|A Medieval Depiction of the Marriage of Princess Isabella - the Core of the Controvery|
The Lyon Continuation further notes that Isabella and Humphrey testified before the church tribunal separately. In her testimony, Isabella asserted she had not consented to her marriage to Humphrey, while Humphrey claimed she had. The Lyon Continuation also provides the colorful detail that another witness, who had been present at Isabella and Humphrey's wedding, at once called Humphrey a liar, and challenged him to prove he spoke the truth in combat. Humphrey, the chronicler says, refused to “take up the gage.” At this point the chronicler states that Humphrey was “cowardly and effeminate.”
|In the 12th Century judicial combat was still recognized as a legal means of settling disputes.|
- Isabella was removed from Humphrey de Toron’s tent against her will.
- She was not, however, taken by Conrad or raped by him.
- Rather she was turned over to neutral third parties, sequestered and protected by them.
- Meanwhile, a church court was convened to rule on the validity of her marriage to Humphrey.
- The case hinged on the important theological principle of consent. (Note: In the 12th Century, both parties to a marriage had to consent. To consent they had be legally of age. The legal age of consent for girls was 12.)
- Humphrey claimed that Isabella had consented to the marriage, but when challenged by a witness to the wedding he “said nothing” and backed down.
- Isabella, meanwhile, had “changed her mind” and consented to the divorce.
- The court ruled that Isabella's marriage to Humphrey had not been valid.
- On Nov. 25, with either the French Bishop of Beauvais or the Papal Legate himself presiding, Isabella married Conrad. Since a clerical court had just ruled that no marriage was valid without the consent of the bride, we can be confident that she consented to this marriage. In fact, as the Itinerarium so reports (vituperously) reports, “she was not ashamed to say…she went with the Marquis of her own accord.”
|Kerak in Transjordan, where Isabella was Imprisoned for Three Years|
Note, at the time the wedding took place, Isabella was not only a prisoner of her in-laws, she was only eleven years old. Canonical law in the 12th century, however, established the “age of consent” for girls at 12. Isabella could not legally consent to her wedding, even if she wanted to. The marriage had been planned by the King, however, and carried out by one of the most powerful barons during a crisis. No one seems to have dared challenge it at the time.
|The Barons of Jerusalem were Still in Force to be Reckoned with in 1190.|
|Isabella of Jerusalem, like her contemporary Eleanor of Aquitaine depcited here, was an intelligent and politically savvy woman.|