|Marie of France|
Seal of Marie of France
|Countess consort of Champagne|
|Tenure||1164 – 17 March 1181|
Kingdom of France
|Died||March 11, 1198 (aged 52-53)|
County of Champagne
|Spouse||Henry I, Count of Champagne|
|Issue|| Henry II, Count of Champagne |
Marie, Latin Empress
Theobald III, Count of Champagne
Scholastique, Countess of Mâcon
|Father||Louis VII of France|
|Mother||Eleanor of Aquitaine|
Marie of France (1145 – March 11, 1198) was a French princess and Countess consort of Champagne. She was regent of the county of Champagne in 1179–1181, and in 1190–1197.
She was the elder daughter of King Louis VII of France and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Marie's birth was hailed as a "miracle" by Bernard of Clairvaux, an answer to his prayer to bless the marriage between her mother Eleanor of Aquitaine and her father, Louis VII.She was just two years old when her parents led the Second Crusade to the Holy Land. Not long after their return in 1152, when Marie was seven, her parents' marriage was annulled. Custody of Marie and her younger sister, Alix, was awarded to their father, since they were at that time the only heirs to the French throne. Both Louis and Eleanor remarried quickly; Eleanor married King Henry II and became Queen of England. Louis remarried first Constance of Castile (d. 1160) and then Adele of Champagne on 13 November 1160. Marie had numerous half-siblings on both her mother's and father's side, including the eventual kings Philip II of France and John and Richard I of England.
In 1153, well before Louis married Adele of Champagne, he betrothed Marie and Alix to Adele's brothers.These alliances were arranged based on the intervention of Bernard of Clairvaux, as reported in the contemporary chronicle of Radulfus Niger. After her betrothal, Marie was sent to live with the Viscountess Elizabeth of Mareuil-sy-Aÿ and then to the abbey of Avenay in Champagne for her Latin-based education. In 1159, Marie married Henry I, Count of Champagne. :p. 522.
Marie became regent for Champagne when her husband Henry I went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land from 1179 until 1181. While her husband was away, Marie's father died and her half-brother, Philip Augustus, became king of France. He confiscated his mother's dower lands and married Isabelle of Hainaut, who was previously betrothed to Marie's eldest son. This prompted Marie to join a party of disgruntled nobles—including the queen mother Adela of Champagne and the archbishop of Reims—in plotting unsuccessfully against Philip. Eventually, relations between Marie and her royal brother improved.Her husband died soon after his return from the Holy Land in 1181, leaving her again as regent for her young son Henry.
Now a widow with four young children, Marie considered marrying Philip of Flanders in 1184,but the engagement was broken off suddenly for unknown reasons. In 1187, after Saladin won a significant victory over the West and recaptured Jerusalem, Marie served again as regent for Champagne as her son Henry II joined the Third Crusade, from 1190 to 1197. He remained in the Levant, marrying Isabelle of Jerusalem in 1192. Over the course of her regencies, Champagne was transformed from a patchwork of territories into a significant principality.
Marie was able to retire only briefly to the nunnery of Châuteau de Fontaines-les-Nonnes near Meaux (1187-1190), before being called back to govern Champagne. She died March 11, 1198 not long after hearing the tragic news of her son's death.She was buried in Meaux Cathedral.
On 25 June 1562, rioting Huguenots devastated many edifices, including the Cathedral of Maux; it was on this occasion that the tomb of Marie de Champagne, located in the choir, was destroyed.
As great-granddaughter of the first troubadour, Guillaume IX, it is not surprising that Marie would be an avid supporter of the arts.Marie was a patron of literature and her court became a sphere of influence on authors and poets such as Andreas Capellanus, who served in her court and referred to her several times in his writing, Chrétien de Troyes, who credits her with the idea for his Lancelot: The Knight of the Cart, the troubadours Bertran de Born and Bernart de Ventadorn, Gautier d'Arras and Conon de Bétune.
She is credited with the widely held belief of fin'amors or Courtly Love, that love cannot exist within the bounds of marriage.
She was literate in French and Latin, and maintained her own library.A deep affection existed between Marie and her half-brother King Richard, and a stanza from his celebrated poem J'a nuns hons pris, lamenting his captivity in Austria, was addressed to her.
Marie's life is fictionalized in Eleanor’s Daughter: A Novel of Marie de Champagne (2018), a written by medieval scholar June Hall McCash.The novel is based on multiple contemporary sources including charters, chronicles, medieval poetry, and material artifacts of the period, including Marie’s personal seal, depicted on the cover— and enlivened by famous historical figures including Eleanor of Acquitaine, Bernard of Clairvaux, Philip of Flanders, Richard the Lionheart, and Thomas Becket as well as literary stars such as Chrétien de Troyes, Jauffre Rudel and Andreas Capellanus. The novel has received many positive reviews including from the Historical Novel Society.
