Marie de Champagne

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Marie de France, or Marie Capet, Countess of Champagne (1145March 11, 1198), was the elder daughter of Louis VII of France and his first wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.

She was an older sister of Alix of France. She was an older paternal half-sister to Marguerite of France, Alys, Countess of the Vexin, Philip II of France and Agnes of France. She was also an older maternal half-sister to William, Count of Poitiers, Henry the Young King, Matilda of England, Richard I of England, Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany, Leonora of Aquitaine , Joan Plantagenet and John of England.

Her parents divorced in 1152, and the custody of Marie and her sister Alix was awarded to their father, King Louis. Their mother Eleanor remarried to King Henry II of England, and so left France. In 1160, when her father King Louis married Adele of Champagne, he betrothed both Marie and Alix to Adele's brothers. After her betrothal, Marie was sent to the abbey of Avenay in Champagne for her education.

In about 1164, Marie married Henry I, Count of Champagne. They had four children:

  1. Scholastique of Champagne (died 1219), married William V of Macon
  2. Henry II (11661197)
  3. Marie of Champagne (died 1204), married Baldwin I of Constantinople
  4. Theobald (11791201)

After Henry I's death in 1181, Marie acted as regent from 1181 to 1187, when her son Henry came of age. However, Henry II left to go on Crusade, and so Marie once again served as regent in his absence from 1190 to Henry's death in 1197. She retired to the nunnery of Fontaines-les-Nones near Meaux, and died there in 1198.

Marie is remembered today mainly for her role in the heresy that was the target of the Albigensian Crusade. She was also a patron of literature, including Andreas Capellanus, who served in her court, and Chretien de Troyes. In her court, the institution of marriage was repelled and forbidden for being contrary to the rule of love.

Sources

  • Wheeler, Bonnie. Eleanor of Aquitaine: Lord and Lady, 2002

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