Beatrice of Savoy

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Beatrice of Savoy
Beatrix4.jpg
Countess of Provence
Tenure December 1220 – 19 August 1245
Spouse Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence
Issue Margaret, Queen of France
Eleanor, Queen of England
Sanchia, Queen of Germany
Beatrice, Queen of Sicily
Raymond of Provence
House House of Savoy (by birth)
House of Aragon (by marriage)
Father Thomas I of Savoy
Mother Margaret of Geneva
Born 1205
Died 4 January 1267 (aged 61-62)

Beatrice of Savoy (1205 – 4 January 1267)[1] was the daughter of Thomas I of Savoy and Margaret of Geneva. She was Countess consort of Provence by her marriage to Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence.

Family[edit]

Her paternal grandparents were Humbert III, Count of Savoy, and Beatrice of Viennois. Her maternal grandparents were William I, Count of Geneva and Beatrice de Faucigny. Beatrice of Savoy's mother, Margaret was betrothed to Philip II of France. While Margaret was travelling to France for her wedding, she was captured by Beatrice's father, Thomas. He took her back to Savoy and married her himself. Thomas' excuse was that Philip II was already married, which was true.

Beatrice was the tenth of fourteen children born to her parents. Her siblings included: Amadeus IV, Count of Savoy, Thomas II of Piedmont, Peter II, Count of Savoy, Philip I, Count of Savoy, Boniface of Savoy, Archbishop of Canterbury, Avita the Countess of Devon and Margherita of Savoy wife of Hartmann I of Kyburg.

Life[edit]

Marriage and issue[edit]

Beatrice betrothed on 5 June 1219 to Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence; they married in December 1220. She was a shrewd and politically astute woman, whose beauty was likened to that of a second Niobe by Matthew Paris. Ramon and Beatrice of Savoy had four daughters, who all lived to adulthood, and married kings. Their only son, Raymond died in early infancy.[2]

  1. Margaret, Queen of France (1221–1295), wife of Louis IX of France
  2. Eleanor, Queen of England (1223–1291), wife of Henry III of England
  3. Sanchia, Queen of Germany (1228–1261), wife of Richard, Earl of Cornwall
  4. Beatrice, Queen of Sicily (1231–1267), wife of Charles I of Sicily
  5. Raymond of Provence, died young

Beatrice came to England to see her third daughter Sanchia wedded to Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, brother-in-law of Eleanor and did much to strengthen the bond between Richard and Henry III. She further strengthened the unity of the English royal family by convincing Henry III to help pay the debts of his sister Eleanor and her husband Simon de Montfort, who had previously often be at odds with Henry.[3] Beatrice's husband Ramon Berenguer IV was detained by state difficulties which his wife solved by getting a loan from her son-in-law Henry III of four thousand marks.[4]

Widowhood[edit]

When Ramon Berenguer had died on 19 August 1245, he left Provence to his youngest daughter. Beatrice's daughter and namesake then became one of the most attractive heiresses in medieval Europe. Various suitors had tried to seize her, so Beatrice of Savoy placed the younger Beatrice in a safe fortress, secured the trust of its people then went to the Pope for his protection. In Cluny during December 1245, a secret discussion, between Pope Innocent IV, Louis IX of France, his mother Blanche of Castile and his brother Charles of Anjou, took place. It was decided that in return for Louis IX supporting the Pope militarily, the Pope would allow Charles of Anjou, youngest brother to the French King, to marry Beatrice of Provence. But Provence was to never go to France outright through Charles. It was agreed that if Charles and Beatrice had children, the county would go to them; if there was no issue, then the county would go to Sanchia of Provence. If Sanchia died without an heir, Provence would go to the King of Aragon.

The generally good relationship among the four sisters also did much to improve the relationship of the French and English kings. It brought about the Treaty of Paris, where differences were resolved.[5] Beatrice and all her four daughters participated in the talks.[6]

Beatrice of Savoy was granted the usufruct of the county of Provence for her lifetime, according to her husband's will. Beatrice outlived her third daughter Sanchia and came close to outliving her youngest daughter Beatrice, who died months after her mother (Beatrice the elder died in January, Beatrice the younger died in September). Beatrice of Savoy died on 4 January 1267.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Savoy
  2. ^ Cawley, Medieval Lands, Provence
  3. ^ Goldstone 2009, p. 118
  4. ^ Cox, Eugene L, (1974). The Eagles of Savoy, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. ISBN 0691052166. p 120
  5. ^ Sanders, I.J. (1951). "The Texts of the Peace of Paris, 1259 The English Historical Review Vol. 66, No. 258 pp. 81-97". Oxford University Press. p. 88. 
  6. ^ Hilton, Lisa (2008). Queens Consort, England's Medieval Queens. Great Britain: Weidenfeld & Nichelson. pp. 206–207. ISBN 978-0-7538-2611-9. 

References[edit]

  • Goldstone, Nancy (2009). Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe. Phoenix Paperbacks, London.