Adeliza of Louvain, Queen Consort of EnglandAge: 48 years1103–1151
- Adeliza of Louvain, Queen Consort of England
|Birth|| about 1103 29|
|Marriage of parents||Godefroi de Louvain I — Ida de Namur Comtesse de Namur — View this family|
about 1105 (Age 2 years)
|Marriage||Henry I of Normandy, King of England — View this family|
29 January 1121 (Age 18 years)
|Marriage of a parent||Godefroi de Louvain I — Clementia de Bourgogne — View this family|
after 1121 (Age 18 years)
|Birth of a brother||Joscelin de Louvain|
about 1123 (Age 20 years)
|Death of a husband||Henry I of Normandy, King of England|
1 December 1135 (Age 32 years)
|Marriage||William d'Aubigny 1st Earl of Arundel — View this family|
between 1138 and 30 September 1139 (Age 35 years)
|Death of a father||Godefroi de Louvain I|
25 January 1140 (Age 37 years)
|Death of a half-brother||Godefroi de Louvain II|
1142 (Age 39 years)
Adeliza of Louvain
Note: Adeliza or Adelicia of Louvain was the daughter of Godfrey I, Count of Louvain, Duke of Lower Lothar…
|Death|| about 23 April 1151 (Age 48 years)|
|Family with parents|
Marriage: about 1105 —
19 yearsyounger brother
Joscelin de Louvain
Birth: about 1123 49
Death: before 1180 — Egmanton, Nottinghamshire, England
|Father’s family with Clementia de Bourgogne|
Marriage: after 1121 —
Godefroi de Louvain II
|Family with Henry I of Normandy, King of England|
Henry I of Normandy, King of England
Birth: September 1068 41 37
Death: 1 December 1135 — Saint-Denis-en-Lyons, Normandy, France
Marriage: 29 January 1121 — Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, England
|Family with William d'Aubigny 1st Earl of Arundel|
Marriage: between 1138 and 30 September 1139 —
|William d'Aubigny 1st Earl of Arundel + … …|
William d'Aubigny 2nd Earl of Arundel
Birth: before 1150
Death: 24 December 1193
Adeliza or Adelicia of Louvain was the daughter of Godfrey I, Count of Louvain, Duke of Lower Lotharingia, Landgrave of Brabant and Count of Louvain and Brussels and his wife Ida of Chiny, a descendant of the Emperor Charlemagne.
Known as 'the fair maiden of Brabant', Adeliza was renowned for her beauty, in his 'Historia Anglorum' the chronicler Henry of Huntingdon refers to Adeliza's beauty, "A jewel grows pale on you, a crown does not shine. Put adornment aside, for nature provides your adornment."
When William the Atheling, the only legitimate son of King Henry I of England drowned in the sinking of the White Ship on 25 November 1120, Henry urgently needed a male heir to succeed to his throne. The fifty three year old King Henry took the seventeen year old Adelicia as his second wife on 24 January 1121. Henry I's first wife, Matilda of Scotland, had died in 1118. Despite the reputation he had acquired for begetting illegitimate children, Henry's marriage to his first queen had produced only two children, William the Atheling and a daughter Matilda, who had been sent to Germany to marry the Holy Roman Emperor as an eight year old child. After the death of her husband the Emperor, he recalled his daughter, by now known as the Empress, to England. Henry named her as his heiress and made the barons swear fealty to her.
Henry of Huntingdon recorded that the new queen accompanied Henry to London at Pentecost. The fifteen year marriage of Adelicia and Henry never produced children. Unlike Henry's first wife Matilda, Adeliza appears to have played a very passive role. While Matilda issued some thirty-one charters and writs during her reign, during Adeliza's fifteen-year marriage to Henry I she issued one, and she only attested 13 of Henry's many charters, even though they were almost always together.
After the death of her husband the king on 1 December 1135, the throne was usurped by his nephew Stephen of Blois. Adeliza retired to the Benedictine convent of Wilton Abbey, near Salisbury. She attended the dedication of Henry's tomb at Reading Abbey on the first anniversary of his death. At about that time, she founded a leper hospital dedicated to Saint Giles at Fugglestone St Peter, Wiltshire. On the first anniversary of Henry I's death, Adeliza give the manor of Aston to the Abbey of Reading, and endowed them with lands "to provide for the convent and other religious pweaona [sic] coming to the abbey on the occasion of the anniversary of my lord King Henry." She also added the gift of a church a few years later.
Henry I provided generously for his widow, she was given the revenues of Rutland, Shropshire and a large district of London, with possession of the city of Chichester. Henry also gave the manor of Aston to Adeliza "as his queen and wife." Landholdings that were part of Adeliza of Louvain's dower include Waltham in Essex, an estate in south-east England, with areas in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, and Middlesex. She had property in Devon. As a gift from Henry I, she was given a property in Ashleworth, a component of the royal estate of Berkley. In 1126 the whole county of Shropshire was given to her.
Three years after Henry I's death, in 1138, Adeliza married for a second time to William d'Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel, the son of William d'Aubigny and Maud le Bigod. The D'Aubigny's were royal stewards and held an important position at court. The couple lived at Adelicia's castle of Arundel on the Norfolk coast. Although there were no children from her first marriage Adeliza presented her second husband with seven children, Alice, William, Olivia, Reynor, Geoffrey, Henry, and Agatha d' Aubigny. Adeliza and William's descendants include Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, the second and fifth queens of Henry VIII. The descendants of Adeliza and William still own Castle Rising and Arundel Castle to the present day.
