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Infanta Teresa, Countess of Flanders

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Infanta Teresa, Countess of Flanders

For other similarly named people, see Teresa of Portugal (disambiguation).

Theresa of Portugal
Countess consort of Flanders
Tenure 1183–1191
Duchess consort of Burgundy
Tenure 1194–1195
Spouse Philip I, Count of Flanders
Odo III, Duke of Burgundy
House House of Burgundy
Father Afonso I of Portugal
Mother Maud of Savoy
Born c. 1157
Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 6 May 1218
(aged 60–61)
Veurne, Flanders
Burial Clairvaux Abbey, Aube
Religion Roman Catholicism

Infanta Theresa of Portugal (Coimbra, c. 1157; – Veurne, May 6, 1218; Portuguese pronunciation: [tɨˈɾezɐ] or [ˈtɾezɐ]), was a Portuguese infanta (princess), being the third daughter of Portuguese 1st King Afonso Henriques and Maud of Savoy. She was a countess consort of Flanders and a duchess consort of Burgundy by marriage.

Biography

Around 1183 she married Philip of Alsace, Count of Flanders, becoming Countess consort of Flanders. Because of the difficulty of pronouncing her name, she changed it to Matilde (Matilda or Mahaut). She has been reported to be Afonso I of Portugal's favourite daughter. In a work by Portuguese historian Maria Roma, she is described as beautiful and as a "prideful woman with a vyril energy", of the fibre of her grandmother Theresa, Countess of Portugal.

Countess of Flanders

Her marriage was celebrated (in the Tournai Cathedral, Bruges) after the death of Elisabeth of Vermandois, first wife of Philip, who hadn't given him any children, and was because Philip needed an heir so that his county wouldn't fall into French hands. For its part, Portugal, a new-born country, managed to secure an important alliance with Flanders, and European recognition. Theresa brought a considerable dowry, something that helped Philip manage his war with France for a couple of more years, before making peace in 1186. A reasonable number of Portuguese immigrants (mainly merchants) also went to Flanders with the infanta.

Matilda lived in one of the most luxurious royal courts of Europe, in which Philip patronized Chrétien de Troyes, author of a famous cycle of Arthurian stories and one of the fathers of the Holy Grail theme in literature. However, like Elisabeth of Vermandois, Matilda never gave birth, and after Philip's death, the county went to his sister Margaret I, Countess of Flanders.

Duchess of Burgundy

After Philip's death in August 1191, she would marry again, this time to Odo III, Duke of Burgundy, in 1193. She interceded favourably with the king of France, for the marriage of her nephew Infante Ferdinand of Portugal with her grand-niece Joan, Countess of Flanders. Her second marriage produced no children, and so, she ended up being repudiated by the Duke, so that he could marry Alice of Vergy. She returned to Flanders and would be instrumental in arranging the marriage of her nephew Ferdinand to her first husband's grandniece Joan. She died when her carriage accidentally fell into a marsh near Veurne where she drowned.

She is celebrated in Bruges every year.

Ancestors

Royal titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Elisabeth of Vermandois
Countess consort of Flanders
1183–1191
Vacant
Title next held by
Marie of Champagne
Vacant
Title last held by
Béatrice of Albon
Duchess consort of Burgundy
1194–1195
Vacant
Title next held by
Alice of Vergy
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