Agnes of Merania, Annulment, Divorce, Ingebog of Denmark, King Philip II of France, Pope Celestine III, Pope Innocent III., Sophie of Minsk, Thomas of Savoy, Valdemar I of Denmark
From the Emperor’s Desk: I wanted to include a mention of King Philippe II Augusté’s next marriage after the death of his first wife, but I thought it deserved its own post.
After the early death of Isabella of Hainaut in childbirth in 1190, King Philippe II Augusté of France decided to marry again. He married Ingebog of Denmark a daughter of King Valdemar I of Denmark and Sofia of Minsk.
Sophia of Minsk was the daughter of Richeza of Poland, Dowager Queen of Sweden, from her second marriage to a man called “Valador”, King in Poloni Land. The identity of her father is uncertain, it was either Volodar of Minsk or Vladimir Vsevolodich, Prince of Novgorod and son of Vsevolod of Pskov. Both of them are of the Rurikid dynasty.
Political reasons for this royal marriage are disputed, but Philippe probably wanted to gain better relations with Denmark because the countries had been on different sides in the schism of the future succession to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire.
King Philippe II Augusté received 10,000 marks of silver as a dowry and the King met her at Amiens on August 15, 1193 and they were married that same day. At the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin, Archbishop Guillaume of Reims crowned both Philippe II Augusté and Ingeborg King and Queen of France.
During the ceremony, Philippe was pale, nervous, and could not wait for the ceremony to end. Following the ceremony, he had Ingeborg sent to the convent of Saint-Maur-des-Fosses and asked Pope Celestine III for an annulment on the grounds of non-consummation. Philippe had not reckoned with Ingeborg, however; she insisted that the marriage had been consummated, and that she was his wife and the rightful queen of France.
The Franco-Danish churchman William of Æbelholt intervened on Ingeborg’s side, drawing up a genealogy of the Danish kings to disprove the alleged impediment of consanguinity.
In the meantime, Philippe had sought a new bride. Initial agreement had been reached for him to marry Margaret, daughter of Count William I of Geneva, but the young bride’s journey to Paris was interrupted by Thomas, Count of Savoy, who kidnapped Philippe’s intended new wife and married her instead, claiming that Philippe was already bound in marriage. Philippe finally achieved a third marriage in June 1196, when he was married to Agnes of Merania from Dalmatia. Their children were Marie and Philippe, Count of Clermont.
Pope Innocent III declared Philippe Augusté’s marriage to Agnes of Merania null and void, as he was still married to Ingeborg. He ordered the king to part from Agnes, and when he did not, the pope placed France under an interdict in 1199. This continued until September 7, 1200. Due to pressure from the pope, Ingeborg’s brother King Valdemar II of Denmark and ultimately Agnes’ death in 1201, Philippe finally took Ingeborg back as his wife, but it would not be until 1213 that she would be recognized at court as Queen.
Philippe’s reconciliation with Ingeborg was not out of altruism because he wished to press his claims to the throne of the Kingdom of England through his ties to the Danish crown. Later, on his deathbed in 1223, he is said to have told his son King Louis VIII to treat her well. Later, both King Louis VIII and King Louis IX acknowledged Ingeborg as a legitimate queen.
After this time, Ingeborg spent most of her time in a priory of Saint-Jean-de-l’Ile which she had founded. It was close to Corbeil on an island in Essonne. She survived her husband by more than 14 years. Ingeborg of Denmark died in either 1237 or 1238 and was buried in the Church of the Order of St John in Corbeil.