How History's ‘Knightfall’ Portrays Isabella Becoming the "She-Wolf of France"

As all good history buffs already know, Isabella of France was a woman before her time. Born in the 13th century, she was expected to marry who her father told her to without any hesitation. She would go on to carve out her own destiny in England and be hated for it by many. She helped depose her husband, Edward II, and dared to take a lover during a time when women weren’t supposed to do anything for themselves.

History’s Knightfall explores the final days of theKnights Templar, in which Isabella’s (Sabrina Bartlett) father, Philip IV ofFrance (Ed Stoppard), would take them head on. It also pushes Isabella into thespotlight of history as the world’s most eligible princess.

Season 1 of ‘Knightfall’ shows Isabella being betrayed

The first major betrayal to the princess comes from her confidant,William De Nogaret (Julian Ovenden). This betrayal hits a little too close tohome for Isabella, and shows her slowly unraveling from it all. She allowsPrince Lluis of Catalonia (Marcos Franz) intoher chambers before they are married, which of course comes to light. It turnsout it was in fact De Nogaret who told her secret, and Isabella gets her firsttaste of ashes in her mouth.

She next learns that his betrayal goes even farther, as hehas secret passageways throughout the castle, including around her rooms. He sawher in her room with the Prince, and has been watching her for years. Needlessto say, Isabella doesn’t take this lying down. She is disgusted that she ever calledhim a friend, and she handles the situation the best way she knows how.

Season 2 transforms Isabella completely

Isabella is being forced to marry Prince Edward of Englandin season2, and her father wants nothing to stand in the way of her destiny. He hasno idea how much his actions have affected Isabella, which becomes apparent inseason 2. She is played by Genevieve Gaunt in the next season, and tells herfather she would rather stay with him a little while longer instead oftraveling to England.

“I haven’t seen you pray since Mother’s death,” PrincessIsabella says. “Perhaps I should stay in Paris until all of this isover.”

“No, you are to marry Prince Edward. We cannot affordto make England our enemy,” says Philip. He gives his daughter some advicethat will always stay with her and help her transform into the She-Wolf of France,her nickname during her rule in England.

“Promise me something,” her father says. “Youare to be queen of England. You must always be the wolf, never the sheep, andyou must never listen to the fools that surround you. This world only respondsto the closed fist, not the open hand. Never forget that.”

“I’ll never forget any of your lessons, Father,” replieshis daughter. “I will heed your instruction, and rule as if you were rightthere beside me.” This is a pivotal moment in the show, and seals her fateas the Queen of England.

The She-Wolf of France

Isabella would be known as one of the most notorious womenin English history. She helped lead an invasion on England that would result inthe deposition of her husband, Edward II in 1327.This marked the first ever abdication of a king in the country. She took alover and helped put her son on the throne, Edward III.

Isabella’s husband was known for lavishing many men withaffections and was ineffective at ruling. This and a combination of otherfactors led to Edward II’s downfall, imprisonment, and subsequent death. Isabellais known to history as the She-Wolf of France for her actions. A woman with herown thoughts and feelings in what was a man’s world at the time. Knightfalldoes an excellent job of weaving her thread into the overall story. The firsttwo seasons of Knightfall are out on Netflix.

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