Isabel of Gloucester, Countess of Gloucester. She was also known by an extraordinary number of alternative names including Hadwisa, Joan, Eleanor and Avisa, as well as variations on those names.
Isabella was the youngest of three daughters of William FitzRobert, the 2nd Earl of Gloucester, and his wife, Hawise. She was the granddaughter of Sir Robert de Caen, the illegitimate son of King Henry I, and Mabel FitzRobert. Her older brother was Robert FitzWilliam who died at age fifteen, she was born about 1173.
Isabella married three times; the King of England, John Lackland, Geoffrey FitzGeoffrey de Mandeville, the 2nd Earl of Essex and as his third wife, Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent and Justiciar of England.
Isabella's father died when she was about ten years old, and she became Countess in her own right. King Henry II betrothed Isabella to his son, John Lackland on the 28th of September 1176. They were half second cousins, both being great grandchildren of King Henry I, but within the degrees of allowance for consanguinity. The marriage contract stipulated that if the Pope did not issue a dispensation for the marriage, Henry would provide the best possible husband for Isabella. At the same time, Henry disinherited her two older sisters who had already married prominent Earls, making Isabella the sole heir to Gloucester.
John Lackland and Isabella were married at Marlborough Castle in Wiltshire on the 29th of August, 1189. John immediately became the Earl of Gloucester in right of his wife. Then the Archbishop of Canterbury, Baldwin, declared their marriage void by reason of consanguinity, and placed the earldom in suspension, which was lifted by Pope Clement III, granting a dispensation for the marriage but forbidding any bedroom activities, and thusly, no issue. In 1199, John became King of England in April, crowned in May, and had the marriage annulled by August. The King kept Isabella's lands, giving them to Isabella's nephew, Amaury de Montfort, Count of Evereaux, son of her oldest sister, Mabel. Amaury, the 4th Earl of Gloucester, however, died in 1213 without issue and Isabella's rightful lands and Earldom were returned to her.
Isabella would marry Geoffrey FitzGeoffrey de Mandeville, 2nd Earl of Essex before 1216, when he died. A year later, she married Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent and son of Walter de Burgh, as his third of four wives, in September of 1217.
Isabella died a month after her marriage at the approximate age of fourty-four, most likely at Keynsham Abbey, founded by her father around 1170 at the request of her dying brother. Robert FitzWilliam. Isabella's nephew, the son of her sister, Amice, Gilbert de Clare, the son of Richard de Clare, became the 5th Earl of Gloucester.