Marie of Boulogne (d. 1182)

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Marie of Boulogne (d. 1182)

Countess of Boulogne and abbess of Romsey . Name variations: Marie, Abbess of Romsey; Mary, countess of Boulogne; countess of Mortain; countess of Mortaigne. Born around 1136; died in 1182 (some sources cite 1181) in St. Austrebert, Montreuil, France; interred at St. Austrebert; daughter of Matilda of Boulogne (c. 1103–1152) and Stephen of Blois (c. 1096–1154), later king of England (r. 1135–1154); married Matthew I (Matthieu d'Alsace), count of Boulogne, around 1160 (annulled in 1169); children: daughter Ide d'Alsace (c. 1161–1216); Maude of Alsace (1163–c. 1210).

Marie of Boulogne, the daughter of Matilda of Boulogne and King Stephen of Blois of England, became prioress of Lillechurch, a nunnery founded for her by her parents. She was then the abbess of the celebrated Romsey before succeeding her brothers Eustace IV and William II (also known as Guillame II) as ruler of Boulogne in 1159. It is said that because of her rich inheritance she was abducted by Matthew I of Alsace, son of the earl of Flanders, and forced by her cousin King Henry II to marry her abductor, in order to secure an alliance. After nine years of marriage, her husband allowed her to return to the religious life in 1169. Her daughter Ide d'Alsace succeeded her as countess of Boulogne in 1173 and ruled until 1216.