Blanche of Castile
Blanche of Castile was Queen of France by marriage to Louis VIII. She acted as regent twice during the reign of her son, Louis IX, during his minority from 1226 until 1234 and she was born in Palencia, Spain,1188, the third daughter of Alfonso VIII, king of Castile, and Eleanor of England. Eleanor was a daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, in her youth, she visited the Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas, founded by her parents, several times. In consequence of the Treaty of Le Goulet between Philip Augustus and John of England, Blanches sister, was betrothed to Philips son, Louis. Their grandmother Eleanor of Aquitaine, after meeting the two sisters, judged that Blanches personality was more fit for a consort of France. In the spring of 1200, Eleanor crossed the Pyrenees with her, the marriage was celebrated the next day, at Port-Mort on the right bank of the Seine, in Johns domains, as those of Philip lay under an interdict. Blanche was twelve years of age, and Louis was only a year older so the marriage was consummated a few years later, Blanche bore her first child in 1205.
During the English barons rebellion of 1215-16 against King John, it was Blanches English ancestry as granddaughter to Henry II that led to Louis being offered the throne of England as Louis I. However, with the death of John in October 1216, the changed their allegiance to Johns son. Louis continued to claim the English crown in her right, only to find a nation against him. Philip Augustus refused to help his son, and Blanche was his sole support, Blanche raised money from her father-in-law by threatening to put up her children as hostages. She established herself at Calais and organized two fleets, one of which was commanded by Eustace the Monk, and an army under Robert I, Latin Emperor. With French forces defeated at Lincoln in May 1217 and routed on their way back to their London stronghold, on 24 August, the English fleet destroyed the French fleet carrying those reinforcements off Sandwich and Louis was forced to sue for peace. Philip died in July 1223, and Louis VIII and Blanche were crowned on August 6, upon Louis death in November 1226 from dysentery, he left Blanche, by 38, regent and guardian of his children.
Of her twelve or thirteen children, six had died, and Louis and she had him crowned within a month of his fathers death in Reims and forced reluctant barons to swear allegiance to him. The situation was critical, since Louis VIII had died without having completely subdued his southern nobles, the kings minority made the Capetian domains even more vulnerable. To gain support, she released Ferdinand, Count of Flanders and she ceded land and castles to Philip I, Count of Boulogne, son of Philip II and his controversial wife Agnes of Merania. Several key barons, led by Peter Mauclerc, refused to recognize the coronation of the young king, shortly after the coronation and Louis were traveling south of Paris and nearly captured
Alfonso II of Aragon
Alfonso II, called the Chaste or the Troubadour, was the King of Aragon and, as Alfons I, the Count of Barcelona from 1164 until his death. The eldest son of Count Ramon Berenguer IV of Barcelona and Queen Petronilla of Aragon and he was Count of Provence, which he conquered from Douce II, from 1166 until 1173, when he ceded it to his brother, Ramon Berenguer III. Born at Huesca, called indistinctly from birth Alfonso and Ramon, ascended the throne of Aragon and Barcelona as Alfonso, in deference to the Aragonese. For most of his reign he was allied with Alfonso VIII of Castile, in his Reconquista effort Alfonso pushed as far as Teruel, conquering this important stronghold on the road to Valencia in 1171. The same year saw him capturing Caspe, apart from common interests, kings of Aragon and Castile were united by a formal bond of vassalage the former owed to the latter. Besides, on January 18,1174, in Zaragoza Alfonso married Sancha, another milestone in this alliance was the Treaty of Cazorla between the two kings in 1179, delineating zones of conquest in the south along the watershed of the rivers Júcar and Segura.
