Constance of Arles

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Constance of Arles
Robert2Franc Constance of Arles.jpg
14th-century depiction of Constance surrendering to her son Henry I of France.
Queen consort of the Franks
Tenure1001–1031
Bornc. 986
Arles, France
Died28 July 1032
Melun, France
Burial
Saint Denis Basilica, Paris, France
Spouse Robert II of France
Issue Hugh Magnus
Henry I, King of France
Adela, Countess of Flanders
Robert I, Duke of Burgundy
House Bosonids
Father William I, Count of Provence
Mother Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou

Constance of Arles (c. 986 – 28 July 1032), also known as Constance of Provence, was queen of France as the third spouse of King Robert II of France.

Provence Historical province in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône to the west to the Italian border to the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It largely corresponds with the modern administrative region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and includes the departments of Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, as well as parts of Alpes-Maritimes and Vaucluse. The largest city of the region is Marseille.

Robert II of France King of France

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.

Contents

Life

Born c.986 [1] Constance was the daughter of William I, count of Provence and Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou, daughter of Fulk II of Anjou. [2] She was the half-sister of Count William II of Provence. [2] Constance was married to King Robert, after his divorce from his second wife, Bertha of Burgundy. [3] The marriage was stormy; Bertha's family opposed her, and Constance was despised for importing her Provençal kinfolk and customs. Robert's friend, Hugh of Beauvais, count palatine, tried to convince the king to repudiate her in 1007. Possibly at her request 12 knights of her kinsman Fulk Nerra then murdered Beauvais in 1008. [4]

William I of Provence Count of Provence

William I, called the Liberator, was Count of Provence from 968 to his abdication. In 975 or 979, he took the title of marchio or margrave. He is often considered the founder of the county of Provence. He and his elder brother Rotbold I were sons of Boson II of Arles and his wife Constance, who, based on her name, has been speculated to be daughter of Charles Constantine of Vienne. They both carried the title of comes or count concurrently, but it is unknown if they were joint-counts of the whole of Provence or if the region was divided. His brother never bore any other title than count so long as William lived, so the latter seems to have attained a certain supremacy.

Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou Queen consort of Aquitaine (982-984)

Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou was the countess consort by marriage of Gévaudan and Forez, of Toulouse, of Provence, and of Burgundy; and queen consort of Aquitaine. She was the regent of Gevaudan during the minority of her sons in the 960s, and the regent of Provence during the minority of her stepson from 994 until 999.

Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the process of terminating a marriage or marital union. Divorce usually entails the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country or state. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries divorce requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process, which may involve issues of distribution of property, child custody, alimony, child visitation / access, parenting time, child support, and division of debt. In most countries, monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another person.

In 1010 Robert went to Rome, followed by his former wife Bertha, to seek permission to divorce Constance and remarry Bertha. Pope Sergius IV was not about to allow a consanguineous marriage which had been formally condemned by Pope Gregory V and Robert had already repudiated two wives. So the request was denied. After his return according to one source Robert "loved his wife more." [5]

Pope Sergius IV Pope from 1009 to 1012

Pope Sergius IV was Pope and the ruler of the Papal States from 31 July 1009 to his death in 1012. He was born in Rome as Pietro Martino Buccaporci, which translates as "Peter Martin Pig Snout". The date of his birth is unknown.

Consanguinity property of being from the same kinship as another person; quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person

Consanguinity is the property of being from the same kinship as another person. In that aspect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person.

Pope Gregory V Pope from 996 to 999

Pope Gregory V, born Bruno of Carinthia was Pope from 3 May 996 to his death in 999.

In 1022, a trial accused clergy members of heresy--Constance's previous confessor Stephen included, Robert had his wife Queen Constance stand at the door to prevent any mob violence. However, as the condemned clerics left the trial the queen "struck out the eye of Stephen... with the staff which she carried". This was seen as Constance venting her frustration at anyone subverting the prestige of the crown. [6]

Sceptre symbolic ornamental staff or wand held in the hand by a ruling monarch

A sceptre or scepter is a symbolic ornamental staff or wand held in the hand by a ruling monarch as an item of royal or imperial insignia. Figuratively, it means royal or imperial authority or sovereignty.

