Matilda of Béthune

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Matilda of Béthune
Spouse(s) Guy, Count of Flanders
Noble family House of Bethune
Father Robert VII, Lord of Béthune
Mother Elisabeth of Morialmé
Died 8 November 1263(1263-11-08)
Buried Abbey of Flines-lez-Raches

Matilda of Béthune (died 8 November 1263), heiress of her father Robert VII, Lord of Béthune, was a countess consort of Flanders, wife of Guy, Count of Flanders and mother of his successor Robert, Count of Flanders, known as Robert of Béthune after his mother.

Background[edit]

Matilda, also referred to as Mathilde or Mahaut, was born about 1230, the first child of Robert VII, Lord of the castle and town of Béthune and Advocate of the Abbey of St. Vaast at Arras, who was a major landowner and one of the twelve peers of Flanders. Her mother was Elizabeth, widow of Nicholas I, Lord of Condé, and daughter of Arnold IV, last Lord of Morialmé (fr). Robert and Elizabeth had two further daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah.[1]

Marriage[edit]

About the age of 16, Matilda was engaged to Guy of Dampierre, who was made co-ruler of Flanders by his widowed mother Margaret II, Countess of Flanders alongside her and his elder brother William III of Dampierre, who died in 1251. In recognition of this important match for his eldest daughter, Robert of Béthune endowed her with the major part of his lands and titles.[1]

In October 1245, she still under age and unmarried, he made her heir to the ancient lands of his ancestors outside Béthune, the Pays de l'Alleu (fr) in which he held power of life and death. The marriage contract was signed on 2 February 1246 and the wedding then took place in Béthune. 0n 24 June 1248 Robert and Elizabeth wrote a letter to Guy and Matilda confirming that the two would inherit his lands and titles, which happened shortly after when news reached France of Robert's death.[1]

Matilda then became Lady of Béthune, of Dendermonde, of Richebourg and of Warneton, as well as Advocatess of the Abbey of Saint Vaast at Arras. As her husband, Guy called himself Lord of these holdings and Advocate, which he was doing by October 1249.[1] In their 15 years together, she and Guy had eight children:[1]

Death and legacy[edit]

Matilda died on 8 November 1264 and was buried in a tomb of black marble in the Chapel of Saint Hubert within the abbey church of Flines-lez-Raches, her husband being placed beside her later. He remarried in 1265 and had eight more children.[1]

Matilda's descendants, who include popes, cardinals and bishops in the church and emperors, kings, and princes in civil life, are found throughout Europe's royal and noble houses.[1] For example, she was 10th great-grandmother of Mary, Queen of Scots and 22nd great-grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g (French) Du Chesne, André (1639). "Histoire de la Maison de Béthune". Paris. p. 220 et seq. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
Vacant
Title last held by
Beatrice of Brabant
Countess of Flanders
1246-1263
Vacant
Title next held by
Isabelle of Luxembourg