Margaret of France, Queen of England and Hungary

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Margaret of France
Margaret of France (1197).jpg
Queen Margaret being given in marriage to the king of Hungary by her brother Philip
Junior Queen consort of England
Tenure 1170 – 11 June 1183
Coronation 27 August 1172 (Westminster Abbey)
Queen consort of Hungary and Croatia
Tenure 1186–1196
Spouse Henry the Young King
Béla III of Hungary
Issue
William
House House of Capet
Father Louis VII of France
Mother Constance of Castile
Born November 1157
Died August/September 1197 (aged 39)
St John of Acre
Burial Cathedral of Tyre

Margaret of France (November 1157 – August/September 1197) was, by her two marriages, queen of England, Hungary and Croatia.

She was the eldest daughter of Louis VII of France by his second wife Constance of Castile. Her older half-sisters, Marie and Alix, were also older half-sisters of her future husband.

First marriage[edit]

She was betrothed to Henry the Young King on 2 November 1160. Henry was the second of five sons born to King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was five years old at the time of this agreement while Margaret was three. Margaret's dowry was the vital and much disputed territory of the Vexin.[1][2]

Her husband became co-ruler with his father in 1170. For unknown reasons, Margaret was not crowned along with her husband on 14 July 1170, an omission that greatly angered her father. In order to please the French King, Henry II had his son and Margaret crowned together in Winchester Cathedral on 27 August 1172.[3] When Margaret became pregnant, she did her confinement period in Paris, where she gave birth prematurely to their only son William on 19 June 1177, who died three days later on 22 June.

She was accused in 1182 of having a love affair with William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, although contemporary chroniclers doubted the truth of these accusations. Henry may have started the process to have their marriage annulled, ostensibly due to her adultery but in reality because she could not conceive an heir. Margaret was sent back to France, according to E. Hallam (The Plantagenets) and Amy Kelly (Eleonore of Aquitaine and the Four Kings), to ensure her safety during the civil war with Young Henry's brother Richard. Her husband died in 1183 while on campaign in the Dordogne region of France.

Second marriage[edit]

After receiving a substantial pension in exchange for surrendering her dowry of Gisors and the Vexin, she became the second wife of Béla III of Hungary in 1186. The difficult delivery of her only known child in 1177 seems to have rendered her sterile, as she had no further children by either Henry or Béla.

Later life[edit]

She was widowed for a second time in 1196 and died on pilgrimage to the Holy Land at St John of Acre in 1197, having only arrived a few days prior to her death. She was buried at the Cathedral of Tyre, according to Ernoul, the chronicler who continued the chronicles of William of Tyre.

Fictional portrayal[edit]

Margaret was portrayed by Lucy Durham-Matthews (as a young girl) and Tracey Childs (as a teenager) in the 1978 BBC TV drama series The Devil's Crown, which dramatised the reigns of Henry II, Richard I and John.

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gilbert of Mons, Gislebertus, Laura Napran; Chronicle of Hainaut; Boydell Press, 2005
  2. ^ Elizabeth M. Hallam, Judith Everard; Capetian France, 987-1328; Pearson Education, 2001
  3. ^ Martin Aurell, The Plantagenet empire, 1154-1224, Pearson Education, 2007
Margaret of France, Queen of England and Hungary
Cadet branch of the Robertian dynasty
Born: 1158 Died: 1197
Royal titles
Preceded by
Eleanor of Aquitaine
as sole consort
Queen consort of the English
27 August 1172 – 11 June 1183
Served alongside: Eleanor of Aquitaine
Succeeded by
Eleanor of Aquitaine
as sole consort
Vacant
Title last held by
Agnes of Antioch
Queen consort of Hungary
1186–1196
Vacant
Title next held by
Constance of Aragon