Marie of France, Countess of Champagne

Marie of France, Countess of Champagne
Marie of France
Marie's Seal
Countess consort of Champagne
Tenure 1164-1181
Spouse Henry I, Count of Champagne
Henry II of Champagne
Marie of Champagne
Theobald III of Champagne
Scholastique of Champagne
House House of Capet
Father Louis VII of France
Mother Eleanor of Aquitaine
Born 1145
Died March 11, 1198
French Monarchy
Direct Capetians
Hugh Capet
   Robert II
Robert II
   Henry I
   Robert I, Duke of Burgundy
Henry I
   Philip I
   Hugh, Count of Vermandois
Philip I
   Louis VI
Louis VI
   Louis VII
   Robert I of Dreux
Louis VII
   Marie, Countess of Champagne
   Alix, Countess of Blois
   Marguerite, Queen of Hungary
   Alys, Countess of the Vexin
   Philip II
   Agnes, Empress of Constantinople
Philip II
   Louis VIII
Louis VIII
   Louis IX
   Robert I, Count of Artois
   Alphonse, Count of Poitou and Toulouse
   Saint Isabel of France
   Charles I of Anjou and Sicily
Louis IX
   Philip III
   Robert, Count of Clermont
  Agnes, Duchess of Burgundy
Philip III
   Philip IV
   Charles III, Count of Valois
   Louis d'Evreux
   Margaret, Queen of England
Philip IV
   Louis X
   Philip V
   Isabella, Queen of England
   Charles IV
    Joan II of Navarre
    John I
    Joan III, Countess and Duchess of Burgundy
    Margaret I, Countess of Burgundy
    Isabella, Dauphine of Viennois
    Edward III of England
    Mary of France
    Blanche, Duchess of Orléans
Louis X
   Joan II of Navarre
   John I
John I
Philip V
Charles IV

Marie of France (or Marie Capet), Countess of Champagne (1145 – March 11, 1198) was the elder daughter of Louis VII of France and his first wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.



Marie's younger sister was Alix of France.

She was an older paternal half-sister to Marguerite of France, Alys, Countess of the Vexin, Philip II of France and Agnes of France. She was also an older maternal half-sister to William IX, Count of Poitiers, Henry the Young King, Matilda, Duchess of Saxony, Richard I of England, Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany, Leonora of England, Joan of England and John of England.


Marie's parents' marriage was annulled in 1152, and custody of Marie and her sister, Alix, was awarded to their father, King Louis. Their mother, Eleanor, married Henry, Count of Anjou and Duke of Normandy, later King Henry II of England, and so left France. In 1160, when her father, King Louis, married Adele of Champagne, he betrothed Marie and Alix to Adele's brothers. After her betrothal, Marie was sent to the abbey of Avenay in Champagne for her education.

In 1164, Marie married Henry I, Count of Champagne. They had four children:

Marie was left as Regent for Champagne when Henry I went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. While her husband was away, Marie's father died and her half-brother, Philip, became king. He confiscated his mother's dower lands and married Isabelle of Hainaut, who was previously betrothed to Marie's eldest son. This prompted Marie to join a party of disgruntled nobles—including Queen Adele and the archbishop of Reims -- in plotting against Philip. Eventually, relations between Marie and her royal brother improved. Her husband died soon after his return from the Holy Land. Now a widow with four young children, Marie considered marrying Philip of Flanders, but the engagement was broken off suddenly for unknown reasons.

After Henry I's death in 1181, Marie acted as regent until 1187 when her son, Henry, came of age. However, Henry II also went on Crusade and so Marie was regent from 1190 to Henry's death in 1197. She retired to the nunnery of Fontaines-les-Nones near Meaux, and died there in 1198.

Marie is remembered today mainly for her role in the heresy that was the target of the Albigensian Crusade. She was also a patron of literature, including Andreas Capellanus, who served in her court, and Chrétien de Troyes. She was literate in French and Latin and maintained her own library. A deep affection existed between Marie and her half-brother Richard I of England, and his celebrated poem J'a nuns hons pris, lamenting his captivity in Austria, was dedicated to her.


16. Henry I of France
8. Philip I of France
17. Anne of Kiev
4. Louis VI of France
18. Floris I, Count of Holland
9. Bertha of Holland
19. Gertrude of Saxony
2. Louis VII of France
20. Amadeus II of Savoy
10. Humbert II of Savoy
21. Joan of Geneva
5. Adelaide of Maurienne
22. William I, Count of Burgundy
11. Gisela of Burgundy
23. Etiennette
1. Marie of France, Countess of Champagne
24. William VIII of Aquitaine
12. William IX of Aquitaine
25. Hildegarde of Burgundy
6. William X of Aquitaine
26. William IV of Toulouse
13. Philippa of Toulouse
27. Emma of Mortain
3. Eleanor of Aquitaine
28. Boson II de Châtellérault, Viscount of Châtellérault
14. Aimery I de Rochefoucauld, Viscount of Châtellérault
29. Aenora of Thouars
7. Aenor de Châtellerault
30. Bartelmy de l'Isle-Bouchard
15. Dangereuse de L' Isle Bouchard
31. Gerberge de Blaison


  • Wheeler, Bonnie. Eleanor of Aquitaine: Lord and Lady, 2002
  • Evergates, Theodore. Aristocratic Women in Medieval France, 1999

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