Blanche of Castile has been the focus of much attention ever since she travelled north across the Pyrenees from her homeland in 1200, a young girl bound for the court of the French king and a royal marriage alliance. A granddaughter of the redoubtable Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England, and mother of the saintly Louis IX and Isabelle, she was a notable patron of the arts who put her stamp on the culture of the Capetian court. She was twice regent of France, for some 8 years between 1226 and 1234, when her son reached his majority, and again from 1248 to 1252 when he was away on Crusade. By birth, marriage and motherhood, Blanche was connected to some...

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