Constance Capet (2) – (1078 – 1126)
Princess of France and regent
Princess Constance was the only surviving daughter of Philip I, King of France (1060 – 1108) and his first wife Bertha of Holland, the daughter of Floris I, Count of Holland. Constance was the elder sister of King Louis VI the Fat (1108 – 1137) and was aunt to Louis VII (1137 – 1180). King Philip arranged for Constance to be married (1095) to her cousin Count Hugh I of Champagne (c1066 – 1126), as his first wife. The marriage remained childless and ended in divorce a decade afterwards (1104) when Constance returned to the French court. Her hand was sought in marriage by Bohemond I of Taranto (1054 – 1101), Prince of Antioch, the eldest son of Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia in Sicily. Bohemond had succeeded in establishing his suzerainty in the principality Antioch, and in order to enhance his political position and to retain the support of the French he married Constance, a royal princess of impeccable lineage and a descendant of the Emperor Charlemagne.
The marriage of the famous crusader hero with a princess of their own was extrememly popular in France and the wedding took place at Chartres (1106), the court of Countess Adela of Blois daughter of William the Conqueror, whose husband Count Stephen of Blois had died fighting the Saracens with Bohemond. Constance bore Bohemond two sons, Bohemond II (1107 – 1130) and John of Antioch (Jean) (1108 – 1120) who died as a child. With Bohemond’s death at Canossa (1111) Constance became princess regent for their son Boehmond, then an infant of four years. Having no former experience in politics or government, and bneing resented by both the Italians and the Normans, the period of her rule was one of political unrest which she could do little to alleviate. These troubles came to a head in Bari (1117) where civil war broke out. This resulted in the murder of the Archbishop of Bari and the deposition of Princess Constance from the regency. She was then placed in confinement where she remained until Count Roger II of Sicily finally subjugated the southern Italy, when she was released (1122) and restored, not as regent, but with full rank as Princess Dowager. Princess Constance died (Sept 14, 1126) aged forty-eight.
Caux, Alberada de – (c961 – c1008)
Norman feudal heiress
Alberada was the daughter of an unidentified lord or bailli of Caux in Normandy, and became the wife of Count Raoul the Long of Ivry (c935 – 1011) who was the illegitimate son of Richard I the Fearless, Duke of Normandy (942 – 996). Raoul received the county of Ivry (1006) from his nephew Duke Richard II (996 – 1026). Alberarda ordered and oversaw the construction of the chateau of Ivry, and then had the architect Lanfrid killed so that he could not construct another of similar design for other nobles. Alberada later turned against her husband who besieged her at Ivry with his troops. The castle was eventually stormed and Raoul had Alberada put to death. She was the mother of Hugh d’Ivry, Bishop of Bayeux who also inherited Ivry. His successor Hugh II d’Ivry was a grandson of Alberada and Raoul though the direct line of descent remains obscure.
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Clemence of Hungary (Clementia) – (1293 – 1328)
Queen consort of France (1315 – 1316)
Princess Clementia was born (Feb, 1293) the daughter of Charles I Martel, King of Hungary and his queen, Clementia of Hapsburg, the youngest daughter of Rudolf I, King of Germany. Reputed to be one of the most beautiful and accomplished princesses in Europe, Clemence became the second wife (1315) of Louis X le Hutin (the Strong) (1298 – 1316), King of France (1314 – 1316), after his divorce from Margeurite of Burgundy, the marriage being arranged by the French chancellor, Hughes de Bourges. Clemence was crowned with Louis at Rheims, near Paris (Aug 3, 1315), and accompanied him on his expedition to Flanders, where she became pregant. She was the mother of his posthumous son, Jean I (1316).
The queen was present at her husband’s bedside at Vincennes when he died of pleurisy (June 5, 1316). The succession now depended on the sex of Clemence’s unborn child. If she gave birth to a daughter, the throne went to her brother-in-law, Philip of Poitiers, who was appointed as regent till the birth, Queen Clemence being placed under his especial protection. During the night (Nov 13 – 14, 1316), the queen gave birth to a son who was proclaimed as Jean I. Five days later the infant king died (Nov 19) and Poitiers was proclaimed king as Philip V. Decades later a man called Gianino in Florence persuaded Queen Clemence’s nephew, Louis I of Hungary, that he was Jean I, but otherwise he met with little success, and died in jail in Naples (1363). After the death of her son Queen Clemence was treated honourably by Philip V, and she retired to a Dominican convent and died there (Oct 12, 1328) aged thirty-five. She was interred in the royal basilica of St Denis, at Rheims, near Paris. Rumour attributed her death to murder, though the reason for this remains obscure and the charges were almost certainly no more than vicious slander.