Isabella of France (1295-1358)
Queen consort and wife of Edward II. She married at age 14 to Edward II and stared her married life basically as a third wheel to Piers Gaveston, who accepted most of Isabella’s Dowry after the marriage. This woman was also called the “she-wolf” just to give you a little hint of what came next. Obviously, Isabella was not happy about her husband and Piers being all buddy buddy. Piers eventually held a higher place in the court than the queen herself and this just did not fly for Isabella. At all.
She started by trying to banish Gaveston with the help of some nobles she allied herself with who also hated him. When this didn’t work she just took him from his home, chopped his head off and then had herself a little parade in which she displayed the headless body of Piers on a ladder. Why? Who knows. But she did it. After this, the king wanted to execute those that helped her but instead, she somehow got him to give them a full pardon.
For the next ten years, everything was all swell and happy for the couple who produced a worthy heir, Edward III who went on to be just as badass as his lovely mother.
Then two men, Hugh Despenser Sr and Hugh Despenser Jr, came on the scene to once again steal poor Edward’s heart. Little background- they used their power to take land from poor people, arrest them, kill them, whatever they wanted to do. They took the money from the poor and then basically fucked them over by arresting them for ludicrous thinks just for giggles. Not only that but they took their children too. They also extorted money from the Church. Isabella tried to use her words this time but the King just wasn’t having it.
She once again gathered up her noble friends, chased the Despensers out of England, confiscated their money, burned their castles, auctioned off all of their stuff and to top if off, brutally tortured their associates until they died a most painful death.
The king finally got upset that his noblemen were beating up on his friends. So the two groups finally started fighting. Isabella fled to the Tower of London, specifically where the prisoners were so as not to get stabbed and stuff. While there, she met Roger Mortimer, a man imprisoned for striking one of the Hugh Despensers. She brought him some food (he was to die by starvation) and they bonded over their hate of the Despensers.
When the fighting was over, Edward brought Hugh Despenser back who continued to be a complete dick especially to Isabella. He fired all of her people and bad-mouthed her to the King. He also stole her money and property. Now, knowing Queen Isabella, it probably wasn’t a good idea to fuck with her at this point. Sick of the Despensers and her husband who definitely didn’t give a flying fuck about her, she broke Roger Mortimer (remember the guy she met in the Tower of London) and sent him to France. She then sweetly asked her husband to go bring her son to see his dear old grandfather in France. While there, she publicly came out and said that her darling husband was an asshole and she wasn’t gonna take his shit anymore.
Of course she assembled an army with Mortimer and came back to England with a vengeance in 1327 which we can only assume meant she wanted to rip off the face of King Edward II and step on his body all while giggling with Mortimer. (Idunno, this is what I saw anyway) The people of England allied with her because they also hated the Despensers. She soon had a sizable force. Edward II being all manly wanted to kill her and vowed to do so. This was probably a mistake. No, this was DEFINITELY a mistake. The army easily overtook that of Edward’s and soon both Edward and the Despensers were captured. She had Despenser Sr drawn apart (yeah it is just as bad as it sounds) and then hanged probably just for good measure. The junior Despenser got off worse those. He was paraded around London while having food and other things thrown at him. He was then quartered, yes, quartered and sent to different parts of the kingdom AND beheaded also probably just for good measure just in case being cut into four pieces wasn’t enough. Oh yeah and he was also disemboweled and his entrails were burned for all to see. Did I mention this was all a public display?
She imprisoned Edward II and forced him to pass the crown on to their son. She ruled behind her son with Mortimer and kind of turned into a blood-thirsty bitch from then on. Killing anyone who crossed her.
However, Isabella of France was a badass if there ever was one.