[Eva Green as Sibylla of Jerusalem, Kingdom of Heaven, dir. Ridley Scott, 2005, source: evagreenweb.com]
Sibylla was the daughter of Almaric I of Jerusalem and Agnes of Courtenay. Her parents’ marriage was annulled not long after her father became king in 1163, supposedly due to consanguinity. Sybilla herself was sent away to be raised by her great-aunt, the abbess Ioveta of Bethany, younger sister of Queen Melisende of Jerusalem.
Sybilla soon became important as more than just the heir’s younger sister though. Her brother Baldwin IV had contracted leprosy and would not be able to produce children of his own. Sybilla and the question of who she might marry suddenly became a significant political question, since she and her husband would rule on her brother’s death. In 1176, two years after her brother took the throne, the sixteen-year-old princess married William of Montferrat, only for him to die nine months later, leaving her pregnant with a son, Baldwin.
[Marriage of Guy and Sibylla, 13th century, source: Wikimedia Commons]
Unfortunately, the young Baldwin V died only a year after his uncle, leaving Sybilla as Queen. Unfortunately for her, her husband Guy was extremely unpopular. She agreed to annul the marriage if she could choose whom she would marry next. In a personally clever but politically stupid move, she chose Guy himself.
Only a year later, disaster struck for the new Queen, as her kingdom fell to Saladin and his armies. Guy was captured, but released shortly thereafter when Saladin apparently decided he was a terrible leader would do him more good free and working for the Third Crusade, which had just arrived, than as his prisoner. Sybilla and Guy joined the Crusade as they marched on Tyre and then Acre. It was there that Sybilla died in an epidemic that swept the camp. Her half-sister Isabella took the throne next. Guy, however, refused to give up his crown for another two years.
*Which would have given him power over the Kingdom of Jerusalem without actually having to rule or defend the place.