Adelaide of Maurienne (1092–1154)

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Adelaide of Maurienne (1092–1154)

Queen of France and religious founder who was one of the most dominant queens in French history. Name variations: Adelaide of France; Adelaide of Savoy; Agnes of Maurienne; Alix. Born in 1092 (some sources cite 1110); died on November 18, 1154 at Montmartre, France; daughter of Humbert II of Maurienne also known as Umberto II, count of Savoy, and Gisela of Burgundy (daughter of William I, count of Burgundy); married Louis VI the Fat (1081–1137), king of France (r. 1108–1137), in 1115; children: Philip (d. 1131); Louis VII (c. 1121–1180) king of France (r. 1137–1180); Robert, count of Dreux; Peter of Courtenay; Henry, bishop of Beauvais and Rouen; Philip, bishop of Paris; Constance Capet (c. 1128–1176, who married Raymond V, count of Toulouse).

Adelaide of Maurienne was one of the most powerful queens in French history. A French noblewoman, she married King Louis VI in 1115 while in her teens. Clever and insightful, Adelaide revealed a nature well-suited to politics and state affairs, and she quickly became a trusted advisor to her husband as well as an important ruler in her own right as queen. Twelfth-century France differed from later eras in that queen-consorts were allowed to exercise royal authority under their own names. Adelaide performed many royal functions, including signing charters, making judicial decisions, and appointing church and lay officials. Royal correspondence and other documents were dated by the reigning year of both King Louis and Queen Adelaide, attesting to her importance as a co-ruler. Adelaide was also a deeply religious woman; she founded the Abbey of Montmartre with her own money.

Constance Capet (c. 1128–1176)

Countess of Toulouse. Name variations: Countess of Boulogne. Born around 1128; died on August 16, 1176, at Rheims, Champagne, France; daughter of Louis VI, king of France (r. 1108–1137), and Adelaide of Maurienne (1092–1154); married Eustace IV, count of Boulogne, in 1151; married Raymond V, count of Toulouse, in 1154; children: (second marriage) Raymond VI, count of Toulouse; William; Baldwin; Alesia of Toulouse (who married Roger, viscount of Beziers); Laura of Toulouse (who married Odo, count of Comminger).

After Louis died in 1137, Adelaide refused to retire from handling state matters; instead, she remained at the center of government in Paris with the new king, her 15-year-old son Louis (now Louis VII). Though technically her right to exercise power had died with her husband, she counseled her son and continued to exert royal authority. In her later years, however, she was virtually forced to retire due to her advancing age and the growing influence wielded by her daughter-in-law, the young queen Eleanor of Aquitaine . Adelaide lived out her last years at Montmartre.

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Adelaide of Maurienne (1092–1154)

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