Plantagenet Queens Consort of England

Isabella of France and her troops at Hereford
Isabella of France and her troops at Hereford. British Library, London, UK/English School/Getty Images
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Introducing the Plantagenet Dynasty

Isabella of France and her troops at Hereford
Isabella of France and her troops at Hereford. British Library, London, UK/English School/Getty Images

Women married to the Plantagenet kings of England had quite different backgrounds.  On the following, pages are introductions to each of these English queens, with basic information about each, and some linked to a more detailed biography.

The Plantagenet royal dynasty began when Henry II became king.  Henry was the son of Empress Matilda (or Maud), whose father, Henry I, one of the Norman kings of England, had died without any living sons.  Henry, I had his nobles swear to support Matilda after his death, but her cousin Stephen quickly took the crown instead, leading to the civil war called the Anarchy. In the end, Stephen kept his crown, Matilda was never made a queen in her own right -- but Stephen named Matilda's son rather than his own younger, surviving son as his heir.

Matilda had married, first, the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. When he died and Matilda had not had children by that marriage, she returned to her homelands, and her father married her to the Count of Anjou, Geoffrey. 

The name Plantagenet didn't come into usage until the 15th century when Richard, the 3rd Duke of York, used the name, supposedly after Geoffrey's use of the planta genista, broom plant, as an emblem.

Generally accepted as the Plantagenet kings -- though the York and Lancaster rivals are also of the Plantagenet family, are the following rulers. 

  • Henry II
  • Henry the Young King - ruled as a junior king with his father, but predeceased his father
  • Richard I
  • John
  • Henry III
  • Edward I
  • Edward II
  • Edward III
  • Richard II

On the following pages, you'll meet their queen's consort -- no queens ruling in their own right in this dynasty, though some served as regents and one seized power from her husband.

See also: York and Lancaster Queens ConsortNorman Queens Consort of England

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Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204)

Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Consort of Henry II of England
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Consort of Henry II of England. © 2011 Clipart.com

Mother:  Aenor de Châtellerault, daughter of Dangereuse, mistress of William IX of Aquitaine, by Aimeric I of Châtellerault
Father: William X, Duke of Aquitaine
Titles: was Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right; was Queen consort of France's King Louis VII before they divorced and she married the future Henry II
Queen consort of Henry II (1133-1189, ruled 1154-1189) -- earlier Louis VII of France (1120-1180, ruled 1137-1180)
Married: Henry II May 18, 1152 (Louis VII in 1137, marriage annulled March 1152)
Coronation: (as Queen of England) December 19, 1154
Children:  By Henry: William IX, Count of Poitiers; Henry, the Young King; Matilda, Duchess of Saxony; Richard I of England; Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany; Eleanor, Queen of Castile; Joan, Queen of Sicily; John of England. (By Louis VII: Marie, Countess of Champagne, and Alix, Countess of Blois.)

Eleanor was Duchess of Aquitaine and Countess of Poitiers in her own right after the death of her father when she was 15. Married to then had her marriage annulled from the King of France after having two daughters, Eleanor married the future King of England. In their long marriage, she was, at different times, Regent and prisoner, and she was involved in the struggles between her husband and sons.  As a widow, she continued active involvement. Eleanor's long life was filled with drama and many opportunities to exert power, as well as times when she was at the mercy of others.  Eleanor's life has attracted many historical and fictional treatments.

More >> Eleanor of Aquitaine

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Margaret of France (1157 - 1197)

Coronation of Henry the Young King, plus Henry II serving him at table
Coronation of Henry the Young King, plus Henry II serving him at table. Illustration from 19th century reproduction of 13th century manuscript. Culture Club/Getty Images

Mother: Constance of Castile
Father: Louis VII of France
Queen consort of Henry the Young King (1155-1183; co-ruled as junior king with his father, Henry II, 1170-1183)
Married: November 2, 1160 (or August 27, 1172) 
Coronation: August 27, 1172
Children: William, died as an infant

Also married to Bela III of Hungary
Married: 1186, widowed 1196

Her father was the former husband (Louis VII) of her husband's mother (Eleanor of Aquitaine); her older half-sisters were thus also half-sisters of her husband.

