Open main menu



I can't find out it Agnes was ever crowned. If not, she was 'concubine of the King of France', not queen. --MichaelTinkler

You can't be a wife and still not be queen of France ? concubine has connotations of illegitimacy...

well, I have at least one too many 'nots' in my comment. Coronation of queens is tricky in the high middle ages - it actually wasn't all that common - so yes, all legitimate wives were automatically queen. If she had been crowned we *might* call her queen even if she was a concubine - Ingeborg was dismissed without coronation, we know, though evidently after consummation (or that's what Ingeborg always stated in legal briefs). It's a problem. We should probably just delete 'queen' out of caution and leave her as 'wife or concubine...' and let the article explain the ambiguity of the description. --MichaelTinkler

Agnes of MeranEdit

The text contains an error: Duke Berthold IV of Andechs-Meranien was never bishop of Kalocsa, let alone patriarch of Aquileia. That was his son Berthold V, Archbisop of Kalosca 1207-1218, then Patriarch of Aquileia 1218-1251. He was in fact the last surviving male member of that family. Source: Exhibition catalogue Herzöge und Heilige, Andechs Monastery, 1993; ed. Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte 1993, Copyright Bayerische Staatskanzlei

Convent of St Corentin + HeroineEdit

  • Saint-Corentin was a royal abbey in Septeuil, near Mantes-la-Jolie (non Nantes).
  • Agnes of Merania has been made the heroine of a lot of dramatic works and operas. See

--Eva4 (talk) 02:08, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Content From French, Spanish, Dutch versions of this article plus their referenced sources ( catholic encyclopedia + Histoire de Philippe-Auguste by Baptiste Capefigue given by the Bibliotheque National de France)Edit

First Paragraph:

Agnes Maria of Andechs-Merania (1180-1201) was briefly a Queen of France (1196-1200/1201) amid controversy over the validity of her marriage with Phillip II of France. Though reputed to be a renowned beauty, little is known of her person outside her family relations and the ardor with which her husband Philip devoted to her position.

Familial Ties:

Agnes of Merania, called Marie by some French chroniclers, was the daughter of Berthold, Duke of Merania and Count of Andechs. Her mother was Agnes of Rochlitz. Her father’s family holdings were traditionally based at Andeches near Ammersee, Bavaria, but through marriage had come to include the margraveship of Istria (Bertold IV’s father Bertold III under Emperor Frederick Barbossa) and dukedom of Merania (Bertold IV himself). Merania, on the north Dalmation coast of modern day Croatia refers to the Mare Adriaticum that the Holy Roman Empire at then time had come to border. Agnes’ mother, Agnes of Rochlitz was of the Saxon House of Wettin. Together Agnes and Berthold had 8 children. Agnes of

Merania was younger sister of prominent Saint Hedwig of Silesia, and on age with sister Gertrude who briefly served as Queen of Hungary from 1205 to her assasination in 1213.  All of Agnes’ siblings were married or vested into places of prominence.

Agnes’ Life with King Philip II:

Background: Philip’s Previous Marriages:

Philip II was ever anxious to continue the Capetian dynasty and, like his father Louis VII of France, ended up marrying three times. Philip’s first marriage with Isabel of Hainut became threatened with repudiation after only four years when she failed to provide a male heir and her father sided with Philip’s enemies in a dispute over Flanders. When Isabel died in 1190 after having eventually provided him a single male heir, future Louis VIII of France, King Philip sought to fortify his legacy by remarrying.

In Amiens on 14 august 1193, Philip married Ingeborg of Denmark who was then renamed Isambour. For reasons still unexplained, Philip firmly rejected Ingeborg starting the day after his wedding night, which Philip alleged was never consummated. He would continue to reject Ingeborg for the next 20 years.

Three months after the wedding, on November 5, 1193 a council of complacent bishops was convened at Compiegne where a false family tree was brought forth showing that Philip and Ingeborg were related through Philip's first wife. Contemporary Canon law stated that a man and woman could not marry if they shared an ancestor within the last seven generations and the council declared the marriage void. The argument of consanguinity had successfully been presented by Philip’s father Louis VII to annul his marriage to Eleanor of Acquitane and then quickly ignored when Louis married even closer relative Constance of Castile. In the case of Philip however, bride Ingeborg was not content to be set aside.

Ingeborg had ally William of Paris create an alternate genealogy that disproved the alleged consanguinity, and appealed to Pope Celestine III, attesting that her marriage was consummated not once but twice. In a climate of heated disagreements between Philip and Pope Celestine III over land claims and rights to war against England’s King Richard, the Pope was disposed to side with Ingeborg against Philip. On March 13, 1195, Pope Celestin III declared the annulment of Philip’s marriage to Ingeborg illegal.

Philip ignored the pontifical decision and proceeded to seek a new wife. After Repeatedly refusing to return to her native Denmark, Ingeborg was locked away in the tower of Guinette at Etampes.

After a failed marriage attempt wherein Philip’s bride-to-be Margaret of Geneva was kidnapped by then Count of Savoy, William I, Philip finally achieved a third marriage, this time to Agnes of Merania.

