Katherine Swynford and her French governess Margaret de Courcy.

In February of 1397, Richard and Isabella went on pilgrimage to Canterbury and spent Christmas at Litchfield, and attended the opening of Parliament in January of 1398 at Shrewsbury.

Political trouble was brewing for Richard.  He had the Duke of Gloucester executed, for plotting against him, in an attempt to seize the throne.  Upon returning from Ireland, having put down a rebellion, he found Henry Bolingbroke was leading an insurrection against him… he had no alternative but to exile him from English lands.

Henry Bolingbroke had no intention in staying in exile, so when Richard was back in Ireland, he returned to England and raised an army of thousands of troops.

Edward the Duke of York, who had been appointed by Richard to look after England in his absence, had a choice, Richard or Bolingbroke, he chose Bolingbroke.

Richard was apprehended and escorted to Flint Castle, where Bolingbroke had him arrested on his return to England.

Richard was forced to abdicate and Parliament declared Richard deposed.  Henry Bolingbroke was crowned King Henry IV on the 13th October 1399 at Westminster.

Richard was believed to have been murdered in February of 1400 at Pontefract Castle.  A requiem was held at St.Paul’s Cathedral in London, out of respect.

Isabella had now become England’s prisoner.

King Henry IV proposed that Isabella should marry his heir, Henry of Monmouth, the Prince of Wales.  The proposition was rejected, time and time again by Isabella.

In May of 1401, a treaty was signed at Leulinghem, whereby King Henry IV would return Isabella to France along with her jewels… Isabella was returned, minus her jewels, for they had been retained to swell England’s royal treasury.

The Earl of Worcester delivered her to the Count of St.Pol at Calais on the 21st July 1401.

In May of 1406, Isabella married Charles of Orleans, son of Duke Louis of Orleans.  When Louis was murdered in the November of 1407, Charles became the new Duke.

On the 14th September 1409, Isabella gave birth to a daughter; Jeanne.  A few hours later Isabella died and was buried at the Chapel of the Abbey of St.Laumer in Blois.

In 1624, her remains were moved to the Orleans Chapel, Celestines Church in Paris.

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