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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 106



then possessed by the French—placed on his head a circlet formed out of Ids mother's gold throat collar. At first the claims of Henry the Third •were but very partially recognized, the greater part of England being possessed by Louis of Franco, and garrisoned by French soldiers. But the energy and wisdom of the Earl of Pembroke, who had been proclaimed Protector or Regent during the King's minority, and the bravery of Hubert de Burgh and other nobles, in a short time drove these intruders from the kingdom. Queen Isabella was offered no share in the government during the minority of her son, Henry the Third, and she henceforth ceased in any way to superintend the education of her English bred family. Indeed, many of the English declared they abhorred her, "for," said they, " it is notorious, that our late vile monarch, from the hour of his union with her, became a wickeder man and a worse King." In June 1216 Isabella quitted England, and took up her residence in Angoulemo, a city not far from Valence, the capital of her former lover, Count Hugh de la Marche, from whom she had been abducted when a mere girl to be married to John, and to whom her eldest daughter, Joanna, had been betrothed. Shortly after her arrival in Angoulêmc, Count de la Marche returned from a crusade, and although his betrothed—then seven years old was residing in his castle for purposes of education, he put her aside, and again wooed his false love, her mother, with such success, that in 1217, Isabella became the bride of the valiant Marcher. As the Dowager Queen had contracted her marriage without asking permission from tho Council of Regency in England, that body greatly enraged Count de la Marche, by withholding her dower from her. However, shortly afterwards, the Council promised the King of Scotland, in a treaty of peace, the hand of the Princess Joanna in marriage ; but the promise was easier made than performed, for when they applied to Count Hugh, who still retained his daughterin-law, he, despite entreaties and threats, peremptorily refused to resign her till his wife's dower had been paid; and on King Henry's appealing to the Pope, the sovereign Pontiff took so little interest in the matter, that the thunders of the Vatican availed not. At length, however, after much négociation and a resolute refusal of the Scotch King to be pacified without Joanna for his bride, the matter was settled by Henry paying the arrears of his mother's dower, and in return, receiving his sister Joanna from the dauntless Count. Tho high-spirited Isabella ill brooked the humiliating change from queen to countess. To behold her husband doing homage to his liege lord, the King of France, greatly ruined her temper; and when Jane of Thoulouse, a lady she utterly despised, became the wife of the French King's brother, Prince Alphonso, —who, being created Count of Poictiers, required De la Marche to do him homage for French Poitou,—her wrath so kindled, that she prevailed on her son, King Henry, to attempt the conquest of French Poitou, and persuaded her own husband to break allegiance with King Louis, and fight under the banner of England. Although the warfare raged for several years, it terminated abruptly. The weak-minded English King, on losing the battle of Taillebourg, fled with cowardly precipitancy from the scene of strife ; when, overcome by defeat after defeat, Isabella, who had caused all the mischief, and her husband, De la Marche, were forced to sue for mercy, at the feet of King Louis, who generously restored them to favour on the easy condition, that De la Marche gave up some of his possessions, and did homage for others to Prince Alphonso. After slumbering for about ten years, the proud spirit of Isabella again burst forth in the horrible guise of assassination. The life of King Louis was twice attempted, and the crime being brought to her door by the confession of her hirelings, she fled from vengeance to the nunnery of Fontevraud, where, beneath the religious garb, she securely secreted herself in a concealed chamber. As Isabella was no where to be found,


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