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Berengaria of Navarre (1163?-1230)

Berengaria of Navarre, Queen Consort of Richard I Lionheart of England
Berengaria of Navarre, Queen Consort of Richard I Lionheart of England. © 2011 Clipart.com

Mother: Blanche of Castile
Father: King Sancho IV of Navarre (Sancho the Wise)
Queen consort to Richard I Lionheart (1157-1199, ruled 1189-1199)
Married: May 12, 1191
Coronation: May 12, 1191
Children: none

Richard is reported to have been engaged first to Alys of France, who was probably his father's mistress. Berengaria joined Richard on a crusade, accompanied by his mother, who was almost 70 years old at the time.  Many believe that their marriage was not consummated, and Berengaria never visited England during her husband's lifetime.

More>> Berengaria of Navarre

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Isabella of Angoulême (1188?-1246)

Isabella of Angoulême, Queen Consort of John, King of England
Isabella of Angoulême, Queen Consort of John, King of England. © 2011 Clipart.com

Also known as Isabelle of Angoulême, Isabelle of Angouleme
Mother: Alice de Courtenay (King Louis VI of France was her mother's grandfather)
Father: Aymar Taillefer, Count of Angoulême
Queen consort to John of England (1166-1216, ruled 1199-1216)
Married: August 24, 1200 (John had his previous marriage to Isabel, Countess of Gloucester, annulled; they were married from 1189-1199). 
Children: Henry III of England; Richard, Earl of Cornwall; Joan, Queen of Scots; Isabella, Holy Roman Empress; Eleanor, Countess of Pembroke.

Also married to Hugh X of Lusignan (~1183 or 1195-1249)
Married: 1220
Children: nine, including Hugh XI of Lusignan; Aymer, Alice, William, Isabella.

John had been married to Isabel (also known as Hawise, Joan or Eleanor), Countess of Gloucester, in 1189, but had the childless marriage annulled before or shortly after he became king, and she was never queen.   Isabella of Angouleme married John when she was twelve to fourteen (scholars disagree on her birth year). She was Countess of Angoulême in her own right from 1202. John also had a number of children by various mistresses.  Isabella had been betrothed to Hugh X of Lusignan before her marriage to John.  After she was widowed, she returned to her homeland and married Hugh XI.

More: >> Isabella of Angoulême

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Eleanor of Provence (~1223-1291)

Eleanor of Provence, Queen Consort of Henry III of England
Eleanor of Provence, Queen Consort of Henry III of England. © 2011 Clipart.com

Mother: Beatrice of Savoy
Father: Ramon Berenguer V, Count of Provence
Sister to: Marguerite of Provence, Queen consort of Louis IX of France; Sanchia of Provence, Queen consort of Richard, Earl of Cornwall and King of the Romans; Beatrice of Provence, Queen consort of Charles I of Sicily
Queen consort to Henry III (1207-1272, ruled 1216-1272)
Married: January 14, 1236
Coronation: January 14, 1236
Children: Edward I Longshanks of England; Margaret (married Alexander III of Scotland); Beatrice (married John II, Duke of Brittany); Edmund, 1st Earl of Leicester and Lancaster; Katharine (died at age 3).

Eleanor was very unpopular with her English subjects.  She did not remarry after her husband's death but helped raise some of her grandchildren.

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Eleanor of Castile (1241-1290)

Eleanor of Castile, Queen Consort of Edward I of England
Eleanor of Castile, Queen Consort of Edward I of England. © 2011 Clipart.com

Also known as Leonor, Aleienor
Mother: Joan of Dammartin, Countess of Pointhieu
Father: Ferdinand, King of Castile and Leon
Grandmother: Eleanor of England
Title: Eleanor was Countess of Ponthieu in her own right
Queen consort to Edward I Longshanks of England (1239-1307, ruled 1272-1307
Married: November 1, 1254
Coronation: August 19, 1274
Children: Sixteen, many of whom died in childhood. Surviving to adulthood: Eleanor, married Henry II of Bar; Joan of Acre, married Gilbert de Clare then Ralph de Monthermer; Margaret, married John II of Brabant; Mary, Benedictine nun; Elizabeth, married John I of Holland, and Humphrey de Bohun; Edward II of England, born 1284.

Countess of Ponthieu from 1279.  "Eleanor crosses" in England, three of which survive, were erected by Edward in his mourning for her.

