Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou
|Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou|
19th century image of Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou.
|Spouse||Stephen, Viscount of Gévaudan|
Raymond, Count of Toulouse
Louis V of France
William I of Provence
(? Otto-William, Count of Burgundy)
|Father||Fulk II, Count of Anjou|
Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou[a] (c. 940 –1026) was the countess consort by marriage of Gévaudan and Forez, of Toulouse, of Provence, and of Burgundy; and queen consort of Aquitaine. She was the regent of Gevaudan during the minority of her sons in the 960s, and the regent of Provence during the minority of her stepson from 994 until 999.
She was the daughter of Fulk II, Count of Anjou, and Gerberga and sister of Geoffrey Greymantle. She successfully increased Angevin fortunes, being married a total of five times. Her family had become upwardly mobile to the point that, as a member of just the third generation from Ingelger, Adelaide-Blanche had married into the highest ranks of the older nobility of western Francia.
Her first marriage was to Stephen, the powerful Count of Gévaudan and Forez in eastern Aquitaine. She was no more than fifteen at the time and he was much older. Still, they had three children who survived to adulthood. Stephen died in the early 960s and after his death she ruled the lands as regent for her sons William, Pons and Bertrand. She continued to govern Gevaudan and Forez while her remaining two sons learned to rule their father's counties. Additionally, after her oldest son William's death in 975 she raised his infant son Stephen. Her brother Guy (a.k.a. Guido II) was made Count-Bishop of le Puy in 975 amidst local opposition and at his request Adelaide, acting for her sons Guy and Bertrand, led an army to aid him in establishing the "Peace of God" in le Puy.
In 982, as the widow of her second husband, Raymond, count of Toulouse, she wed Louis, son of King Lothair of France. The two were crowned King and Queen of Aquitaine at Brioude by her brother Bishop Guy of le Puy. The marriage lasted just over a year due to the couple being unable to peacefully live together. There was also a significant age difference—he being fifteen and Adelaide-Blanche being over forty. Adelaide found herself in a precarious situation with King Lothair but was rescued by Count William I of Provence[b] whom she subsequently married in c. 984. Count William of Provence died in 994 shortly after becoming a monk at Avignon.
In 1010 king Robert II of France along with Odo II, Count of Blois went to Rome to secure an annulment from Robert's second wife, Constance of Arles, Adelaide-Blanche's daughter by William I. Pope Sergius IV, a friend to the Angevin counts, upheld the marriage and additionally upheld Adelaide's struggle to maintain control of lands at Montmajour Abbey. These lands, at Perth, had been donated by Count William I of Provence with his wife Adelaide-Blanche, as well as by a previous donation by William's father, Boson. A dispute over these lands arose by four brothers, sons of Nevolongus, who pope Sergius threatened with excommunication if they did not withdraw their claim. The claim was withdrawn and the lands remained under the control of Adelaide-Blanche acting as regent for her son William II of Provence.
It has been suggested that she married a fifth time, to Otto-William, Count of Burgundy, whose second wife was named Adelaide. However, it is disputed whether his wife Adelaide was the same as Adelaide-Blanche.
Adelaide-Blanche died in 1026, aged approximately eighty-six. The location of her death was probably at Avignon, since the year of her death is recorded by Arnoux, a monk of the abbey of Saint-André, near Avignon. She was buried in Montmajour Abbey, near Arles, considered at the time as the burial place of the family of counts of Provence.
Marriages and children
- She married first, c. 955, Stephen, Count of Gévaudan. Children of this marriage were:
- Her second marriage was to Raymond III, Count of Toulouse and Prince of Gothia, in 975. He died in 978. She had by him at least one child:
- She married, as her third husband, Louis V of France. The two were crowned King and Queen of Aquitaine, but the marriage ended in annulment.
