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“Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Queen Isabella’s Marriage to Humphrey of Toron is Annulled November 15, 2010

Posted by rwf1954 in Conrad of Montferrat, Guy of Lusignan, history, Humphrey of Toron, medieval period, Richard the Lionheart, the crusades, third crusade, Uncategorized.
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(This post is the fifth of an occasional series of posts following 820th anniversary highlights of what history now calls the “third crusade.” My novel, The Swords of Faith, tells the story of this legendary clash between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin.)


Humphrey of Toron might have lived happily every after with Princess Isabella if only the late Queen Sibylla, her older sister, had survived. But when Queen Sibylla died (covered in my November 3rd post) Princess Isabella became Queen Isabella of Jerusalem, and Humphrey of Toron now had a claim to the title of King of Jerusalem. By most accounts, Humphrey was not suited to this position at all. Described as effeminate, “more woman than man,” Humphrey was not interested in being a leader thrust into the local conflicts that came with the position. He had been betrothed to Isabella when she was eight, not necessarily unusual for that time, but a good enough pretense to annul the marriage, which would allow someone else to marry her and move into that position. The someone else? Conrad of Montferrat was ready, willing and able (also covered in my November 3rd post). Queen Isabella wasn’t so sure. She liked Humphrey—he was a pleasant man she had developed great affection for, and Isabella was not enthused about marrying a rowdier, older, sterner warrior from across the sea. It took her mother to convince her to go along. So the marriage annulment was ready to go. The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Heraclius, was too ill to attend the meeting to finalize the arrangements, and appointed Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury to go in his place. But the Archbishop of Canterbury knew that the annulment would favor Conrad, and hurt the prospects of Richard the Lionheart’s vassal, Guy of Lusignan. So he refused to approve the annulment, threatening everyone involved with excommunication. The Archbishop of Pisa, for trade concessions, favored the annulment. The throne of Jerusalem awaited the result of this tug-of-bride—just who would end up married to Queen Isabella?

Previous 820th Anniversary Posts:

July 4th – The 820th Anniversary of the Launch of the “Third Crusade”

October 4th – Richard the Lionheart Sacks Messina

November 3rd – Queen Sibylla Dies

November 11th – Richard the Lionheart Signs a Treaty with King Tancred of Sicily


1. “Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Archbishop of Canterbury Dies « Richard Warren Field's Blog - November 19, 2010

[…] English religious leader affect what history now calls the “third crusade?” As indicated in my November 15th post, Baldwin wasn’t in England at the time—he was in Acre, smack in the middle of a succession […]

2. “Third Crusade” 820th Anniversary Series: Conrad of Montferrat Marries Queen Isabella « Richard Warren Field's Blog - November 24, 2010

[…] November 15th – Queen Isabella’s Marriage to Humphrey of Toron is Annulled […]

3. Guneet Dave - August 29, 2012

Hey! This post could not be written any better! Reading
through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about
this. I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.
Thanks for sharing!

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