Empress Isabella and her brothers

The sons of King John, Henry III and Richard of Cornwall, were close to their sister Empress Isabella, who died in childbirth on this day of 1st December in 1241. Only three years earlier, both brothers had been at the deathbed of their other sister Joan, Queen of Scots, and held her in their arms as she breathed her last. Three years before that, in 1235, they had accompanied Isabella to the coast for her departure to Germany and marriage to Emperor Frederick II. It was famously said at the time that their farewell had not been without weeping. Only Richard got to see her once more, when on his way home from crusade he visited the imperial court in Sicily. Isabella was pregnant and Richard left just before she died with the child she was carrying. Henry commemorated her soul by having 102,000 paupers fed in London, Windsor and Oxford.

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