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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Blanche of Castile

b. 1188, Palencia, Spain; d. 1252, Paris

Blanche was the granddaughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and sister of Berenguela. She was brought to France in the year 1200 as part of a political alliance and married to Louis VIII, who would become king of France in 1223. As queen, Blanche was a skilled political and military organizer, in one case coordinating fleets for her husband’s invasion of England. After Louis’ death in 1226, she served as regent in her son’s name and remained politically active, particularly in the campaign to unify France. She presided over a period of monumental cathedral construction throughout the country.