Agnes of Meran (d. 1201)

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Agnes of Meran (d. 1201)

Queen of France. Name variations: The White Lady; Agnes of Neran; Agnes de Méranie or Meranie. Died on July 20, 1201, in Paris, France; daughter of Berthold III of Andrechs, marquis of Meran, count of Tirol, and duke of Carinthia and Istria, and Agnes of Dedo ; sister of Gertrude of Andrechs-Meran , queen of Hungary, and Saint Hedwig of Silesia (1174–1243); married Philip II Augustus (1165–1223), king of France (r. 1180–1223), in 1196; children: Philip Hurepel (1200–1234), count of Boulogne; Marie of France (1198–c. 1223).

Born into a German noble family, Agnes of Meran became the mistress of the French king Philip II Augustus. After his first wife died, Philip contracted a marriage with Ingeborg of Denmark (c. 1176–c. 1237) in 1193, but he repudiated her soon after the wedding. The king apparently loved Agnes and made her his queen in all but title, since neither the church nor the Danish or French people accepted his divorce from Ingeborg as legitimate. Instead of returning to Denmark, Ingeborg remained at a French convent, appealing to the pope to force Philip to reinstate her as his rightful wife. But Philip refused to give Agnes up, even after the pope placed him under interdict. Philip and Agnes had a wedding ceremony performed in 1196, although they seem to have been the only ones who felt their marriage was valid. Agnes acted as queen and presided over the French Court, much to the scandal of the rest of Europe. She gave him a son, Philip Hurepel (literally "bristling hide," because his hair, like his father's, was always bristling), and a daughter, Marie of France . After Agnes' death in 1201, Philip finally reinstated Ingeborg, but managed to have Agnes' son Philip legitimized as heir to the throne.

Laura York , Anza, California

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Agnes of Meran (d. 1201)

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