|Bertha of Holland|
|Queen consort of the Franks|
|Died||15 October 1094|
Montreuil, Pas-de-Calais, France
|Spouse||Philip I of France|
|Issue|| Constance of France, Princess of Antioch |
Louis VI of France
|Father||Floris I, Count of Holland|
|Mother||Gertrude of Saxony|
Bertha of Holland (c. 1055 – 15 October 1094), also known as Berthe or Bertha of Frisia and erroneously as Berta or Bertrada, was queen of France from 1072 until 1092, as the first wife of King Philip I of France. Bertha's marriage to the king in 1072 was a result of peace negotiations between him and her stepfather, Count Robert I of Flanders. After nine years of childlessness, the royal couple had three children, including Philip's successor, Louis VI. Philip, however, grew tired of his wife by 1090, and repudiated her in 1092 in order to marry the already married Bertrade of Montfort. That marriage was a scandal since both Philip and Bertrade were already married to other people, at least until Queen Bertha died the next year.
Bertha was the daughter of Count Floris I of Holland and Gertrude of Saxony.Bertha had six siblings and both of her parents came from large families. Her father ruled a territory vaguely described as "Friesland west of the Vlie", which is where Bertha spent her childhood. Count Floris I was assassinated in 1061, and two years later her mother remarried to Robert of Flanders. Robert, now known as Robert the Frisian, became guardian of Bertha and her six siblings. In 1070, Robert the Frisian became involved in a war with King Philip I of France over succession to the County of Flanders. Within two years, Robert and Philip concluded a peace treaty which was to be sealed by a marriage; Robert's own daughters were too young, but their half-sister Bertha was just the right age. Robert thus agreed to the marriage of his stepdaughter to King Philip. Bertha married Philip, thus becoming queen of the Franks, probably in 1072.
Bertha was, at the time, the lowest ranking woman to marry a French king; no suitable princess could be found, since they were all too closely related to Philip for the marriage to any of them to be seen as perfectly valid by the Church. Bertha had no kings among her traceable ancestors and lacked even tenuous links with the Carolingian that her predecessors could claim. Consequently, contemporary chroniclers did not even try to present her lineage as more exalted than that of a count's daughter. Nevertheless, the shortage of royal candidates made Bertha a suitable choice.The regal title she gained by this marriage was prestigious, but had little meaning, as she was confined to her husband's small royal domain that covered little more than areas around Paris and Orléans.
Little is known about Bertha's queenship. She co-signed only three donation charters. However, she plays a prominent role in the hagiography titled Vita Arnulfi. The hagiography describes how she used her regal power (vi regia) to expel Abbot Gerard of Saint-Médard and reinstate the former abbot, Pontius, who had been removed due to his mismanagement of the abbey. Saint Arnulf of Soissons warned her that doing so would incur the wrath of God and lead to her being driven out of the kingdom into exile, where she would die despised and miserable. The queen furiously refused to listen to him. Although all the extant versions of Vita Arnulfi refer to the queen as Bertrada, it is clear that the queen mentioned in the hagiography is Bertha of Holland, given that the events mentioned in it took place while Bertha was queen and more than a decade before she was replaced as such by Bertrada. The hagiography, however, was written after Bertha died and during Bertrada's queenship, which might explain the name confusion.
For six years, King Philip and Queen Bertha were troubled by their childlessness and especially by the lack of male children,which was not unusual among the early male members of the House of Capet. Things suddenly took a different course, however, when the Queen had three children in quick succession: a daughter named Constance in 1078 and two sons, the long-hoped heir named Louis in 1081 and Henry, born in 1083 and who died in infancy. The birth of the long-awaited heir apparent had such a great impact that a story of a miracle developed around it. Reportedly, the couple's fertility was only restored thanks to the prayers of a hermit, Saint Arnulf of Soissons. Arnulf informed Queen Bertha that she was expecting a son and that it would be appropriate to give him the Carolingian name of Louis. A daughter named Constance soon followed. Bertha gave birth to one more son, named Henry, but he appears to have died in infancy or childhood.
After the birth of three children, the marriage began breaking apart. The King became tired of his wife but the reasons are unclear. Contemporary chroniclers give different explanations. According to the English historian William of Malmesbury, Philip complained that Bertha was "too fat", though he was himself becoming too obese to ride a horse.In 1092, Philip announced his decision to divorce "the noble and virtuous daughter of Florent count of Holland and stepdaughter of Robert the Frisian" and marry the already married Bertrada of Montfort, the wife of Count Fulk IV of Anjou. The repudiated queen withdrew to the fortress of Montreuil-sur-Mer, which was part of her dower land. By doing so, Philip infuriated his stepfather-in-law. Bertha died soon thereafter, on 15 October 1094 This simplified matters for Philip who was now free to remarry – though not the Countess of Anjou, whose husband Fulk was still living.