Southern areas of Valencia including Denia were thus secured to Aragon, Alfonso reached an agreement, the Treaty of Sangüesa, with Sancho VI of Navarre dividing the territory of the Taifa of Murcia between them. During his reign Aragonese influence north of the Pyrenees reached its zenith and his realms incorporated not only Provence, but the counties of Cerdanya and Roussillon. Béarn and Bigorre paid homage to him in 1187, Alfonso II provided the first land grant to the Cistercian monks on the banks of the Ebro River in the Aragon region, which would become the site of the first Cistercian monastery in this region. He died at Perpignan in 1196 and he was a noted poet of his time and a close friend of King Richard the Lionheart. The debate had begun by Guilhem de Saint-Leidier and was taken up by Azalais de Porcairagues and Raimbaut of Orange. Wife, Sancha of Castile, daughter of king Alfonso VII of Castile, b.1155 or 1157, d.1208 Peter II, King of Aragon, married firstly King Imre of Hungary and secondly Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.
Alfonso II, Count of Provence and Razès, married Count Raymond VI of Toulouse. Sancha, married Count Raymond VII of Toulouse, in March 1211 Ferdinand, cistercian monk, Abbot of Montearagón
Joan III, Countess of Burgundy
Joan III of Burgundy, known as Joan of France was a reigning Countess of Burgundy and Artois, and a Duchess consort of Burgundy. She was the eldest daughter of King Philip V of France and she was married in 1318 to Odo IV, Duke of Burgundy, as part of a settlement between the two men regarding the French succession, Joan thus became Duchess-consort of Burgundy. She became Countess of Burgundy and Artois in her own right in 1330, with the exception of Philip, all were stillborn or died in infancy. Philip predeceased her, her titles passed to her grandson
Alfonso VIII of Castile
Alfonso VIII, called the Noble or the one of the Navas, was the King of Castile from 1158 to his death and King of Toledo. He is most remembered for his part in the Reconquista and the downfall of the Almohad Caliphate and his reign saw the domination of Castile over León and, by his alliance with Aragon, he drew those two spheres of Christian Iberia into close connection. Alfonso was born to Sancho III of Castile and Blanche, in Soria on 11 November 1155 and he was named after his grandfather Alfonso VII of León and Castile, who divided his kingdoms between his sons. This division set the stage for conflict in the family until the kingdoms were re-united by Alfonso VIIIs grandson and his early life resembled that of other medieval kings. Though proclaimed king when only two years of age, Alfonso was regarded as merely nominal by the nobles to whom a minority was convenient. Immediately, Castile was plunged into conflicts between the noble houses vying for ascendancy in the inevitable regency.
The devotion of a squire of his household, who carried him on the pommel of his saddle to the stronghold of San Esteban de Gormaz, the noble houses of Lara and Castro both claimed the regency, as did the boys uncle, Ferdinand II of León. In 1159 the young Alfonso was put briefly in the custody of García Garcés de Aza, in March 1160 the Castro and Lara met at the Battle of Lobregal and the Castro were victorious, but the guardianship of Alfonso and the regency fell to Manrique Pérez de Lara. Alfonso was put in the custody of the loyal village Ávila, at barely fifteen, he came forth to do a mans work by restoring his kingdom to order. It was only by a surprise that he recovered his capital Toledo from the hands of the Laras, during the regency, his uncle Sancho VI of Navarre took advantage of the chaos and the kings minority to seize lands along the border, including much of La Rioja. In 1170, Alfonso sent an embassy to Bordeaux to Henry II of England, due to the brides young age of 9, the marriage was finalized at Burgos, before 17 September 1177.
