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Alice of Courtenay


Alice of Courtenay

Alice of Courtenay, Countess of Angoulême (1160 – 12 February 1218)[1] was a French noblewoman of the House of Courtenay. Her father was Peter I of Courtenay and her brother was Peter II of Courtenay, Latin Emperor of Constantinople. Alice married twice; by her second husband, Aymer Taillefer, Count of Angoulême, she was the mother of Isabella of Angoulême, who was Queen consort of England, as the wife of King John.

She is also known as Alix de Courtenay.


Alice was born in 1160, the second eldest daughter and one of the ten children of Peter I of Courtenay and Elisabeth of Courtenay, daughter of Renauld de Courtenay and Hawise du Donjon. Her family was one of the most illustrious in France; and her paternal grandparents were King Louis VI of France and Adélaide de Maurienne. Her eldest brother Peter became the Latin Emperor of Constantinople in 1216. In addition to Peter, she had three more brothers, Philippe de Courtenay, Robert, Seigneur of Champignelles, and William, Seigneur of Tanlay; and five sisters, Eustacie, Clemence, Isabelle, Constance, and another whose name is unknown.


In 1178, she married her first husband, Guillaume I, Count of Joigny. The marriage did not produce any children, and they were divorced in 1186. A charter dated 1180 records that Count Guillaume, with Alice's consent, donated property to Pontigny Abbey.[2]

Alice married her second husband, Aymer Taillefer in 1186, the same year he succeeded his father, William IV as Count of Angoulême. Sometime in 1188, Alice gave birth to her only child:

  • Isabella of Angoulême (1188 – 31 May 1246), married firstly 24 August 1200 King John of England, by whom she had five children; in spring 1220, she married secondly, Hugh X of Lusignan, Count of La Marche, by whom she had another nine children.

Alice's husband died on 16 June 1202. Their only child, Isabella succeeded him as suo jure Countess of Angoulême. By this time, Isabella was already Queen of England.

She herself died on 11 (or 12) February 1218 at the age of about 58.[3]


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