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Heinrich VII (c. 1273–August 24, 1313), also known as Heinrich of Luxembourg, was Count of Luxembourg, King of the Romans (or Rex Romanorum) from 1308 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1312. He was the first emperor of the House of Luxembourg.

Born around 1273 in Valenciennes, he was a son of Count Henri VI of Luxembourg and Béatrice from the House of Avesnes. Raised at the French court, he was the lord of comparatively small properties in a peripheral and predominantly French-speaking part of the Holy Roman Empire.

It was symptomatic of the empire’s weakness that during his rule as the Count of Luxembourg, he agreed to become a French vassal, seeking the protection of King Philippe IV the Fair of France. During his rule of Luxembourg, he ruled effectively, especially in keeping the peace in local feudal disputes.

Heinrich of Luxembourg became caught up in the internal political machinations of the Holy Roman Empire with the assassination of King Albrecht I on May 1, 1308. Almost immediately, King Philippe IV of France began aggressively seeking support for his brother, Charles of Valois, to be elected the next King of the Romans.

Philippe IV thought he had the backing of the French Pope Clement V (established at Avignon), and that his prospects of bringing the empire into the orbit of the French royal house were good. He lavishly spread French money in the hope of bribing the German electors.

Although Charles of Valois had the backing of Heinrich, Archbishop of Cologne, a French supporter, many were not keen to see an expansion of French power, least of all Clement V. The principal rival to Charles appeared to be Rudolph, the Count Palatine.

Given his background, although he was a vassal of Philippe IV the Fair, Heinrich was bound by few national ties, an aspect of his suitability as a compromise candidate among the electors, the great territorial magnates who had lived without a crowned emperor for decades, and who were unhappy with both Charles and Rudolph.

Heinrich’s brother, Baldwin, Archbishop of Trier, won over a number of the electors, including the Archbishop of Cologne, in exchange for some substantial concessions.

Consequently, Heinrich skillfully negotiated his way to the crown, elected with six votes at Frankfurt on November 27, 1308. The only elector who did not support him was Heinrich, King of Bohemia. Heinrich was subsequently crowned at Aachen on January 6, 1309.

In July 26, 1309, Pope Clement V confirmed Heinrich VII’s election as King of the Romans.

Heinrich VII in exchange, swore an oath of protection to the Pope, agreed to defend the rights and not attack the privileges of the cities of the Papal States, and also agreed to go on Crusade once he had been crowned emperor.

Pope Clement V agreed to crown Heinrich emperor at Candlemas in 1312. Heinrich VII was the first emperor since the death of Friedrich II on December 13, 1250, ending the Great Interregnum of the Holy Roman Empire.

Heinrich VII was married in Tervuren July 9, 1292 to Margaret of Brabant, who was the daughter of Johann I, Duke of Brabant and Margaret of Flanders, the daughter of Guy of Dampierre and his first wife Matilda of Béthune.

Marriage

Her marriage to Heinrich VII was arranged to settle a long-standing dispute with the Duke Johann of Brabant over the Duchy of Limburg, with the duke abandoning his claim to Limburg at the time Margaret’s marriage took place. By all accounts, the marriage proved to be happy.