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MARGUERITE of Provence
French Marguerite De Provence; eldest daughter of Raymond Berengar IV, count of Provence, whose marriage to King Louis IX of France on May 27, 1234, extended French authority beyond the Rhône.
Although Blanche of Castile, Louis IX's mother, had arranged the marriage, she was jealous of her daughter-in-law, whom she supervised strictly; Jean, Sire de Joinville, chronicler of Louis's reign, tells several stories of Blanche separating the royal couple, and Louis himself sometimes behaving brusquely toward Margaret.
Margaret accompanied Louis to Egypt on the crusade of 1248 and showed great courage at Damietta, reinspiring the crusaders after a defeat at al-Mansurah (February 1250), where Louis was captured by the Muslims. Blanche died in 1252; and Margaret, after returning to France, tried occasionally to meddle in politics. Though she was usually checked by the King's intransigence, she may have done something to improve relations between Louis and Henry III of England, who in 1236 had married her sister Eleanor. On the other hand, she resented the fact that her father (died 1245), by his will of 1238, left Provence to her youngest sister, Beatrice, who in 1246 was married to Charles of Anjou, a brother of Louis IX. After Louis IX's death (1270) Margaret did all she could to thwart Charles's ambitions.
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