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Philippe I (May 23, 1052 – July 29, 1108), called the Amorous, was King of the Franks from 1060 to 1108. His reign, like that of most of the early Capetians, was extraordinarily long for the time.

The monarchy began a modest recovery from the low it reached in the reign of his father and he added to the royal demesne the Vexin and Bourges.

Early life

Philippe was born May 23, 1052 at Champagne-et-Fontaine, the son of King Henri I of the Franks and his wife Anne of Kiev, Anne was a daughter of Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Kiev and Prince of Novgorod, and his second wife Ingegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden. Her exact birthdate is unknown; Philippe Delorme has suggested 1027, while Andrew Gregorovich has proposed 1032, citing a mention in a Kievan chronicle of the birth of a daughter to Yaroslav in that year.

Anne of Kiev’s mother (King Philippe It’s grandmother) Ingegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden, also known as Irene, Anna and Saint Anna (1001 – 1050), was a Swedish princess and a Grand Princess of Kiev. She was the daughter of Swedish King Olof Skötkonung and Estrid of the Obotrites. She is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Ingegerd’s father, Olof Skötkonung, sometimes stylized as Olaf the Swede, was King of Sweden, son of Eric the Victorious and, according to Icelandic sources, Sigrid the Haughty. He succeeded his father in c. 995. He stands at the threshold of recorded history, since he is the first Swedish ruler about whom there is substantial knowledge.

King Philippe I’s father was King Henri I (May 4, 1008 – August 4, 1060) was King of the Franks from 1031 to 1060. King Henri was a member of the House of Capét, who was born in Reims, the son of King Robért II of the Franks (972–1031) and Constance of Arles (986–1034).

During the reign of Henri I the royal demesne of the Franks reached its smallest size during his reign, and for this reason he is often seen as emblematic of the weakness of the early Capetians. This is not entirely agreed upon, however, as other historians regard him as a strong but realistic king, who was forced to conduct a policy mindful of the limitations of the French monarchy.

Philippe was an unusual for the time in Western Europe, and was a name of Greek origin, being bestowed upon him by his mother. Although he was crowned king at the age of seven, until age fourteen (1066) his mother acted as regent, the first queen of France ever to do so. Baldwin V of Flanders also acted as co-regent.

Personal rule

Following the death of Baldwin VI of Flanders, Robért the Frisian seized Flanders. Baldwin’s widow, Richilda, requested aid from Philippe, who was defeated by Robért at the battle of Cassel in 1071.

Philippe first marriage was to Bertha of Holland in 1072. Bertha was the daughter of Count Floris I of Holland and Gertrude of Saxony, the daughter of Bernard II, Duke of Saxony and Eilika of Schweinfurt.

Bertha had six siblings and both of her parents came from large families. Her father ruled a territory vaguely described as “Friesland west of the Vlie”, which is where Bertha spent her childhood. Count Floris I was assassinated in 1061, and two years later her mother remarried to Robert of Flanders.

Robert, now known as Robert the Frisian, became guardian of Bertha and her six siblings. In 1070, Robert the Frisian became involved in a war with King Philippe I of the Franks over succession to the County of Flanders. Within two years, Robert and Philippe concluded a peace treaty which was to be sealed by a marriage; Robert’s own daughters were too young, but their half-sister Bertha was just the right age. Robert thus agreed to the marriage of his stepdaughter to King Philippe. Bertha married Philippe, thus becoming Queen of the Franks, probably in 1072.

Although the marriage produced the necessary heir, Philippe fell in love with Bertrade de Montfort, the daughter of Simon I de Montfort and Agnes of Evreux and the wife of Fulk IV, Count of Anjou. He repudiated Bertha (claiming she was too fat) and married Bertrade on May 15, 1092.

In 1094 following the synod of Autun, he was excommunicated by the papal representative, Hugh of Die, for the first time; after a long silence, Pope Urban II repeated the excommunication at the Council of Clermont in November 1095.

Several times the ban was lifted as Philippe promised to part with Bertrade, but he always returned to her; in 1104 Philippe made a public penance and must have kept his involvement with Bertrade discreet. In France, the king was opposed by Bishop Ivo of Chartres, a famous jurist.

Philippe appointed Alberic first Constable of France in 1060. A great part of his reign, like his father’s, was spent putting down revolts by his power-hungry vassals. In 1077, he made peace with William the Conqueror, King of the English and Duke of Normandy who gave up attempting the conquest of Brittany.

In 1082, Philippe I expanded his demesne with the annexation of the Vexin, in reprisal against Robert Curthose’s attack on William’s heir, William II Rufus, King of the English. Then in 1100, he took control of Bourges.

It was at the aforementioned Council of Clermont that the First Crusade was launched. Philippe at first did not personally support it because of his conflict with Urban II. Philippe’s brother Hugh of Vermandois, however, was a major participant.


King Philippe I died in the castle of Melun and was buried per his request at the monastery of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire – and not in St Denis among his forefathers. He was succeeded by his son, Louis VI, whose succession was, however, not uncontested.