Agnes' Life with King Philip:

Agnes as Queen:

The first of June 1196, Agnes became the third wife of Philip II Augustus.

“Agnes was of a ravishing beauty; of blonde hairs descending to her shoulders: the monk of Saint Denis lauds greatly her petite foot, and her hand of dazzling white… the crowd of barons and knights was immense, at the moment when she appeared, mounted on her hackney with her damsels, the jousts were suspended, all eyes were carried towards her, and an approving murmur escalated slowly among the crowd; many young knights, the sons of the counts of Nevers and Montreuil said between themselves, “he is lucky, our sire, to have such a lady, we would gladly take up the colors… As she was used to the life of forests at the court of her father, she distinguished herself by her courage and grace: each time one saw her on a spirited horse pursuing with the agility of an arrow a deer or timid doe: the king and the barons admired the sureness and the force of her shots, and the clerics, full of classical references, compared her to Camille of Virgil.” (Histoire de Philippe-August, Volume 2, Capefigue, Baptiste)

Agnes' Life with King Philip:


Shortly after her marriage to Philip, Agnes of Merania gave birth to 3 children:

Philip Hurepel (1197-1234), count of Clermont and of Boulogne, who in 1216 married Matilda II of Boulogne (v1202-1259) and inherited the county of Boulogne.

Marie(1199-1224), who married in 1206 Philip I, Count of Namur (1175-1212), then in 1213 to Henry I, Duke of Brabant (1165-1235).

A baby boy who died shortly after birth in July 1201.

Agnus' Life with King Philip:

Resumption of Conflict with the Pope:

Pope Celestine III died two years after Agnes’ marriage to Philip on January 8, 1198 without the French King’s renunciation of Agnes or reinstatement of Ingeborg. However the issue of Papal interference in Philip’s struggles with the English Kings (now Richard’s successor John) continued, as did the Papacy’s need to be seen as an authority with temporal power over Monarchs. Celestine III’s successor Innocent III decided to confirm the condemnation of Philip’s annulment and carry out his predecessor’s decision. After unfruitful negotiations, Innocent’s legate Peter of Capua proclaimed an interdict on January 13, 1200 (dutch wikipedia: dec 12 1199) (Catholic Encylclopedia 1198) over the realm of France, thereby suspending all clergical activities.

This situation was deeply unpopular and risked causing riots as well as splitting the clergy into Papal and Monarchal factions. The Bishops of Paris and Senlis, who did publish the interdict had their assets seized by the crown. Action against clergy loyal to the Pope in turn gained Philip and the interdict further unpopularity. In the end Philip submitted, stating his intent to bring Ingeborg back to court before an assembly including Papal legate Octavian at the chateau of Saint Leger at Nesle on September 7, 1200. This resulted in an official lifting of the interdict, but apparently not of Philip’s drive to legitimize Agnes over Ingeborg. Using illness as a pretext for inability to travel, Philip remained at Dourdan for some time with Agnes despite his recent proclamation he would rule at court with Ingeborg at his side. A second council, this time at Soisson, was therefore held in March 1201, but this one too concluded with the failure of Philip to legitimize his break of marriage with Ingeborg. Philip was forced to renounce Agnes.


Although the Pope had demanded that Philip and Agnes never see each other and that Agnes be banished from the kingdom, she was allowed to stay at the castle Poissey on account of her late pregnancy. In July 1201, Agnes of Merania died while giving birth to a third child named Tristan, on account of the tristes circonstances into which he was born. The infant died a few days after birth.

Agnes is inhumed in the royal Abby of St Corentin at Septeuil, a few kilometers south of Nantes. Her death caused the king who loved her immense pain.

Fate of Philip’s Marital Status and Children:

After Agnes’ and her infant’s deaths so soon after Philip’s capitulation to the demands of Innocent III, an amends was reached with the Pope. Though counter-signed by Pierre of Coreil, archbishop of Sens, Philip succeeded in obtaining a bull granting the legitimacy of Agnes’ two remaining children, Philip Herupel and Marie.

After the death of Agnes, Philip had only one son in addition to Louis VIII (begotten through his marriage to Isabel of Hainut), however Philip could not bring himself to take up Ingeborg as his conjugal wife. Philip at first gave indications to ecclesiastical councils who were in support of Ingeborg, now 26, that he would commit the carnal act of marriage, but later reneged on his promise to do so, despite repeated pleas from Innocent to validate the marriage. Ingeborg, though nominally Queen of France, was not fully instated until 1213 at age 38, when she was finally freed of her captivity at Etampes to fulfill Philip’s political ambitions by appeasing Pope Innocent and Ingeborg’s brother Valdemar II. Interim attempts by Philip to marry outside of Ingeborg were frustrated by Philip’s uneasy relationship with Innocent.

In Popular Culture:

Agnes has been made the heroine of a tragedy by François Ponsard, Agnès de Méranie, and of an opera by Vincenzo Bellini, La straniera.

J'odore (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 04:59, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

The text from the sister wikis is of no use without reliable sources to back it up. -- PBS (talk) 20:00, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
Return to "Agnes of Merania" page.