Isabella de Coucy was born 16 June 1332 in Woodstock Palace, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom to Edward III of England (1312-1377) and Philippa of Hainaut (1311-1369) and died circa April 1379 England, United Kingdom of unspecified causes. She married Enguerrand VII de Coucy (1339-1397) 27 July 1365 JL . William I of England (1027-1087), Henry II of England (1133-1189), Alfred the Great (849-899)/s, Charlemagne (747-814)/s, Henry II of England (1133-1189)/s, Hugh Capet (c940-996)/s, William I of England (1027-1087)/s, Rollo of Normandy (860-932)/s.


She was the eldest daughter of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault and the wife of Enguerrand VII, Lord of Coucy, by whom she had two daughters. She was made a Lady of the Garter in 1376.

Isabella was the royal couple's second child, and eldest daughter. Named after her paternal grandmother, Isabella of France, Isabella is believed to have been her father's favourite daughter.


Born at Woodstock Palace, in Oxfordshire, on 16 June 1332, she was a baby who was much pampered by her doting parents. She slept in a gilded cradle lined with taffeta and covered with a fur blanket. Her gowns were of imported Italian silk, embroidered with jewels and fur-lined. Isabella had, along with her siblings, a household of servants which included a personal chaplain, musicians, a noble governor and governess, and three ladies-in-waiting as well as a staff of grooms, esquires, clerks, butlers, cooks, and other attendants. As a child, Isabella was sent to the household of William and Elizabeth St Omer, which also included Isabella's older brother Edward and younger sister Joan.


When she was just 3 years old, her father attempted to arrange a marriage between Isabella and Pedro of Castile, the Castilian King's heir; however, her younger sister Joan later became Pedro's chosen bride.

Described as being over-indulged, wilful, and wildly extravagant, Isabella - unusually for the times - remained unmarried until the age of 33. She had previously been the subject of various betrothal proposals; however, these had all failed to come to fruition. On 15 November 1351, when she was 19 years old, five ships were instructed to take her to Gascony where she was to marry Bernard d'Albret as had been previously arranged. He was the second eldest son of Bernard Ezi IV, Lord of Albret. At the last moment before departure, however, Isabella changed her mind, and the marriage was called off.[4] Her father does not appear to have been angry at Isabella for her capricious behaviour as he granted her custody of Burtsall Priory in Yorkshire in 1355. He also settled the sum of 1,000 marks per annum on her.

She was physically described as having been dark-haired, dark-eyed, and rather sallow in complexion. Eventually, she was permitted to marry Enguerrand VII, Lord of Coucy, a wealthy French lord with whom she had fallen in love. Seven years her junior, he was the son and heir of Enguerrand VI, Lord of Coucy and Catherine of Austria.

Family with Enguerrand VII

Her husband had been brought to England in 1360 as a hostage exchanged for the freedom of King John II of France, an English prisoner. They married on 27 July 1365, at Windsor Castle. Her father, Edward III, gave her a large lifetime annual income, together with expensive amounts of jewelry and lands; de Coucy was restored his family lands in Yorkshire, Lancaster, Westmorland and Cumberland, and was released as a hostage without any need for ransom.

In November 1365, Isabella and her husband were permitted to enter France; their first daughter, Marie, was born at the family lands at Coucy in April 1366. They later returned for a visit to England; on this occasion, Enguerrand was made Earl of Bedford on 11 May 1366, which made Isabella the Countess consort of Bedford as well as the Lady consort of Coucy. After the birth of Isabella's second daughter, Philippa, in 1367, Enguerrand and Isabella were also made Count and Countess of Soissons by Edward.

Because her husband also served the King of France as a military leader, he was frequently away from home; consequently, Isabella, though living principally with Enguerrand at Coucy, made frequent visits to her family in England. She was made a Lady of the Garter in 1376.


Offspring of Isabella de Coucy and Enguerrand VII de Coucy (1339-1397)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Marie de Coucy (1366-1404) April 1366 Coucy Castle, Picardy, France 1404 France Henri de Bar (1362-1397)
Philppa de Coucy (1367-1411)


Isabella was at her father's side when he died on 21 June 1377 having been urgently summoned home from France by couriers the previous April. After the accession of Richard II, Isabella's nephew, in August 1377, Enguerrand resigned all of his English ties and possessions. Isabella then died in England under mysterious circumstances, separated from her husband and eldest daughter, Marie. Her death was either in April 1379, or between 17 June and 5 October 1382. She was buried in Greyfriars Church, Newgate, London.

Seven years after her death, her husband took as his second wife, Isabelle, the daughter of John I, Duke of Lorraine and Sophie of Württemberg.

Portrayal in Fiction

Molly Costain Haycraft, daughter of noted Plantagenet historian Thomas B. Costain, wrote a fictionalized account of Isabella's life and courtship with her husband. Titled The Lady Royal, the novel recounts several incidents in the lives of the princess and other members of Edward III's family. It is not to be interpreted as a bona fide biography, however, as it contains a number of errors. Chief among these is the explanation of the book's title; according to the story, Isabella (or Isabel, as she is identified in the story) was titled Princess Royal and later promoted to "Lady Royal" by her parents. This is impossible, given that the title of Princess Royal was not created until the reign of Charles I of England.

Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General
¶ Death
  • She died in England under mysterious circumstances, separated from her husband and eldest daughter, Marie. Her death was either in April 1379, or between 17 June and 5 October 1382. [Wikipedia]