In 1254 Henry visited Fontevrault, and personally supervised the removal of his mother's body from its resting-place in the chapter house to a site within the abbey church, close to the tombs of his Plantagenet ancestors. An Anglo-Norman inheritance Henry's birth on 5 March 1133 at Le Mans brought to fruition the plan of his grandfather and namesake, Henry I, for the English and Norman successions set in motion by the marriage in 1128 of the widowed empress and the young Count Geoffrey.
Isabella appears to have been a forceful character, capable of imposing her own rule in Angoulême after 1217, but apparently lacking in affection for the children she had had with John. Henry I had made all his barons swear oaths of fealty to his daughter and his grandson.
Neither of her husbands was faithful to her, and this, combined with the fact that she was barely out of infancy when she married, may have contributed to the harshness of character attributed to her by some chroniclers. Painter, ‘The marriage of Isabelle of Angoulême’, Eng HR, 67 (1952), 233–5 · P. However, the family's estrangement at the time of Henry I's death in December 1135 allowed those within the Anglo-Norman court who opposed both female and Angevin rule, or either one of these, to forswear their oaths and accept another member of the ducal–royal house, Henry I's nephew Stephen, count of Mortain and Boulogne, as their king.
Nicholas Vincent Sources Chancery records · Pipe rolls · Paris, Chron. Michel, ed., Histoire des ducs de Normandie et des rois d’Angleterre (Paris, 1840) · M. Martin, eds., Registrum Malmesburiense: the register of Malmesbury Abbey, 2 vols., Rolls Series, 72 (1879–80) · Fontevrault obituary notices, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, MS latin 5480 pt 1, 1 · F. Painter, ‘The marriage of Isabelle of Angoulême’, Eng HR, 63 (1948), 83–9 · H. Richardson, ‘King John and Isabelle of Angoulême’, Eng HR, 65 (1950), 360–71 · F. Boissonnade, ‘L'ascension, le déclin et la chute d'un grand état féodal du centre-ouest; les Taillefer et les Lusignans, comtes de la Marche et d'Angoulême’, Bulletins et Memoires de la Société Archéologique et Historique de la Charente, 43 (1935) · H. Snellgrove, The Lusignans in England, 1247–1258 (1950)Likenesses seal · tomb effigy, Fontevrault, France [see illus.] · tomb effigy, replica, V&A© Oxford University Press 2004–5All rights reserved: see legal notice Oxford University Press Nicholas Vincent, ‘Isabella (c.1188-1246)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [ accessed 24 Sept 2005]Isabella (c.1188-1246): doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/14483Henry II Curtmantel|b. |p55.htm#i1622|Geoffrey V "the Fair" Plantagenet|b. This momentous turn of events, followed by the inability of the empress and the count to regain the birthright of the child Henry, either through diplomacy or force of arms, led to years of war and civil unrest.
Following their marriage at Angoulême on 24 August Isabella accompanied John to Chinon and thence to England, where on 8 October 1200 she was crowned and anointed in Westminster Abbey. Deprived of Isabella, his promised bride, and her inheritance, Hugues defected to the French king, Philip Augustus.
To counter this threat John stepped in to claim Isabella for himself.
Earlier in 1200 Isabella had been betrothed to Hugues, count of Lusignan, who had recently been awarded the neighbouring lordship of La Marche by King John.
The counts of Angoulême controlled a wealthy and strategically significant province lying between the Plantagenet strongholds of Poitiers and Bordeaux.
The chroniclers suggest that John had unexpectedly become besotted with the young girl, but in reality his decision reflects less romantic, political considerations.
However, Isabella and her husband continued to play a double game. That Richard II adopted the broomcod as one of his personal emblems was purely coincidental—he borrowed it from the French monarchy.
In 1241 she is said to have persuaded Hugues to reopen negotiations with England, when French lordship in Poitou looked likely to become over-oppressive. Only in the mid-fifteenth century did the name Plantagenet appear as a royal surname, when Richard, duke of York, claimed the throne in 1460 as ‘Richard Plantaginet, commonly called Duc of York’ (Rot P, 5.375).