By Katia Wright
Isabelle de Valois was the eldest daughter of Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. Married to Richard II of England in March 1396, at the young age of only 6, her marriage was to symbolise the new peace treaty between England and France after decades of conflict. Despite her young age Isabelle was crowned only a year after her marriage in January 1397, and her relationship with her husband was cordial; more akin to that of a father and daughter than a husband and wife.
Only three years after their marriage, Richard was dethroned and Isabelle’s position as his queen placed her in a precarious position. Isabelle remained in England until a new agreement could be made between the new English king, Henry IV, and the French. Isabelle finally returned to France in 1401 and later married her cousin, Charles, son of the duke of Orleans, in 1406.
Sadly, Isabelle died only a few years later whilst giving birth to her daughter in 1409. She was interred in the chapel of the abbey of St. Laumer, in Blois, and in 1624 her body was moved to the Orleans chapel in the church of the Celestines in Paris.
Anne Curry, “Richard II and the War with France,” in The Reign of Richard II, ed., Gwilym Dodd, 33-50 (Stroud: Tempus, 2000)
Anne Crawford, ed., Letters of the Queens of England 1100-1547 (Stroud: Sutton, 1994)
J. L. Kirby, ‘Isabella [Isabella of France] (1389-1409)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/14486 (2006)
Nigel Saul, Richard II (London: Yale University Press, 1997).