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Blanche of Castile
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    (March 4, 1188-November 26, 1252)
    Born in Spain
    Born in Castile (now part of present-day Spain)
    Queen consort of France (1200-1226)
    Queen Mother of France (1226-1252)
    Mother of St. Louis IX
    Granddaughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine
    She was born Blanca, but it was changed to Blanche to sound more French.
    Her grandmother visited Castile to select a bride for the king of France. When choosing between Blanche and her sister, Urraca, Eleanor went with Blanche because Urraca's name sounded too weird.
    She had twelve children.
    She didn't get along with Margaret, King Louis IX's wife.
    She didn't like her son to be with Margaret 'except to lie with her.'
    She married in her early teens.
    She outlived all but four of her children.
    When her husband, the king of France, died, she became regent for her son, King Louis IX.
    She beat back a rebellion of barons, who were backed by the king of England.
    She also put down other revolts in the kingdom during her son's minority.
    She kept France's territories intact.
    She used her money to establish dowries for poor girls.
    She stepped up to rule France again while her son was on crusade.
    She advised against King Louis going on crusade and was proven right--the crusade was a disaster.
    Her son, King Louis IX, and her daughter, Isabelle, were both canonized as saints.

Credit: Truffle

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