Anne of Kiev, Henri I of France, Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich III, King of the English, Kingdom of the Franks, Robert II of France, Royal Demesne of France, William I the Conqueror
Henri I (May 4, 1008 – August 4, 1060) was King of the Franks from 1031 to 1060. The royal demesne of France reached its smallest size during his reign, and for this reason he is often seen as emblematic of the weakness of the early Capetians.
The royal demesne, also known as the crown lands, crown estate, royal domain or (in French) domaine royal (from demesne) of France were the lands, fiefs and rights directly possessed by the kings of France.
While the term eventually came to refer to a territorial unit, the royal domain originally referred to the network of “castles, villages and estates, forests, towns, religious houses and bishoprics, and the rights of justice, tolls and taxes” effectively held by the king or under his domination.
In terms of territory, before the reign of Henri IV, the domaine royal did not encompass the entirety of the territory of the kingdom of France and for much of the Middle Ages significant portions of the kingdom were the direct possessions of other feudal lords.
The belief that Henri I was a weak king 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.
Henri I was a member of the House of Capét, Henry was born in Reims, the son of King Robért II (972–1031) and Constance of Arles (986–1034).
Constance of Arles was the daughter of Guillaume I, Count of Provence and Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou, daughter of Fulk II of Anjou. She was the sister of Count Guillaume II of Provence.
Constance was married to King Robért II, after his divorce from his second wife, Bertha of Burgundy. The marriage was stormy; Bertha’s family opposed her, and Constance was despised for importing her Provençal kinfolk and customs. Robert’s friend, Hugh of Beauvais, count palatine, tried to convince the king to repudiate her in 1007. Possibly at her request 12 knights of her kinsman Fulk Nerra then murdered Beauvais in 1008.
In the early-Capetian tradition, he was crowned King of the Franks at the Cathedral of Reims on May 14, 1027, while his father still lived. He had little influence and power until he became sole ruler on his father’s death 4 years later.
The reign of Henri I, like those of his predecessors, was marked by territorial struggles. Initially, he joined his younger brother Robért, with the support of their mother, in a revolt against his father (1025). His mother, however, supported Robért as heir to the old king, on whose death Henri was left to deal with his rebel sibling. In 1032, he placated his brother by giving him the duchy of Burgundy which his father had given him in 1016.
In an early strategic move, Henri came to the rescue of his very young nephew-in-law, the newly appointed Duke William II of Normandy (who would go on to become William I the Conqueror, King of the English), to suppress a revolt by William’s vassals.
In 1047, Henri secured the dukedom for William in their decisive victory over the vassals at the Battle of Val-ès-Dunes near Caen; however, Henri would later support the barons against William until the former’s death in 1060.
In 1054, William married Matilda, the daughter of the count of Flanders, which Henri saw as a threat to his throne. In 1054, and again in August 1057, Henri invaded Normandy, but lost twice at the battles of Mortemer and Varaville.
Henri had three meetings with Heinrich III, Holy Roman Emperor—all at Ivois. In early 1043, he met him to discuss the marriage of the emperor with Agnes of Poitou, the daughter of Henri’s vassal.
In October 1048, the two King Henri I and Emperor Heinrich III met again and signed a treaty of friendship. The final meeting took place in May 1056 and concerned disputes over Theobald III and the County of Blois.
The debate over the duchy became so heated that Henri accused the emperor Heinrich III of breach of contract and subsequently left. In 1058, Henri was selling bishoprics and abbacies, ignoring the accusations of simony and tyranny by the Papal legate Cardinal Humbert.
In 1060, Henri rebuilt the Saint-Martin-des-Champs Priory just outside Paris. Despite the royal acquisition of a part of the County of Sens in 1055, the loss of Burgundy in 1032 meant that Henri I’s twenty-nine-year reign saw feudal power in France reach its pinnacle.
King Henri I died on August 4, 1060 in Vitry-en-Brie, France, and was interred in the Basilica of St Denis. He was succeeded by his son, Philippe I of Franks, and Henri’s queen Anne of Kiev ruled as regent. At the time of his death, he was besieging Thimert, which had been occupied by the Normans since 1058.
Henri I was betrothed to Matilda of Franconia (c. 1027 – 1034) was a daughter of Emperor Conrad II and Gisela of Swabia from the Salian dynasty. Matilda’s elder brother was Heinrich III, Holy Roman Emperor.
At a meeting with King Henri I in Deville in Lorraine in May 1033, Conrad agreed to marry five-year-old Matilda to the twenty-five year old King Henri. However, before she could marry, she died in early 1034. Her marriage was arranged to confirm a peace compact agreed between King Henri I and Emperor Conrad II.
She was buried in Worms Cathedral.
In 1034 King Henri then married Matilda of Frisia, the daughter of Liudolf, Margrave of Frisia, and Gertrude of Egisheim.
Around 1040, Matilda of Frisia gave birth to a daughter via Caesarian section, but four years later in 1044 both she and her daughter died only weeks apart. Matilda was buried in St Denis Abbey, but her tomb is not preserved.
Casting further afield in search of a third wife, Henri married Anne of Kiev on May 19, 1051. 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.