Blanche of Castile
Queen of France
1187 – 1252 A.D.
Blanche of Castile, Queen of France. She was the daughter of Alfonso IX, King of Castile, and became the wife of Louis VIII, of France. She was the inspiring genius of that king, and on his death assumed the regency during the minority of their son Louis IX.
When in 1236 she resigned her power, the kingdom was in a flourishing condition, and had received many important territorial accessions. The young king retained her near him as his best adviser, and when she died she was universally mourned, and has always been regarded as one of the ablest rulers of France during troublous times.
St. Louis of France, through the ingenuity of his mother, Queen Blanche of Castile, wore the first wig that ever graced the head of man or woman. The story goes that when King Louis returned from a crusade to the Holy Land his mother was shocked at seeing that the hardships of the journey, together with the hot climate of Palestine, had robbed her son of all of his hair. But, besides being a most devoted mother, Queen Blanche was an ingenious woman, who soon found a way out of her difficulty. Each knight at court, the color of whose hair had even the slightest resemblance to her son’s, was bereft of one lock, which, deftly joined, became an ornamental covering for her son’s bald head. Thus, though women have been denied the power of invention, even at the dawn of the Middle Ages, a woman founded an industry that became very important in later centuries, and survives to this day.
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.