The marriage treaty helped provide Alfonso with an ally against his uncle. In 1176, Alfonso asked his father-in-law to arbitrate the border territories. While Alfonso received back much which had taken from him. In 1186, he recuperated part of La Rioja from the Kingdom of Navarre, in 1187, Alfonso negotiated with Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor who was seeking to marry his son Conrad to Alfonsos eldest child and heir, Berengaria. In April 1188 they agreed on a treaty in Seligenstadt which made clear that she was the heir of Castile after any sons of Alfonso, and this became relevant in her ultimate succession to the throne, even though the marriage to Conrad was never consummated and annulled. The treaty documented traditional rights and obligations between the sovereign and the nobles in Castile, in July 1188, Alfonso convened his court in Carrión de los Condes to allow the nobles to review and ratify the treaty. At that court, Alfonso knighted both Conrad and Alfonso IX of León, who would ultimately marry Berengaria, the younger Alfonso had come to seek the support and acknowledgement of his ascent to the throne of León from his older cousin
Adela of Champagne
Adela of Champagne, known as Adelaide and Alix, was Queen of France as the third wife of Louis VII. She was the daughter of Theobald II, Count of Champagne, and Matilda of Carinthia and Adela married on 18 October 1160, five weeks after his previous wife, Constance of Castile, died in childbirth. Queen Adèle was the mother of Louis VIIs only son, Philip II, Adela was active in the political life of the kingdom, along with her brothers Henry I, Theobald V, and Guillaume aux Blanches Mains. Henry and Theobald were married to daughters of Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine and her brothers felt their position threatened when the heiress of Artois, Isabella of Hainault, married Adèles son Philip. Adèle formed an alliance with Hugh III, Duke of Burgundy, and Philip of Flanders, war broke out in 1181, and relations became so bad that Philip attempted to divorce Isabella in 1184. Although her power decreased after the accession of Philip in 1180 and she returned to the shadows when he returned in 1192 but participated in the founding of many abbeys.
Queen Adela died on 4 June 1206 in Paris, Île-de-France and was buried in the church of Pontigny Abbey near Auxerre
Philip VI of France
Philip VI, called the Fortunate and of Valois, was the first King of France from the House of Valois. He reigned from 1328 until his death, Philips reign was dominated by the consequences of a succession dispute. It was held in France, that Edward was ineligible to inherit the French throne through the line according to the ancient Salic Law. The result was the beginning of the Hundred Years War in 1337, after initial successes at sea, Philips navy was annihilated at the Battle of Sluys in 1340, ensuring that the war would occur on the continent. The English took another decisive advantage at the Battle of Crécy, while the Black Death struck France, in 1349, Philip VI bought the Dauphiné from its ruined ruler Humbert II and entrusted the government of this province to his grandson Charles. Philip VI died in 1350 and was succeeded by his son John II the Good, little is recorded about Philips childhood and youth, in large part because he was of minor royal birth. Philips father Charles, Count of Valois, the brother of King Philip IV of France, had striven throughout his life to gain a throne for himself but was never successful.
He died in 1325, leaving his eldest son Philip as heir to the counties of Anjou, Maine, in 1328, Philips first cousin Charles IV died without a son and with his widow Jeanne dÉvreux pregnant. Philip was one of the two claimants to the throne. The other was King Edward III of England, who was the son of Charless sister Isabella, the question arose whether Isabella should have been able to transmit a claim that she herself did not possess. The assemblies of the French barons and prelates and the University of Paris decided that males who derive their right to inheritance through their mother should be excluded according to Salic Law. He formally held the regency from 9 February 1328 until 1 April, upon this birth, Philip was named king and crowned at the Cathedral in Reims on 29 May 1328. After his elevation to the throne, Philip sent the Abbot of Fécamp, Pierre Roger, after a subsequent second summons from Philip, Edward arrived at the Cathedral of Amiens on 6 June 1329 and worded his vows in such a way to cause more disputes in years.
