Marie of Champagne

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Marie of Champagne
Jan Swerts - Boudewijn of Flanders leaves Mary of Champagne and his daughter Jannekin - 1849-1879 - City Hall of Kortrijk.jpg
Boudewijn of Flanders leaves Marie of Champagne and his daughter Jannekin by Jan Swerts
Spouse(s) Baldwin I of Constantinople
Noble family House of Champagne
Father Henry I, Count of Champagne
Mother Marie of France
Born c. 1174
Died 9 August 1204(1204-08-09)
Acre, Israel

Marie of Champagne (c. 1174 – 9 August 1204) was the Empress consort of Baldwin I of Constantinople.


She was a daughter of Henry I, Count of Champagne and Marie of France, Countess of Champagne.[1] Her maternal grandparents were Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Her brothers were Henry II of Champagne and Theobald III, Count of Champagne. Her sister Scholastique of Champagne married William V of Macon. Both sisters are mentioned by name in the chronicle of Alberic of Trois-Fontaines.

Her uncles were kings Richard I of England, John and Philip II of France.


According to the chronicle of Gislebert of Mons, Marie was bethrothed to "Theobald", son of the count of Flanders and Hainaut in 1179. Gislebert is presumed to have misrecorded the name of Baldwin. Her betrothed was Baldwin VI, son of Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut and Margaret I, Countess of Flanders.

On 6 January 1186, Marie and Baldwin were married.[2] They had two known children:

Empress consort[edit]

On 14 April 1202 her husband left Flanders to join the Fourth Crusade. This Crusade was diverted to Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. The crusaders captured and sacked the city. Then they decided to set up a Latin Empire in place of the fallen Greek one. On 9 May 1204, Baldwin was elected its first emperor making Marie the empress consort.

Marie herself left Flanders to join her husband but decided to visit Outremer first. According to Geoffrey of Villehardouin she could not join him in the crusade earlier as she was pregnant at the time of his departure. After delivery of the child, Margaret and sufficient recovery, she set forth to join him.[3]

She set sail from the port of Marseille and landed in Acre. There she received tribute by Bohemond IV of Antioch.[4] In Acre news reached her of the fall of Constantinople and the proclamation of Baldwin as the new emperor. She wanted to set sail for Constantinople but fell sick and died in the Holy Land.[5]

News of her death reached Constantinople through Crusading reinforcements from Syria. Baldwin was reportedly afflicted by the death of his wife. Villehardouin reports that Marie "was a gracious and virtuous lady and greatly honoured".[6]



  1. ^ The Court of Champagne as a Literary Center, John F. Benton, Speculum, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Oct., 1961), 551.
  2. ^ Countesses as Rulers in Flanders, Karen S. Nicholas, Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, ed. Theodore Evergates, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), 127.
  3. ^ Geoffrey de Villehardouin, "Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople "
  4. ^ Runciman, Steven (1954). A History of the Crusades: Volume 3, The Kingdom of Acre and the Later Crusades. 
  5. ^ Geoffrey de Villehardouin, "Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople "
  6. ^ Geoffrey de Villehardouin, "Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople "


External links[edit]

Media related to Maria of Champagne at Wikimedia Commons

  • Cawley, Charles, Her profile, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy 
Marie of Champagne
House of Champagne
Born: c. 1174 Died: 9 August 1204
Title last held by
Theresa of Portugal
Countess consort of Flanders
Title next held by
Beatrice of Brabant
Royal titles
Preceded by
Margaret of Hungary
as Byzantine Empress
Latin Empress consort of Constantinople
Succeeded by
Agnes of Montferrat