Humphrey was himself firmly under the control of his widowed mother and her new and already notorious husband: Reynald de Châtillon (See Rogue Baron). Thus, Isabella was taken from the only family she had ever known -- over the furious objections of her mother and step-father -- to live as a virtual prisoner in one of the most exposed and bleak castles of the kingdom on the very edge of Sinai: Kerak. She was, furthermore, in the hands of the brutal and godless Reynald de Châtillon. To add insult to injury, his lady prohibited the child from visiting her parents for the next three years. In this phase of her life, Isabella was indeed nothing but a pawn.
|Interior of Kerak|
|Sibylla and Guy from the Hollywood Film "The Kingdom of Heaven"|
But just because the historical record is silent, we should not assume that she simply didn’t care. The historical record that we have is scanty and written almost exclusively by male clerics, who rarely considered the opinions or actions of women important. The fact that they took no interest in Isabella’s feelings should not induce us to do the same. We know that Isabella, like most of the barons except Tripoli and her step-uncle of Ramla and Mirabel, accepted the fait accompli, but most of the barons (and presumably bishops) nevertheless deeply resented what Sibylla and Guy (on one hand) and Humphrey (on the other) had done. Isabella may have been in an identical situation: she had to accept what Humphrey had done and make her peace with Sibylla and Guy, but she may also have resented it, possibly intensely. It might even have created marital tensions.
Humphrey and Isabella were reunited in early 1189 after roughly 18 months of separation. Where Isabella had been between the catastrophe of Hattin and her reunion with Humphrey is unrecorded. Most likely, she was with her mother and step-father, because her stepfather had managed to escape the trap at Hattin. With King Guy and most of the High Court in captivity, Ibelin was unquestionably one of the most important men in the entire kingdom (Arab chronicles from the period refer to him as “like a king.”) Furthermore, he commanded the respect of those fighting men who had, with him, escaped capture. It would, therefore, have been logical for Isabella to seek his protection in this period.
Defender of Jerusalem