The dynastic change had another consequence, Charles IV had been King of Navarre, unlike the crown of France and these counties were closely entrenched in the economic and administrative entity of the Crown lands of France, being located adjacent to Île-de-France. Philip, was not entitled to that inheritance, the heiress was the surviving daughter of Louis X, the future Joan II of Navarre. His wife, the able Joan the Lame, gave the first of many demonstrations of her competence as regent in his absence, Philip initially enjoyed relatively amicable relations with Edward III, and they planned a crusade together in 1332, which was never executed. However, the status of the Duchy of Aquitaine remained a sore point, Philip provided refuge for David II of Scotland in 1334 and declared himself champion of his interests, which enraged Edward. By 1336, they were enemies, although not yet openly at war, Philip successfully prevented an arrangement between the Avignon papacy and Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV, although in July 1337 Louis concluded an alliance with Edward III
Robert II, Duke of Burgundy
Robert II of Burgundy was Duke of Burgundy between 1272 and 1306. Robert was the son of duke Hugh IV and Yolande of Dreux. This was followed by two years of warfare which was ended when King Philip IV of France paid Robert 20,000 livres tournois to renounce his claim to the Dauphiné. Robert ended the practice of giving away parts of the Burgundian estate to younger sons, from on, the whole duchy, however already diminished by earlier dowries, passed unfragmented to the eldest son
Louis VII of France
Louis VII was King of the Franks from 1137 until his death. He was the son and successor of King Louis VI of France, hence his nickname, immediately after the annulment of her marriage, Eleanor married Henry Plantagenet, Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou, to whom she conveyed Aquitaine. When Henry became King of England in 1154, as Henry II, Henrys efforts to preserve and expand on this patrimony for the Crown of England would mark the beginning of the long rivalry between France and England. Louis VIIs reign saw the founding of the University of Paris and he died in 1180 and was succeeded by his son Philip II. Louis was born in 1120 in Paris, the son of Louis VI of France. The early education of Prince Louis anticipated an ecclesiastical career, in October 1131, his father had him anointed and crowned by Pope Innocent II in Reims Cathedral. He spent much of his youth in Saint-Denis, where he built a friendship with the Abbot Suger, an advisor to his father who served Louis well during his early years as king.
Following the death of William X, Duke of Aquitaine, Louis VI moved quickly to have Prince Louis married to Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, heiress of the late duke, on 25 July 1137. In this way, Louis VI sought to add the large, on 1 August 1137, shortly after the marriage, Louis VI died, and Prince Louis became king of France, reigning as Louis VII. The pairing of the monkish Louis and the high-spirited Eleanor was doomed to failure, she once declared that she had thought to marry a king. Louis and Eleanor had two daughters and Alix, in the first part of his reign, Louis VII was vigorous and zealous in his prerogatives. His accession was marked by no other than uprisings by the burgesses of Orléans and Poitiers. He soon came into violent conflict with Pope Innocent II, the pope thus imposed an interdict upon the king. As a result, Champagne decided to side with the pope in the dispute over Bourges, the war lasted two years and ended with the occupation of Champagne by the royal army. Louis VII was personally involved in the assault and burning of the town of Vitry-le-François, more than a thousand people who had sought refuge in the church died in the flames.
Overcome with guilt and humiliated by ecclesiastical reproach, Louis admitted defeat, removed his armies from Champagne and he accepted Pierre de la Chatre as archbishop of Bourges and shunned Raoul and Petronilla. Desiring to atone for his sins, he declared his intention of mounting a crusade on Christmas Day 1145 at Bourges, bernard of Clairvaux assured its popularity by his preaching at Vezelay on Easter 1146. In the meantime, Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou, completed his conquest of Normandy in 1144, in exchange for being recognised as Duke of Normandy by Louis, Geoffrey surrendered half of the Vexin — a region vital to Norman security — to Louis
Philip II of France
Philip II, known as Philip Augustus, was King of France from 1180 to 1223, a member of the House of Capet. Philips predecessors had been known as kings of the Franks, but from 1190 onward, Philip became the first French monarch to style himself king of France. The son of King Louis VII and his wife, Adèle of Champagne, he was originally nicknamed Dieudonné God-given because he was the first son of Louis VII. Philip was given the nickname Augustus by the chronicler Rigord for having extended the Crown lands of France so remarkably, the military actions surrounding the Albigensian Crusade helped prepare the expansion of France southward. Philip did not participate directly in these actions, but he allowed his vassals, Philip transformed France from a small feudal state into the most prosperous and powerful country in Europe. He checked the power of the nobles and helped the towns to free themselves from seigniorial authority and he built a great wall around Paris, re-organized the French government and brought financial stability to his country.
