Henry I of France

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Henry I
King of the Franks (more...)
Henry1 head.jpg
A depiction of Henry from Chroniques de France ou de St Denis
King of the Franks
Junior king
Senior king
14 May 1027 – 20 July 1031;
20 July 1031 – 4 August 1060
Coronation 14 May 1027, Cathedral of Reims
Predecessor Robert II
Successor Philip I
Spouse Matilda of Frisia
Anne of Kiev
Issue
Philip I
Emma of France
Robert of France
Hugh I, Count of Vermandois
House House of Capet
Father Robert II
Mother Constance of Arles
Born (1008-05-04)4 May 1008
Reims, France
Died 4 August 1060(1060-08-04) (aged 52)
Vitry-aux-Loges, France
Burial Saint Denis Basilica, Paris, France
French Monarchy
Direct Capetians
Arms of the Kingdom of France (Ancien).svg
Henry I
   Philip I
   Hugh, Count of Vermandois

Henry I (4 May 1008 – 4 August 1060) was the King of the Franks from 1031 to his death. The royal demesne of France reached its smallest size during his reign, and for this reason he is often seen as emblematic of the weakness of the early Capetians. This is not entirely agreed upon, however, as other historians regard him as a strong but realistic king, who was forced to conduct a policy mindful of the limitations of the French monarchy.

Reign

A member of the House of Capet, Henry was born in Reims, the son of King Robert II (972–1031) and Constance of Arles (986–1034). He was crowned King of France at the Cathedral in Reims on 14 May 1027, in the Capetian tradition, while his father still lived. He had little influence and power until he became sole ruler on his father's death.

The reign of Henry I, like those of his predecessors, was marked by territorial struggles. Initially, he joined his brother Robert, with the support of their mother, in a revolt against his father (1025). His mother, however, supported Robert as heir to the old king, on whose death Henry was left to deal with his rebel sibling. In 1032, he placated his brother by giving him the duchy of Burgundy which his father had given him in 1016.

In an early strategic move, Henry came to the rescue of his very young nephew-in-law, the newly appointed Duke William of Normandy (who would go on to become William the Conqueror), to suppress a revolt by William's vassals. In 1047, Henry secured the dukedom for William in their decisive victory over the vassals at the Battle of Val-ès-Dunes near Caen.

A few years later, when William married Matilda, the daughter of the count of Flanders, Henry feared William's potential power. In 1054, and again in 1057, Henry went to war to try to conquer Normandy from William, but on both occasions he was defeated. Despite his efforts, Henry I's twenty-nine-year reign saw feudal power in France reach its pinnacle.

Henry had three meetings with Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor—all at Ivois. In early 1043, he met him to discuss the marriage of the emperor with Agnes of Poitou, the daughter of Henry's vassal. In October 1048, the two Henries met again, but the subject of this meeting eludes us. The final meeting took place in May 1056. It concerned disputes over Lorraine. The debate over the duchy became so heated that the king of France challenged his German counterpart to single combat. The emperor, however, was not so much a warrior and he fled in the night; despite this, Henry did not get Lorraine.

King Henry I died on 4 August 1060 in Vitry-en-Brie, France, and was interred in Basilica of St Denis. He was succeeded by his son, Philip I of France, who was 7 at the time of his death; for six years Henry's queen Anne of Kiev ruled as regent.

He was also Duke of Burgundy from 1016 to 1032, when he abdicated the duchy to his brother Robert.

Marriages

Henry I was betrothed to Matilda, the daughter of Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor, but she died prematurely in 1034. Henry then married Matilda of Frisia, but she died in 1044, following a Caesarean section. Casting further afield in search of a third wife, Henry married Anne of Kiev on 19 May 1051. They had four children:

  1. Philip I (23 May 1052 – 30 July 1108)
  2. Emma (born 1054, date of death unknown)
  3. Robert (c. 1055 – c. 1060)
  4. Hugh "the Great" of Vermandois (1057–1102)

Ancestry


Sources

  • Vajay, S. Mathilde, reine de France inconnue (Journal des savants), 1971

References

  1. ^ Charles Cawley. "Boson II of Arles". Medieval Lands. Fondation for Medieval Genealogy. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  2. ^ Settipani, Christian (2000). "Les vicomtes de Châteaudun et leurs alliés" [Viscounts of Chateaudun and their relatives]. Onomastique et Parenté dans l'Occident médiéval (in French) (Oxford: Prosopographica et genealogica). pp. 247–261. ISBN 1-900934-01-9. 
  3. ^ Christian Settipani, "Les comtes d'Anjou et leur alliances aux Xe et XIe siècles", in K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, ed., Family Trees and the Roots of Politics (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1997): 211–267.
Henry I of France
Born: 4 May 1008 Died: 4 August 1060
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Robert II
King of the Franks
14 May 1027 – 4 August 1060
with Robert II as senior king (14 May 1027 – 20 July 1031)
Philip I as junior king (23 May 1059 – 4 August 1060)
Succeeded by
Philip I
Preceded by
Robert II
Duke of Burgundy
1016–1032
Succeeded by
Robert I







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