Enter the Lusignans

Henry in Acquataine
Henry in Acquataine

This time the conflict was instigated by Henry’s mother, Isabella d’Angoulême. She was just a teenager when King John snatched her from her intended, Hugh Lusignan, the insignificant and very brown count of La Marche. After John’s death and the crowning of Henry, Isabella went back to the continent to oversee the marriage of her ten-year-old daughter to the same Hugh she left empty-handed twenty years earlier. When Hugh saw that Isabella had lost none of her beauty, he decided he preferred the mother to the daughter, who would have to settle for the King of Scotland. Isabella had born five children with John; she now proceeded to bear another nine with Hugh. But the former queen had lost none of her haughty spirit and seethed over her loss of status. One very public snub from her adversary, the equally haughty dowager queen of France, finally set her off. She assured both her husband and son that between them, they could wrest the province of Poitou back from the French. Henry was still keen on recapturing the glory days of his grandfather’s Angevin Empire, but the magnates refused to go along. He landed anyway in 1242 in the expectation of finding his stepfather at the head of an uprising. What he found instead was his brother-in-law, King Louis, ready to bag the lot of them.

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