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Margaret of France (1279?-1318)

Margaret of France, Queen Consort of Edward I of England
Margaret of France, Queen Consort of Edward I of England. © 2011 Clipart.com

Also known as Marguerite
Mother: Maria of Brabant
Father: Philip III of France
Queen consort to Edward I Longshanks of England (1239-1307, ruled 1272-1307)
Married: September 8, 1299 (Edward was 60)
Coronation; never crowned
Children: Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk; Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent; Eleanor (died in childhood)

Edward had sent to France to marry Blanche of France, Margaret's sister, but Blanche was already promised to another man.  Edward was offered Margaret instead, who was about eleven years old.  Edward refused, declared war on France. After five years, he married her as part of the peace settlement. She never remarried after Edward's death.  Her younger son was the father of Joan of Kent.

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Isabella of France (1292-1358)

Isabella of France, Queen Consort of Edward II of England
Isabella of France, Queen Consort of Edward II of England. © 2011 Clipart.com

Mother: Joan I of Navarre
Father: Philip IV of France
Queen consort of Edward II of England (1284-1327? ruled 1307, deposed 1327 by Isabella)
Married: January 25, 1308
Coronation: February 25, 1308
Children: Edward III of England; John, Earl of Cornwall; Eleanor, married Reinoud II of Guelders; Joan, married David II of Scotland

Isabella turned against her husband over his apparent affairs with several men; she was a lover of and fellow conspirator with Roger Mortimer in his rebellion against Edward II whom they deposed.  Her son Edward III rebelled against Mortimer and Isabella's rule, executing Mortimer and allowing Isabella to retire. Isabella was called the She-Wolf of France. Three of her brothers became King of France. England's claim to the throne of France through Margaret's lineage led to the Hundred Years War.

More >> Isabella of France

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Philippa of Hainault (1314-1369)

Philippa of Hainault, Queen Consort of Edward III of England
Philippa of Hainault, Queen Consort of Edward III of England. © 2011 Clipart.com

Mother: Joan of Valois, granddaughter of Philip III of France
Father: William I, Count of Hainault
Queen consort of Edward III of England (1312-1377, ruled 1327-1377)
Married: January 24, 1328
Coronation: March 4, 1330
Children: Edward, Prince of Wales, known as The Black Prince; Isabella, married Enguerrand VII of County; Lady Joan, died in the Black Death epidemic of 1348; Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence; John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; Edmund of Langley, Duke of York; Mary of Waltham, married John V of Brittany; Margaret, married John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke; Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester; five died in infancy.

Her sister Margaret was married to Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor. She was Countess of Hainault from 1345.  A descendant of King Stephen and Matilda of Boulogne and of Harold II, she married Edward and was crowned during the time his mother, Isabella, and Roger Mortimer was acting as Edward's regents. Philippa of Hainault and Edward III had an apparently close marriage.  Queen's College at Oxford is named for her.

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Anne of Bohemia (1366-1394)

Anne of Bohemia, Queen Consort of Richard II of England
Anne of Bohemia, Queen Consort of Richard II of England. © 2011 Clipart.com

Also known as Anne of Pomerania-Luxembourg
Mother: Elizabeth of Pomerania
Father: Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Queen consort of Richard II of England (1367-1400, ruled 1377-1400)
Married: January 22, 1382
Coronation: January 22, 1382
Children: no children

Her marriage came about as part of the papal schism, with the support of Pope Urban VI. Anne, who was disliked by many in England and brought no dowry, died of the plague after twelve childless years of marriage.

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Isabelle of Valois (1389-1409)

Isabelle of Valois, Queen Consort of Richard II of England
Isabelle of Valois, Queen Consort of Richard II of England. © 2011 Clipart.com

Also known as Isabella of France, Isabella of Valois
Mother: Isabella of Bavaria-Ingolstadt
Father: Charles VI of France
Queen consort of Richard II of England (1367-1400, ruled 1377-1399, deposed), son of Edward, the Black Prince
Married: October 31, 1396, widowed 1400 at age ten.
Coronation: January 8, 1397 
Children: none

Also married to Charles, Duke of Orleans, 1406.
Children: Joan or Jeanne, married John II of Alençon

Isabelle was only six when she was married, as a political move, to Richard of England.  Only ten when he died, they had no children.  Her husband's successor, Henry IV, tried to marry her to his son, who later became Henry V, but Isabelle refused. She remarried after returning to France, and died in childbirth at age 19.  Her younger sister, Catherine of Valois, married Henry V.

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