In 1108, Philip died. The son of the queen who had been repudiated ostensibly for her obesity ascended the French throne as Louis VI. Both he and her fraternal nephew, Count Floris II of Holland, were nicknamed "the Fat".
Together, Philip and Bertha had three children:
Louis VI, called the Fat or the Fighter, was King of France from 1108 to 1137.
Philip I, called the Amorous, was King of the Franks from 1060 to 1108. His reign, like that of most of the early Capetians, was extraordinarily long for the time. The monarchy began a modest recovery from the low it reached in the reign of his father and he added to the royal demesne the Vexin and Bourges.
Robert II, called the Pious or the Wise, was King of the Franks from 996 to 1031, the second from the House of Capet. He was born in Orléans to Hugh Capet and Adelaide of Aquitaine. Robert distinguished himself with an extraordinarily long reign for the time. His 35-year-long reign was marked by his attempts to expand the royal domain by any means, especially by his long struggle to gain the Duchy of Burgundy. His policies earned him many enemies, including three of his sons. He was also known for his difficult marriages: he married three times, annulling two of these and attempting to annul the third, prevented only by the Pope's refusal to accept a third annulment.
The counts of Holland ruled over the County of Holland in the Low Countries between the 10th and the 16th century.
The count of Flanders was the ruler or sub-ruler of the county of Flanders, beginning in the 9th century. The title was held for a time by the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain. During the French Revolution in 1790, the county of Flanders was annexed to France and ceased to exist. In the 19th century, the title was appropriated by Belgium and granted twice to younger sons of Belgian kings. The most recent holder died in 1983.
Robert I, known as Robert the Frisian, was count of Flanders from 1071 to his death in 1093. He usurped the countship after defeating his nephew Arnulf III and his allies, Robert's sister Matilda and King Philip I of France. He made peace with Philip, who became his stepson-in-law, but remained hostile to his sister and brother-in-law, King William the Conqueror of England.
Isabella of Hainault was a Queen of France as the first wife of King Philip II. She was also formally a ruling countess of Artois de jure between 1180 and 1190.
The County of Holland was a State of the Holy Roman Empire and from 1432 part of the Burgundian Netherlands, from 1482 part of the Habsburg Netherlands and from 1581 onward the leading province of the Dutch Republic, of which it remained a part until the Batavian Revolution in 1795. The territory of the County of Holland corresponds roughly with the current provinces of North Holland and South Holland in the Netherlands.
Constance of Arles, also known as Constance of Provence, was queen of France as the third spouse of King Robert II of France.
Bertrade de Montfort was a queen consort of France by her marriage to Philip I of France.
Dirk III was Count of Holland from 993 to 27 May 1039, until 1005 under regency of his mother. It is thought that Dirk III went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land around 1030, hence his nickname of Hierosolymita.
Richilde, Countess of Mons and Hainaut, was a ruling countess of Hainaut from c. 1050 until 1076, in co-regency with her husband Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders and son Baldwin II, Count of Hainaut. She was also countess consort of Flanders by marriage to Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders. She served as regent of Flanders during the minority of her son Arnulf III, Count of Flanders in 1070-1071.
Gertrude of Saxony, also known as Gertrude Billung, was a countess of Holland by marriage to Floris I, Count of Holland, and countess of Flanders by marriage to Robert I, Count of Flanders. She was regent of Holland in 1061-1067 during the minority of her son Dirk V, and regent of Flanders during the absence of her spouse in 1086-1093.
Adela of France, known also as Adela the Holy or Adela of Messines;, was, by marriage, the Duchess of Normandy, Countess of Flanders (1035–1067).
Bertha of Burgundy was queen of the Franks as the second wife of King Robert II.
Rozala of Italy was, by her successive marriages, countess of Flanders and queen of the Franks. She was regent of Flanders in 987-988 during the minority of her son.
Adela of Flanders, was Queen consort of Denmark by marriage to King Canute IV and duchess of Apulia by marriage to Duke Roger Borsa, and then regent of Apulia from 1111 to 1115 as mother and guardian of Duke William II.
Constance of France was the daughter of King Philip I of France and Bertha of Holland. She was a member of the House of Capet and was Countess of Troyes from her first marriage and Princess of Antioch from her second marriage. She was regent during the minority of her son.
The Battle of Cassel was fought on 22 February 1071 between Robert I of Flanders and his nephew, Arnulf III. The battle was a victory for Robert, and Arnulf was killed in the battle.
Lucienne de Rochefort was the first wife of Louis VI of France. She was married to him before he became king, from 1104 to 1107.
Anne of Kiev
| Queen consort of the Franks |
Bertrade de Montfort