- As her fourth husband she married, c. 984, William I of Provence Together they had:
- The majority of historians refer to her as Adélaïde d'Anjou, for example see Stasser (1997). Bernard Bachrach refers to her as Adelaide-Blanch throughout his book Fulk Nerra (1993), and in his article 'Henry II and the Angevin Tradition', Albion, 16, 2, (1984), p. 117 n. 35 in writing of Ermengarde-Gerberga of Anjou states that Angevins were known to give daughters two names, giving her aunt Adelaide-Blanche (the subject of this article) as an example, without explaining that his novel theory has no contemporary documentation. Constance Bouchard, in Those of My Blood (2001) consistently refers to her as Adelaide-Blanche, parroting Bachrach. In Europäische Stammtafeln (citations below) she is correctly called either Adelaide or Adelaide (Blanche). At least two chronicles, the Chronicle S. Albin and the Chronicle S. Maxent. call her Blanche, See: Norgate, Eng. Under the Angevin Kings, Vol. 1 (1887), p. 191. In the work Rodulfi Glabri Historiarum libri quinque, Ed. & Trans. John France (2002), on pp. 16–17 n. 5 she is referred to as "Adelaide, also called Blanche" while on pp. 106–7 n. 5 she is called "Adelaide-Blanche." Also see the reference to the letter by pope Benedict VIII addressing her as Countess Adelaide, "cognomento Blanche" in the note below. The name Adelaide-Blanche has clearly become the preferred version of her name among a subset of modern historians. Nevertheless Adelaide-Blanche was not her contemporary name; her given name was Adelaide and the "pet" name/nickname used by her closest family and friends was Blanche. At the height of her political power, she is explicitly named as the still living 'Adelaix' in a 992 charter of her son William III and his wife Emma.
- Rodulfus Glaber had a somewhat different version. That Lothar's son Louis was wed to a woman from Aquitaine (Adelaide also called Blanche), and she wanting a separation and being a clever woman lured her young husband to Aquitaine where she deserted him and returned to her own family; that it was Lewis who was rescued by his father king Lothar. See: Rodulfi Glabri Historiarum libri quinque, Ed. & Trans. John France (2002), on pp. 16–17 & n. 5.
- Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III Teilband 1 (Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, Marburg, Germany, 1984), Tafel 116
- Constance Brittain Bouchard, Those of My Blood: Constructing Noble Families in Medieval Francia (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2001), p. 23
- Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, Marburg, Germany, 1984), Tafel 1
- Bernard S. Bachrach, 'The Idea of the Angevin Empire', Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Winter,1978), p. 296
- Bernard S. Bachrach, Fulk Nerra the Neo-Roman Consul, 987-1040 (University of California Press, 1993), p. 9
- Jerome Kroll, Bernard S. Bachrach, Medieval Dynastic Decisions: Evolutionary Biology and Historical Explanation, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History,, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Summer, 1990), p. 9
- Bernard S. Bachrach, Fulk Nerra the Neo-Roman Consul, 987-1040 (University of California Press, 1993), p. 15
- Bernard S. Bachrach, Fulk Nerra the Neo-Roman Consul, 987-1040 (University of California Press, 1993), p. 51
- Kate Norgate, England under the Angevin Kings, Volume 1 (Macmillan & Co., London & New York, 1887), p. 191
- Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, Marburg, Germany, 1984), Tafel 187
- Bernard S. Bachrach, Fulk Nerra the Neo-Roman Consul, 987-1040 (University of California Press, 1993), p. 115
- F de Marin de Carranrais, L'Abbaye de Montmajour. E'tude historique, etc. (Marseille,, 1877), pp. 33–4
- Constance B. Bouchard, Those of My Blood (2001), pp. 24–5; Constance B. Bouchard, "The Origins of the French Nobility: A Reassessment", The American Historical Review, Vol. 86, No. 3 (Jun., 1981), p. 516 n. 42; Bouchard, Sword, Miter, and Cloister: Nobility and the Church in Burgundy, 980-1198, (1987), p. 270.
- Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, Marburg, Germany, 1984), Tafel 59
- Thierry Stasser, "Adélaïde d'Anjou, sa famille, ses unions, sa descendance - Etat de las question", Le Moyen Age 103 (1997): 9-52
- Christian Settipani, La Noblesse du Midi Carolingien (Prosopographia et Genealogica 5, 2004), p. 313, note 2
- Bernard S. Bachrach, Fulk Nerra the Neo-Roman Consul, 987-1040 (University of California Press, 1993), pp. 8,9
- Rodulfus Glaber, The Five Books of the Histories, ed. & trans. John France (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1989), p. 107 n. 5
- Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III Teilband 4 (Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, Marburg, Germany, 1989), Tafel 819
- Thierry Stasser, "Adélaïde d'Anjou, sa famille, ses unions, sa descendance - État de la question", Le Moyen Age 103 (1997): 9-52
- Medieval Lands Project on Adelaide of Anjou
- Baldwin, Stewart, FASG, Adélaïde/Alix alias Blanche of Anjou, Henry Project
Adelaide-Blanche of AnjouBorn: circa 947 Died: 29 May 1026
| Countess of Gévaudan
| Countess of Toulouse
Emma of Italy
| Queen of Aquitaine,
junior Queen of the West Franks
Served alongside: Emma of Italy
Emma of Italy
| Countess and Margravine of Provence
Served alongside: Emilde of Gévaudan
Gerberga of Mâcon
Ermentrude de Roucy
| Countess of Burgundy
Alice of Normandy