Think of teenage boy.
Would you let him rule all France?
Mother best step in.
Today on French Queens Week is kind of a two-parter, and you’ll see why. This entry might also be shorter than usual because I’m so flippin tired.
Blanche of Castile was born in 1188, the third daughter of Alfonso VIII of Castile and Eleanor of England. More importantly to my mind, she was the granddaughter of the BAMF yet tempestuous pair that was Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. The latter in particular had a deciding role in Blanche’s destiny – big sister Urraca was originally scheduled to marry the future Louis VIII of France and Grandma was sent over to Castile in 1200 at age 63 to pick her up.
But upon arrival, E of A sized up her granddaughters, decided Blanche was a better pick for the job, and proceeded to cart her over the Pyrenees and to Normandy. Then Blanche married Louis, hurray! Given that they were 12 and 13 respectively, no one expected kids to happen for a few years yet and such was the case. Their firstborn came in 1205, but the eventual heir (also Louis) wasn’t born until 1214. The earlier kids all died.
Aside from kids, Blanche had a pretty exciting time. Her uncle, King John of England, was about as popular as a pungent fart. Because of her own ancestry, husband Louis was proposed as an alternative king, which the couple was all for. Even after John died and his wee son became Henry III, they continued to press the matter. Frankly, long after they should have let it go. It took English ships kicking ass for them to give it up – a recurring event throughout the next millennium.
Then in 1223, Louis became king. Then in 1226, Louis died. Junior was 12 years old. Various barons smelled blood in the water and rebelled. Oh shit.
Time for Queen Mother Blanche to take charge. She made nice with some barons, gained the support and protection of the people of Paris, got her boy crowned ASAP, and proceeded to kick the collective asses of rebel scum. This action also involved checking Henry III at every turn, who was trying so hard in all the hubbub to get back some of the vast amounts of continental land his pops lost through his military incompetence. She even kept Henry from getting help from his remarried mother.
Let’s face it: Louis IX would’ve had shit to rule without his mom.
Even still, Blanche had to let go at some point so her boy could get married and start producing heirs himself. Enter Margaret of Provence…
TO BE CONTINUED.