Philip was born in Gonesse on 21 August 1165 and he spent much of the following night attempting to find his way out, but to no avail. Exhausted by cold and fatigue, he was discovered by a peasant carrying a charcoal burner. His father went on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Thomas Becket to pray for Philips recovery and was told that his son had indeed recovered, however, on his way back to Paris, he suffered a stroke. In declining health, Louis VII had his 14-year-old son crowned and anointed as king at Rheims on 1 November 1179 by the Archbishop Guillaume aux Blanches Mains. He was married on 28 April 1180 to Isabelle of Hainaut, the daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut, and Margaret I, Countess of Flanders, who brought the County of Artois as her dowry. From the time of his coronation, all power was transferred to Philip. Eventually, Louis died on 18 September 1180, while the royal demesne had increased under Philip I and Louis VI, it had diminished slightly under Louis VII. In April 1182, partially to enrich the French crown, Philip expelled all Jews from the demesne, Philips eldest son Louis was born on 5 September 1187 and inherited the County of Artois in 1190, when his mother Isabelle died.
The main source of funding for Philips army was from the royal demesne, in times of conflict, he could immediately call up 250 knights,250 horse sergeants,100 mounted crossbowmen,133 crossbowmen on foot,2,000 foot sergeants, and 300 mercenaries. Towards the end of his reign, the king could muster some 3,000 knights,9,000 sergeants,6,000 urban militiamen, using his increased revenues, Philip was the first Capetian king to build a French navy actively. By 1215, his fleet could carry a total of 7,000 men, within two years, his fleet included 10 large ships and many smaller ones. In 1181, Philip began a war with Philip, Count of Flanders, over the Vermandois, which King Philip claimed as his wifes dowry, finally the Count of Flanders invaded France, ravaging the whole district between the Somme and the Oise before penetrating as far as Dammartin
Humbert III, Count of Savoy
Umberto III, surnamed the Blessed, was Count of Savoy from 1148 to 1188. His parents were Amadeus III of Savoy and Mathilde dAlbon the daughter of Guigues III of Albon and he ceded rights and benefits to monasteries and played a decisive role in the organization of Hautecombe Abbey. It is said that he would rather have been monk than a sovereign, on the death of his third wife he retired to Hautecombe, but changed his mind and, by his fourth wife finally had son, Thomas. He sided with the Guelph party of Pope Alexander III against the Ghibelline Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and he died at Chambéry in 1189. He was the first prince buried at Hautecombe and his memorial day is March 4. Umberto III, Count of Savoy, beatified in the Catholic Church, was born around 1136 in the castle of Avigliana, near Turin, to Count Amadeus III and Mathilde dAlbon, Countess of Albon and Vienne. He is an important figure in society, as attested in the history of House of Savoy. In his efforts he was supported by Frederick I Barbarossa, like his father, Umberto II, who died young when he was still a minor, Amadeus III entrusted the education of his son, Umberto III to St.
To better achieve his lofty goals, he frequently withdrew Hautecombe Abbey, on the banks of Lake Bourget in Savoy and he always left the abbey with regret, every time the family and the Savoyard nobility called him back for occupy himself with political matters. Amadeus III was a pilgrim in the Holy Land in 1122, although still at an early age, in 1151 Umberto was bethrothed to Faidiva, daughter of Alphonse Jourdain, Count of Toulouse. She would soon die without issue and he married Gertrude, daughter of Thierry, Count of Flanders and Sibylla of Anjou. This second marriage was annulled by reason of infertility, in 1164, Umberto married Clementia of Zähringen, by whom he had two daughters and Sofia. She died in 1173, and he decided to retire to Hautecombe, in 1177, the nobility in 1177 convinced him marry for the fourth time. As wife, he took Beatrice of Mâcon, daughter Géraud I of Mâcon, at last he had a male heir, Thomas, to continue the dynasty. Beatrice bore him a daughter who died at the age of seven and it lasted forty years, and was characterized by struggles with the Holy Roman Emperor, various lords and count-bishops.
The main reason for conflict consisted in the patronage of the Bishop of Turin by Frederick Barbarossa and this led to a gradual reduction of the possessions and authority of Umberto III on the Italian side, leaving him with the rump territories of the valleys of Susa and Aosta. In 1187, he was banished from the Holy Roman Empire by Henry VI and he did not retire, as has been said, to his Alpine domains, devoting himself in particular to the practice of personal virtues and fraternal charity. Also he promoted the foundation of Precettoria of St. Anthony of Ranverso at Buttigliera Alta, not far from the town of Avigliana, entrusting it to Antoniani from Vienne, France