Richenza of Northeim

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Richenza of Northeim
Empress Consort of the Holy Roman Empire
Richenza von Northeim (Königslutter).jpg
An image of Richenza from the cathedral in Königslutter
Holy Roman Empress
Tenure 4 June 1133 – 4 December 1137
Predecessor Matilda of England
Successor Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy
Spouse(s) Lothair III, Holy Roman Emperor


Gertrude of Süpplingenburg
Noble family House of Nordheim
Father Henry, Margrave of Frisia
Mother Gertrude of Brunswick
Born c. 1087/1089
Died 10 June 1141(1141-06-10)

Richenza of Northeim (c. 1087/1089 – 10 June 1141) was a member of the dynasty of the Counts of Northeim. She was Duchess of Saxony (from 1106), Queen of Germany (from 1125) and Holy Roman Empress (from 1133).


She was the daughter of Henry the Fat of Northeim (d. 1101) and Gertrud of Brunswick of the Brunonen dynasty.

Around 1100 Richenza married Lothar von Süpplingenburg, Duke of Saxony and future Holy Roman Emperor. She took an active part in his reign, which is reflected in her activities during the papal schism of 1130, and her role as intermediary between her husband and his rivals, Conrad III of Germany and Frederick II, Duke of Swabia. In 1136-37, she presided over hearings of the court.

Richenza's only surviving daughter with Lothair III, Gertrud of Süpplingenburg, was born in 1115, 15 years after her parents' marriage; she later married Henry the Proud, Duke of Bavaria (d. 1139). This act brought both the Northeim and Brunonen lands into the hands of the Welf dynasty.

Lothair died in 1137, and Richenza moved swiftly to ensure the lands of Saxony went to her son-in-law, Henry. On Pentecost the following year, however, a delegation of Saxon princes convened in Bamberg to elect Conrad III as their ruler. Henry died soon after, in the autumn of 1139. Richenza fought hard for the inheritance of her grandson, the future Henry the Lion, seeing to his education, and pushing for his right to be regarded as the heir to the Saxon duchy. Henry was finally elected Duke in 1142; his mother Gertrude ruled as regent until his majority.

Richenza did not live to see her grandson succeed to the duchy. She died in 1141 and is buried next to her husband and Henry the Proud in the cathedral at Königslutter. Her grave goods included a simple and elegant crown.

Here is her family tree:

See also[edit]


  • The information in this article is translated from and/or based on that found in its German equivalent.
  • (German)
Richenza of Northeim
Born: ? 1087 Died: 10 June 1141
German royalty
Preceded by
Matilda of England
Empress consort of the
Holy Roman Empire

Succeeded by
Beatrice I of Burgundy
Queen consort of Germany
Succeeded by
Gertrud of Comburg
Preceded by
Sophia of Hungary
Duchess consort of Saxony
23 August 1106 – 4 December 1137
Succeeded by
Gertrud of Süpplingenburg