Isabelle Sophie de Anjou
Queen of Portugal
Queen of Portugal
Predecessor Anne Amelia of England
Spouse Duarte II of Portugal
Philippa Francesca of Portugal

Duarte, Prince of Portugal
Sebastian III
Luis, Duke of Beja
Anna Caterina of Portugal
Maria Clara Sophia of Portugal
Manuela Isabel of Portugal
Manuel of Portugal

House House of Valois-Anjou (by birth)

House of Aviz (by marriage)

Father Francis, Duke of Anjou
Mother Philippa Rose of England
Born 24 July 1578
Normandy, France
Died 12 February 1637 (aged 58)
Sintra, Portugal
Religion Calvinist

Isabelle Sophie de Anjou (24 July 1578 - 12 February 1637) was the youngest child and only daughter of Francis, Duke of Anjou and Philippa Rose of England. She had an older twin brother, Rene, Count of Perche as well as another brother, Francis, Duke of Berry

Early life

Isabelle Sophie de Anjou was born in Normandy, France on 24 July 1578. She was the only daughter of Philippa Rose of England and Francis, Duke of Anjou. Her maternal grandparents were Isabella of Cleves and Edward VI. Her paternal grandparents were Henry II of France and Catherine de Medici. Her parents were at war on Huguenot side in the French Wars of Religion at the time of her birth. She had an older twin brother, Rene, as well as another older brother, Francis. When she was a baby, her mother and brothers were murdered by her powerful paternal grandmother while her father was away fighting. Isabelle was left unscathed and her aunt, Queen Jane of Navarre took her back to Navarre to raise until her maternal grandmother was notified of the horrendous act. Queen Isabella promptly arrived in France, although pregnant, and took Isabelle Sophie to the Chateau de Blois where Catherine de Medici was staying at demanded to know why Catherine had killed the Duchess of Anjou and her young sons. The moment of tension and Queen Isabella's plea for sympathy and peace was famed, but the War of Religion lasted until 1587. In 1587, her aunt Queen Jane and her husband Henry III of Navarre became King and Queen of France and one their first acts was to recognize Isabelle Sophie, now nine years old, as Duchess of Anjou in her own right. Mademoiselle Anjou was well beloved at court and was noted for her striking resemblance to her mother. However, she was also a problem for her aunt and uncle's reign. There were some that were discontent with the Bourbons' rise to power and wanted to restore the Valois dynasty by abolishing Salic law in France, which would put Isabelle as first in line for the throne. Henry wanted to send her to England where she would be less of a threat but Jane flatly refused. Instead, she suggested that she be betrothed to their son Gaston. In 1590, Isabelle Sophie was formally betrothed to her cousin, aged twelve, while Gaston was seven. The Queen Dowager of Portugal had another offer, to betroth her to Duarte II, the young King of Portugal. Jane was offended that her own daughter Blanche Marie had not been picked but the King of France felt none of his daughters would make a good Queen of Portugal: Madeleine would be inheriting Navarre, Charlotte was too vain and Blanche was too frivolous and betrothed Isabelle Sophie to Duarte.


Isabelle Sophie was married by proxy on 17 June 1593, at the Chateau de Fontainebleu, with her cousin Gaston standing in for Duarte. She departed from France on 2 August and arrived in Lisbon on 31 October. She finally married Duarte in person on 3 November and became Queen Consort of Portugal. Her mother-in-law was also her aunt, Anne Amelia, an older sister of her mother Philippa Rose and she received a warm welcome from her. Duarte was also sincere, despite having a long term mistress, Maria Perez, before she arrived. Maria was unperturbed and continued to parade her status around court. Duarte responded by dismissing her and Queen Isabella Sophia, as she was known in Portugal, appreciated the gesture but was not fooled. She always knew Duarte would take his pick of her ladies-in-waiting, who she would dismiss from her rentinue. She was thought of as fickle, as very few women remained in her service longer than a year as Duarte would appear to take their fancy. However, one mistress, Yolande Guzman, stayed with Duarte for three years and bore his illegitimate daughter, Maria, before being dismissed. Isabella Sophia removed the child from her mother and raised her as a servant to her daughter Anna Caterina.

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