Maria of Montferrat

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Maria
Maria of Montferrat.jpg
Queen of Jerusalem
Reign 5 April 1205 – 1212
Coronation 3 October 1210 at Tyre
Predecessor Isabella I
Successor Isabella II
Regent
Co-Sovereign
John of Ibelin
John of Brienne
Spouse John of Brienne
Issue Isabella II of Jerusalem
House House of Aleramici (by birth)
House of Brienne (by marriage)
Father Conrad of Montferrat
Mother Isabella I of Jerusalem
Born summer 1192
Died 1212

Maria of Montferrat (or Maria of Jerusalem) (1192–1212) was Queen of Jerusalem, the daughter of Isabella I of Jerusalem and Conrad of Montferrat. She was known in her youth as The Marquise, because of her father's title.

Life[edit]

Early life[edit]

On April 28, 1192, while the rivalry between Guy de Lusignan and Maria's father was about to find a term and Richard I of England was about to finish Third Crusade and return to England, Conrad was assassinated. Her mother remarried in haste on May 5 to Henry II, Count of Champagne, nephew of King Richard and Philip II of France. At the time of the wedding, Isabella was already visibly pregnant with Maria.[1] Maria, the posthumous child was born during the summer of 1192.

Henry II of Champagne died in 1197; from this marriage Maria had gained three half-sisters. Amalric II of Jerusalem (now known as Aimery of Jerusalem) married Isabella, he became joint ruler of Jerusalem with Isabella. He died on April 1, 1205.

Reign[edit]

Isabella died shortly thereafter and Maria became queen of Jerusalem, at the age of thirteen, while her stepbrother Hugh, from the first marriage of Aimery, became King of Cyprus and married Maria's half-sister, Alice of Champagne. The half-brother of her mother, John of Ibelin, the Old Lord of Beirut, acted as regent on behalf of Maria, wisely and to the satisfaction of the inhabitants of the kingdoms. Failing to conduct operations to reconquer the territories lost in 1187, he maintained the kingdom within its limits, a policy of peace with Al-Adil I, brother of Saladin, who had come to his estate by eliminating the other heirs.[2]

The regency expired in 1209, when Maria was seventeen, so the government believed it best for Maria to marry so she could secure her post as queen. The assembly of barons and prelates decided to seek advice from Philip II of France, who offered one of his followers, John of Brienne. However John was not a very rich man. To overcome his lack of fortune and to enable him to fund his sovereign obligations (court and army) King Philip and Pope Innocent III each paid him the sum of 40 000 livres.[3]

Coronation of Maria and John

The marriage was celebrated on September 4, 1210, then the couple were crowned King and Queen of Jerusalem on October 3, 1210 in Tyre Cathedral. John continued the peace policy of John of Ibelin. In 1212, Maria of Montferrat gave birth to a daughter, Isabelle (1212–1228) or Yolande, but died shortly afterwards, probably from puerperal fever. John retained the crown but only as regent on behalf of his daughter who married (in 1225) to Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.

The lineage of Maria died out in 1268, with the death of her great-grand-grandson Conradin. After his death, the descendants of Maria's younger half-sister Alice of Champagne inherited her kingdom.

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The chronicle of Ernoul, Old French Contination of William of Tyre
  2. ^ Grousset 1936, p.216-221.
  3. ^ Grousset 1936, p.222-4.
Maria of Montferrat
Born: summer 1192 Died: c. 1212
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Isabella I
Queen of Jerusalem
1205–1212
with John
Succeeded by
Isabella II