Isabella of Valois

Isabella was born on 9 November 1389 in Paris. She was the eldest surviving daughter of King Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria.

To seal peace with England, Charles promised Isabella in marriage to King Richard II. They were married on 31 October 1396. Richard was 29 and Isabella was only 6 years of age.

Richard seemed to like Isabella and he treated her well, but the marriage was unpopular in England. Richard needed to produce an heir and it would be many years before this was possible with Isabella.

Isabella being but a child was in constant danger of attack and when Richard went on campaign in Ireland, he sent her to Portchester Castle in Hampshire for protection.

When Richard returned to England, he lost his throne and the new King Henry IV imprisoned him, and he was to die at Pontefract Castle.

On hearing of Richard’s death Isabella’s father Charles demanded her return to France, but Henry had other plans for Isabella. He intended to marry her off to his son, the future King Henry V.

Even as a young child Isabella was strong and wilful and she refused this marriage. She instead went into mourning for her husband Richard.

Henry finally agreed to return Isabella to her father and he sent her and all her jewels back to France. He did not however return her dowry.

Isabella married for a second time on 29 June 1406 to her cousin Charles, Duke of Orleans. She died in 1409 in childbirth at the young age of only 19, leaving a daughter Joan.

She was buried in Blois, then moved to the Church of the Celestines in Paris.

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