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Marie of France, Duchess of Brabant

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Title: Marie of France, Duchess of Brabant  
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Subject: Agnes of Merania, Philip II of France, Arthur I, Duke of Brittany, Adèle of Champagne, Affligem Abbey, Duchess of Brabant
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Marie of France, Duchess of Brabant

Duchess of Brabant
Reign 22 April 1213 – 5 September 1235
Elisabeth, Countess of Cleves
Marie of Brabant
House House of Capet (by birth)
House of Reginar (by marriage)
Father Philip II of France
Mother Agnes of Merania
Born 1198
Died 15 August 1238
Burial Affligem Abbey

Marie (1198–1238) was a daughter of Philip II of France and his disputed third wife Agnes of Merania. She was a member of the House of Capet.

Early life and legitimacy

In order to marry Agnes, Marie's father Philip had to get a divorce from his neglected second wife Ingeborg of Denmark. Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) refused to grant Philip a divorce. Philip still did remarry though. His first choice was Marguerite of Geneva, but they did not marry because Thomas I of Savoy captured her on her way to Paris, claiming that Philip was already married to Ingeborg. Philip then married Agnes in 1196. Agnes gave birth to Marie and then to her brother, Philip I, Count of Boulogne.

Innocent III declared Philip's marriage to Agnes null and void, as he was still married to Ingeborg. He ordered the King to part from Agnès; when he did not, the Pope placed France under an interdict in 1199. This continued until 7 September 1200. Due to pressure from the Pope and from Ingeborg's brother, King Valdemar II of Denmark (1202–41), Philip finally took Ingeborg back as his Queen in 1213. Marie and her brother became bastards. However Marie and Philip were legitimized by the pope in 1201 at the request of the king.[1][2]

Marie's mother, Agnes died in 1201, heartbroken.


Marie was betrothed twice before she married.[3] Her first betrothal was in 1200 to Prince Alexander of Scotland (future King Alexander II) the pair were only two years of age. Alexander succeeded as King aged sixteen in 1214, his engagement to Marie had been broken off around 1202 and he married Joan, daughter of John of England instead.

Marie's second betrothal was to Arthur I, Duke of Brittany, who was fighting against John for the Kingdom of England. Marie's father recognised Arthur's rights to many French lands but recognised John as the rightful King of England. Marie and Arthur were betrothed in 1202 but never married due to Arthur's disappearance and supposed death which John was blamed for.

During a war with France, Philip I of Namur was imprisoned and only bought his freedom by marrying Marie and sending his nieces as envoys to the royal court of France. This insulted the barons of Flanders and Hainault and they revolted and forced him to give up the regency.

The marriage did not produce children, Philip had designated his nephew Philip of Courtenay as heir. Philip died in 1212.

With the death of her first husband, Marie was able to remarry. She married April 22, 1213 in Soissons to Henry I, Duke of Brabant. This was a second marriage for them both, Henry had been widowed three years earlier by his first wife Mathilde of Flanders.

The couple had two daughters:

  1. Elizabeth (d. October 23, 1272), married in Leuven March 19, 1233 Count Dietrich of Cleves, Lord of Dinslaken (c. 1214–1244), married 1246 Gerhard II, Count of Wassenberg (d. 1255)
  2. Marie, died young

Marie died on 15 August 1238 and is buried at the Affligem Abbey. Her husband died eleven years later and was succeeded by his son, Henry II, Duke of Brabant.[4]



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