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Isabella, 1296–1358, queen consort of Edward II of England, daughter of Philip IV of France. She married Edward in 1308. Neglected and mistreated by her husband, Isabella nourished hatred for the royal favorites, the Despensers (see Despenser, Hugh le), who were responsible (1324) for the confiscation of her estates. In 1325 she was sent to France to negotiate with her brother Charles IV over Gascony. Once there, she ignored royal orders to return to England with her son, the future Edward III. Becoming the mistress of Roger de Mortimer, later 1st earl of March, she plotted with him to invade England. Their invasion in 1326 was successful. After Edward II was forced to abdicate and Edward III was enthroned early in 1327, Isabella and Mortimer caused the murder of Edward II and began a corrupt rule of England. Finally rebelling against the couple's flagrant misgovernment, Edward III seized power in 1330, had Mortimer executed, and forced Isabella to retire.

See biography by A. Weir (2005).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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