Adèle of France, Countess of Flanders

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Not to be confused with Adela of Flanders. ‹See Tfd›
Adèle of France
Countess of Flanders
Spouse Richard III, Duke of Normandy
Baldwin V, Count of Flanders
Issue with Baldwin V:
Baldwin VI
Matilda, Queen consort of England
Robert I
House House of Capet (by birth)
House of Normandy (by marriage)
House of Flanders (by marriage)
Father Robert II of France
Mother Constance of Arles
Born 1009
Died 8 January 1079(1079-01-08)
Messines
Burial Benedictine Convent of Messines

Adèle of France[a] known also as Adela the Holy or Adela of Messines; (1009 – 8 January 1079, Messines), she was the Countess of Normandy (January 1027–August 1027), Countess of Flanders (1035–1067)

Life[edit]

Adèle was the second daughter of Robert II (the Pious), and Constance of Arles.[1] In January 1027 she married Richard III, Duke of Normandy.[2] The marriage was short-lived for on 6 August of that same year Richard III suddenly died.[2] Adela then married Baldwin V, Count of Flanders in 1028.[3]

Adèle's influence lay mainly through her family connections. On the death of her brother, Henry I of France, the guardianship of his seven-year-old son Philip I fell jointly on his widow, Ann of Kiev, and on his brother-in-law, Adela's husband, so that from 1060 to 1067, they were Regents of France.[4]

In 1071, Adela's third son, Robert the Frisian, planned to invade Flanders even though at that time the Count of Flanders was Adela's grandson, Arnulf III. When she heard about Robert's plans, she asked Philip I to stop him. Philip sent soldiers to support Arnulf including a contingent of ten Norman knights led by William FitzOsborn. Robert's forces attacked Arnulf's numerically superior army at Cassel before it could organize, and Arnulf was killed along with William FitzOsborn. Robert's overwhelming victory led to Philip making peace with Robert and investing him as Count of Flanders. A year later, Philip married Robert's stepdaughter, Bertha of Holland, and in 1074, Philip restored the seigneurie of Corbie to the crown.

Adèle had a strong interest in Baldwin V’s church reforms and was behind her husband’s founding of several collegiate churches. Directly or indirectly, she was responsible for establishing the Colleges of Aire (1049), Lille (1050) and Harelbeke (1064) as well as the abbeys of Messines (1057) and Ename (1063). After Baldwin’s death in 1067, she went to Rome, took the nun’s veil from the hands of Pope Alexander II and retired to the Benedictine convent of Messines, near Ypres. There she later died and was buried at the convent. Honoured as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, her commemoration day is 8 September.

Family[edit]

Her first marriage was in 1027 to Richard III, Duke of Normandy (died 1027). They had no children.

Her second marriage was in 1028 to Baldwin V, Count of Flanders (died 1067).[3] Their children were:

Ancestry[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Other forms of her name are Adela, Adélaïde, Adelheid, Aelis and Alix.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 11
  2. ^ a b Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 79
  3. ^ a b c d e Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 5
  4. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafeln 5, 11


Adèle of France, Countess of Flanders
Born: 1009 Died: 8 January 1079
Preceded by
Papia of Envermeu
Duchess consort of Normandy
1027–1027
Succeeded by
Matilda of Flanders
Preceded by
Eleanor of Normandy
Countess consort of Flanders
1036–1067
Succeeded by
Richilde of Hainaut