Tomb of Robert 'the Pious' and Constance of Arles at Saint-Denis Robert Konstancie.jpg
Tomb of Robert 'the Pious' and Constance of Arles at Saint-Denis

At Constance's urging, her eldest son Hugh Magnus was crowned co-king alongside his father in 1017. [7] But later Hugh demanded his parents share power with him, and rebelled against his father in 1025. Constance, however, on learning of her son's rebellion was furious with him, rebuking him at every turn. At some point Hugh was reconciled with his parents but shortly thereafter died, probably about age eighteen. The royal couple was devastated; there was concern for the queen’s mental health due to the violence of her grief. [8]

Robert and Constance quarrelled over which of their surviving sons should inherit the throne; Robert favored their second son Henry, while Constance favored their third son, Robert. [8] Despite his mother's protests and her support by several bishops, Henry was crowned in 1027. Constance, however, was not graceful when she didn't get her way. [9] The ailing Fulbert, bishop of Chartres told a colleague that he could attend the ceremony "if he traveled slowly to Reims—but he was too frightened of the queen to go at all". [9]

Henry I of France 11th-century King of France

Henry I was King of the Franks from 1031 to 1060, the third from the House of Capet. The royal demesne of France reached its smallest size during his reign, and for this reason he is often seen as emblematic of the weakness of the early Capetians. This is not entirely agreed upon, however, as other historians regard him as a strong but realistic king, who was forced to conduct a policy mindful of the limitations of the French monarchy.

Robert I, Duke of Burgundy Duke of Burgundy

Robert I of Burgundy, known as Robert the Old and "Tête-Hardi", was Duke of Burgundy from 1032 to his death. Robert was son of King Robert II of France and Constance of Arles. His brother was Henry I of France.

Constance encouraged her sons to rebel, and they began attacking and pillaging the towns and castles belonging to their father. Son Robert attacked Burgundy, the duchy he had been promised but had never received, and Henry seized Dreux. At last King Robert agreed to their demands and peace was made which lasted until the king's death.

King Robert died on 20 July 1031. [10] Soon afterwards Constance fell ill; she was at also at odds with both her surviving sons. Constance seized her dower lands and refused to surrender them. Henry fled to Normandy, where he received aid, weapons and soldiers from his brother Robert. He returned to besiege his mother at Poissy but Constance escaped to Pontoise. She only surrendered when Henry began the siege of Le Puiset and swore to slaughter all the inhabitants.

Constance died after passing out following a coughing fit on 28 July 1032 [2] and was buried beside her husband Robert at Saint-Denis Basilica. [11]

Children

Constance and Robert had six children:

  1. Advisa, Countess of Auxerre (c.1003–after 1063), married Count Renaud I of Nevers [12]
  2. Hugh Magnus, co-king (c.1007–17 September 1026) [2]
  3. Henri (17 May 1008 – 4 August 1060) [2]
  4. Adela, Countess of Contenance (1009 – 8 January 1079), married (1) Duke Richard III of Normandy (2) Count Baldwin V of Flanders
  5. Robert I, Duke of Burgundy (1011–21 March 1076) [13]
  6. Eudes (1013–1056) [2]

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References

  1. Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 11
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 187
  3. Constance Bouchard, Those of My Blood: Creating Noble Families in Medieval Francia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), p. 47
  4. Penelope Ann Adair, Constance of Arles: A study in Duty and Frustration', Capetian Women, ed. Kathleen Nolan (New York;, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 13
  5. Penelope Ann Adair, Constance of Arles: A study in Duty and Frustration', Capetian Women, ed. Kathleen Nolan (New York;, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 13-14
  6. Penelope Ann Adair, Constance of Arles: A study in Duty and Frustration', Capetian Women, ed. Kathleen Nolan (New York;, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 15
  7. Penelope Ann Adair, Constance of Arles: A study in Duty and Frustration', Capetian Women, ed. Kathleen Nolan (New York;, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 16
  8. 1 2 Penelope Ann Adair, Constance of Arles: A study in Duty and Frustration', Capetian Women, ed. Kathleen Nolan (New York;, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 18
  9. 1 2 Penelope Ann Adair, Constance of Arles: A study in Duty and Frustration', Capetian Women, ed. Kathleen Nolan (New York;, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 19
  10. Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band I (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1980), Tafel 57
  11. Georgia Sommers Wright, 'A Royal Tomb Program in the Reign of St. Louis', The Art Bulletin, Vol. 56, No. 2 (Jun., 1974), p. 225
  12. W. Scott Jessee, Robert the Burgundian and the Counts of Anjou: ca. 1025-1098 (Catholic University of America Press, 2000), p. viii
  13. Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 20

Additional resources

French royalty
Preceded by
Bertha of Burgundy
Queen consort of France
1001–1031
Succeeded by
Matilda of Frisia