Marie had four children with her husband Henri I of Champagne:
Eleanor of Aquitaine was queen consort of France (1137–1152) and England (1154–1189) and duchess of Aquitaine in her own right (1137–1204). As the heir of the House of Poitiers, rulers in southwestern France, she was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages. She was patron of literary figures such as Wace, Benoît de Sainte-Maure, and Bernart de Ventadorn. She led armies several times in her life and was a leader of the Second Crusade.
Louis VII, called the Younger or the Young, was King of the Franks from 1137 to 1180. He was the son and successor of King Louis VI, hence his nickname, and married Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe. The marriage temporarily extended the Capetian lands to the Pyrenees, but was annulled in 1152 after no male heir was produced.
Baldwin I was the first emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople; Count of Flanders from 1194-1205 and Count of Hainaut from 1195-1205. Baldwin was one of the most prominent leaders of the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the sack of Constantinople in 1204, the conquest of large parts of the Byzantine Empire, and the foundation of the Latin Empire. He lost his final battle to Kaloyan, the emperor of Bulgaria, and spent his last days as his prisoner.
Henry II of Champagne was count of Champagne from 1181 to 1197, and king of Jerusalem from 1192 to 1197 by virtue of his marriage to Queen Isabella I of Jerusalem.
Marie of Champagne was the first Latin Empress of Constantinople by marriage to Emperor Baldwin I. She acted as regent of Flanders during the absence of her spouse from 1202 until 1204.
The Count of Champagne was the ruler of the County of Champagne from 950 to 1316. Champagne evolved from the county of Troyes in the late eleventh century and Hugh I was the first to officially use the title "Count of Champagne".
Henry I, known as the Liberal, was count of Champagne from 1152 to 1181. He was the eldest son of Count Thibaut II of Champagne and his wife, Matilda of Carinthia.
Theobald III of Champagne was Count of Champagne from 1197 to his death. He was the younger son of Henry I, Count of Champagne and Marie, a daughter of Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He succeeded as Count of Champagne in 1197 upon the death of his older brother Henry II.
Margaret I was the countess of Flanders suo jure from 1191 to her death.
Hugh was the Count of Champagne from 1093 until his death.
Alix of France was countess consort of Blois by marriage to Theobald V, Count of Blois. She was regent of Blois during the absence of her spouse in 1190-1191, and regent during the minority of Louis I, Count of Blois from 1191 until 1197.
Blanche of Navarre (?–1229) was countess and then regent of Champagne and finally also regent of her native kingdom of Navarre.
Andreas Capellanus was the twelfth century author of a treatise commonly titled De amore, also known as De arte honeste amandi, for which a possible English translation is The Art of Courtly Love. His real identity has never been determined, but has been a matter of extended academic debate. Andreas Capellanus is sometimes known by a French translation of his name, André le Chapelain.
Theobald I was the count of Bar from 1190 until his death, and a count of Luxemburg from 1197 until his death. He was the son of Reginald II of Bar and his wife Agnès de Champagne. He became count when his brother, Henry, was killed in the Siege of Acre.
Margaret of Bourbon was Queen of Navarre and Countess of Champagne from 1232 until 1253 as the third wife of Theobald I of Navarre. After her husband's death, she ruled both the kingdom and the county as regent for three years in the name of their son, Theobald II of Navarre.
Agnes of Beaujeu was a French noblewoman, the daughter of Guichard IV of Beaujeu and his wife Sybil of Hainaut. Agnes was Countess of Champagne by her marriage to Theobald I of Navarre.
Guy II of Dampierre was constable of Champagne, and Lord of Dampierre, Bourbon and Montluçon. He was the only son of William I of Dampierre, Lord of Dampierre, and Ermengarde of Mouchy. William I of Dampierre was the son of Guy I, Lord of Dampierre and Viscount of Troyes, and Helvide de Baudémont.
Robert of Milly was the chamberlain (camerarius) of the County of Champagne from 1167 until his retirement in 1222. He was a Knight Templar and a patron of the order.
The Collégiale Saint-Étienne was a church founded in Troyes, France, in 1157 by Henry I, Count of Champagne. He intended that it would become a mausoleum in which the grandeur of the House of Blois would be displayed, but that did not happen. The church was demolished during the French Revolution.
Renard I, also spelled Reynald, Raynald, Rainard or Renaud, was the lord or count of Dampierre-le-Château in the Astenois and a vassal of the count of Champagne. He succeeded his father Henry sometime between 1161 and 1163.