Adela of France

Adela of France,[a] known also as Adela the Holy or Adela of Messines; (1009 – 8 January 1079,[citation needed] Messines), was, by marriage, the duchess of Normandy (January – August 1027), and countess of Flanders (1035–1067).

Adela of France
Countess of Flanders
Born1009
Died(1079-01-08)8 January 1079
Messines
Burial
Benedictine Convent of Messines
SpouseRichard III, Duke of Normandy
Baldwin V, Count of Flanders
IssueBaldwin VI, Count of Flanders
Matilda, Queen of England
Robert I, Count of Flanders
HouseCapet
FatherRobert II, King of France
MotherConstance of Arles

FamilyEdit

Adela was the second daughter of King Robert II of France and Constance of Arles.[1] She is usually identified with Adela who in January 1027 married Duke Richard III of Normandy.[2] The marriage was short-lived for on 6 August of that same year Richard III suddenly died.[2] This identification is in doubt as Adela was sent in infancy to be raised in the Flemish court.[3] Adela married Count Baldwin V of Flanders in 1028.[4]

Countess of FlandersEdit

Adela managed to gain influence in the policy of Flanders, through her family connections, and was described as very proud of her rank, a pride she passed on to her children.[5] She had been given a higher education than normal for a woman by monks from the St Peter's convent in Ghent and could speak and read Latin, which she taught to her children.[5] It is evident that she was an active political partner of her spouse. Half of the charters issued by him are co-signed by her (often with the title "Sister to the King of France"), which was far from a given thing for a consort.[5] She was particularly active within church reform, such as enforcing the clerical celibacy.[5]

On the death of her brother, King Henry I, the guardianship of his seven-year-old son King Philip I fell jointly on his widow, Anne of Kiev, and on his brother-in-law, Adela's husband, so that from 1060 to 1067, they were regents of France.[6]

Adela had a strong interest in Baldwin V's church reforms and was behind her husband's founding of several collegiate churches. Directly or indirectly, she was responsible for establishing the Colleges of Aire (1049), Lille (1050) and Harelbeke (1064) as well as the abbeys of Messines (1057) and Ename (1063).

Monastic lifeEdit

After Baldwin's death in 1067, she went to Rome, took the nun's veil from the hands of Pope Alexander II and retired to the Benedictine convent of Messines, near Ypres.

In 1071, Adela's third son, Robert the Frisian, planned to invade Flanders even though at that time the count of Flanders was Adela's grandson, Arnulf III. When she heard about Robert's plans, she asked Philip I to stop him. Philip sent soldiers to support Arnulf including a contingent of ten Norman knights led by William FitzOsborn. Robert's forces attacked Arnulf's numerically superior army at Cassel before it could organize, and Arnulf was killed along with William FitzOsborn. Robert's overwhelming victory led to Philip making peace with Robert and investing him as count. A year later, Philip married Robert's stepdaughter, Bertha of Holland, and in 1074, Philip restored the seigneurie of Corbie to the crown.

Adela died in the convent of Messines and was buried at the convent. Honoured as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, her commemoration day is 8 September.[7]

FamilyEdit

Her possible first marriage was in 1027 to Richard III, Duke of Normandy (died 1027). They had no children.

Her marriage in 1028 was to Baldwin V, Count of Flanders (died 1067).[4] Their children were:

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Other forms of her name are Adèle, Adélaïde, Adelheid, Aelis and Alix.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 11
  2. ^ a b Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 79
  3. ^ Stewart, Peter. "Adèle of France". The Henry Project. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 5
  5. ^ a b c d Tracy Joanne Borman: Queen of the Conqueror: The Life of Matilda, Wife of William I, Bantam Books, 2012
  6. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafeln 5, 11
  7. ^ "St. Adela - Saints & Angels".


Adela of France
Born: 1009 Died: 8 January 1079
Preceded by Duchess consort of Normandy
1027
Succeeded by
Preceded by Countess consort of Flanders
1036–1067
Succeeded by