England was plunged into a bloody Civil War when Matilda, the daughter and appointed heir of Henry I, challenged her cousin Stephen for the throne. Adeliza received her step-daughter at her home in Arundel, along with Matilda's illegitimate half-brother Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester, the chief supporter of her cause, in defiance of her husband's wishes, William d'Aubigny was a staunch supporter of Stephen.
She later betrayed them both and handed them over to King Stephen, John of Worcester recorded that "she feared the king's majesty and worried that she might lose the great estate she held throughout England." He also mentions Adeliza's attempts to pacify King Stephen, "she swore on oath that his enemies had not come to England on her account but that she had simply given them hospitality as persons of high dignity once close to her."
In 1150, Adeliza left William d'Aubigny to enter the monastery of Afflighem in Flanders. One of her brothers was also living at the monastery. The annals at the monastery mention her death, which occurred in 1151, and her place of burial site is not known with certainty. Some traditions imply she was buried at the monastery of Afflighem, however a donation made by her brother Joscelin of Louvain to Reading Abbey would seem to indicate that she was buried there with her first husband, Henry I.
Adeliza [Adeliza of Louvain] (c.1103–1151), queen of England, second consort of Henry I, was a daughter of Godfrey, count of Lower Lorraine and duke of Brabant (d. 1139), and his first wife, Ide, daughter of Henri (III), count of Namur.Adeliza's birth date is unknown, but the often cited approximate date of 1103 cannot be far wrong, since chroniclers refer to her as puella (a girl) at the time of her marriage to Henry I (1068/9–1135) in 1121, and she bore seven children after1135. Charlemagne was an ancestor of both her parents, a fact that was celebrated by Adeliza's descendants but unknown or irrelevant to contemporaries.
Nothing is known of Adeliza's education, but her later patronage of French poetry suggests early exposure to literature. King Henry, whose first wife had died in 1118, married her soon after his only legitimate son was drowned in 1120, when hestood in urgent need of a male heir. Eadmer of Canterbury reports that Henry's advisers agreed that she had the necessary beauty, morals, and character to become queen of England. In addition to giving Henry the possibility of fathering morechildren, the marriage strengthened England's existing diplomatic alliances within the German empire.
The chronicler John of Worcester states that Adeliza was chosen queen before her wedding and formal coronation, which took place in Windsor on 24 and 25 January 1121. Henry's decision to have the ceremonies performed by the diocesan bishop,Roger of Salisbury (d. 1139), led to a dispute with the archbishop of Canterbury, culminating in the articulation of the archbishop's right to serve as the royal chaplain anywhere in England. In marked contrast to her predecessor, Queen Matilda,Adeliza took little part in governing the realm. Although she attested a few of her husband's charters, and accompanied Henry to Normandy in 1125, 1129, and probably 1131, she never served as a regent, and does not appear as part of the king'scuria. Personal inclination probably contributed to her absence from the public sphere, as did the diminishing need for day-to-day administrative involvement by members of the royal family as Henry's government developed. Adeliza did receive andadminister substantial dower properties, including the county of Shropshire. Several of these properties, such as Queenhithe in London and the custody of Barking and Waltham abbeys, both in Essex, had been held by Henry's first wife and wereclaimed by subsequent queens consort as belonging to them by right of office. Adeliza maintained her own household, bringing several staff members from Lorraine. Her first two chancellors were promoted to bishoprics during Henry's reign, Godfreyto Bath in 1123, and Simon to Worcester two years later. She retained ties to her natal family, giving wedding gifts of land to both a brother and a cousin.
The chronicler Henry of Huntingdon quotes a Latin poem written to celebrate Adeliza's beauty, but she is perhaps best remembered as a patron of French literature. She sponsored Philip de Thaon's Bestiaire, and the Anglo-Norman version of theVoyage of St Brendan was rededicated to her. Geoffrey Gaimar implies that she commissioned a lost verse biography of Henry I from the poet David. But her most significant contribution to the Anglo-Norman realm into which she had married was anegative one: although there is no reason to doubt the fertility of either husband or wife, Adeliza failed to bear the looked-for son to Henry I.
After Henry's death in 1135, and probably after 1137, Adeliza married William d'Aubigny (Pincerna), Henry's butler (d. 1176). William took the title of earl of Arundel after property belonging to the dowager queen. They had seven children whosurvived to adulthood. In 1139 Henry's daughter, the Empress Matilda (d. 1166) landed in Sussex to claim the English throne. William of Malmesbury reports that Adeliza had sent messengers to Normandy guaranteeing the empress's safety, but afterreceiving her at Arundel Castle, she surrendered her to King Stephen when threatened with an army. Adeliza did, however, negotiate a safe conduct allowing Matilda to join her half-brother, Robert, earl of Gloucester (d. 1147), in Bristol.Throughout the rest of the civil war Adeliza and her husband remained loyal to King Stephen.
Like most other aristocratic women of the era, Adeliza patronized a number of religious houses. Among the recipients of her charity were Boxgrove Priory, Sussex, the cathedral church at Chichester, Henry's monastic foundation of Reading, her ownfoundation of the Augustinian priory of Pynham, Sussex, and several leper houses. The date of Adeliza's death is reported in continental sources as 24 March 1151. Her last datable charter was issued in 1150, at which time she had retired to thecontinental monastery of Affligham in Flanders, which had been founded by her father and uncle. The annals of Margam claim that the queen is buried in Affligham, but a charter issued by Adeliza's half-brother Jocelyn in favour of Reading Abbeystates that she was buried there, presumably next to her first husband.