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Adeliza of Louvain
Queen consort of the English
Tenure 2 February 1121 – 1 December 1135
Spouse Henry I of England
William d'Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel
Issue
Reynor d'Aubigny
Henry d'Aubigny
Alice, Countess of Eu
Olivia d'Aubigny
Agatha d'Aubigny
William d'Aubigny, 2nd Earl of Arundel
Geoffrey d'Aubigny
House Norman dynasty
House of Louvain
Father Godfrey I, Count of Louvain
Mother Ida of Namur[1]
Born c. 1103
Died 23 April 1151 (aged 48)
Affligem Abbey, Brabant
Burial Affligem Abbey, Brabant

Adeliza of Louvain,[2] sometimes known in England as Adelicia of Louvain,[3] also called Adela and Aleidis; (1103 – 23 April 1151) was queen consort of the Kingdom of England from 1121 to 1135, the second wife of Henry I.[4] She was the daughter of Godfrey I, Count of Louvain, Duke of Lower Lotharingia, Landgrave of Brabant and Count of Louvain and Brussels.

Contents

Marriages

Adeliza married Henry I of England on 2 February 1121, when she is thought to have been in her late teens and Henry was fifty-three. It is believed that Henry only married again because he wanted a male heir. Despite holding the record for the most illegitimate children of a British monarch, Henry had only one legitimate son, William Adelin, who predeceased his father on 25 November 1120 in the White Ship disaster.

Adeliza was reputedly quite pretty and her father was Duke of Lower Lotharingia. These were the likely reasons she was chosen. However, no children were born during the marriage.

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Queen

Adeliza, unlike the other Anglo-Norman queens, played little part in the public life of the realm during her tenure as queen consort. Whether this was personal inclination or because Henry preferred to keep her nearby in the hope she'd conceive, is unknown. She did, however, leave a mark as a patron of literature and several works, including a bestiary by Philip de Thaon, were dedicated to her. She is said to have commissioned a verse biography of King Henry; if she did, it is no longer extant.

When Henry died on 1 December 1135, Adeliza retired temporarily to the Benedictine convent of Wilton Abbey, near Salisbury. She was present at the dedication of Henry's tomb at Reading Abbey on the first anniversary of his death. At about that time, she founded a leper hospital dedicated to Saint Giles at Fugglestone St Peter, Wiltshire.[5]

Second marriage

As she was still young, she came out of mourning before 1139 and married William d'Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel, who had been one of Henry's chief advisors. She brought with her a Queen's dowry, including the castle of Arundel. King Stephen of England created d'Aubigny Earl of Arundel and Earl of Lincoln.

Although her husband was a staunch supporter of Stephen during the Anglo-Norman civil war, her own personal inclination may have been toward her stepdaughter's cause, the Empress Matilda. When Matilda sailed to England in 1139, she appealed to her stepmother for shelter, landing near Arundel and was received as a guest of the former Queen.

Later life

Adeliza spent her final years in the abbey of Affligem (landgraviat of Brabant), which she richly rewarded with landed estates (three English villages called Ideswordam, Westmerendonam and Aldeswurda, probably near to Arundel).

She died in the abbey and was buried in the abbey church next to her father, Godfrey I, Count of Louvain, (d.1139). The abbey necrology situates her tombstone next to the clockwork. An 18th century floor plan of the church shows her tombstone located halfway up the left nave. Her grave was demolished however during the French Revolution (abt. 1798). Her bones had been found and she was reburied in the cloister of the re-erected Affligem abbey.

Family

One of Adeliza's brothers, Joscelin of Louvain, came to England and married Agnes de Percy, heiress of the Percy family.

Although it is clear that the former queen and Joscelin were very close, he may actually have been an illegitimate son of Adeliza's father and thus her half-brother. His children took their name from their mother's lineage, and their descendants include the medieval Earls of Northumberland.

Adeliza also gave a dowry to one of her cousins when she married in England.

Descendants

Seven of Adeliza and William's children were to survive to adulthood. Among them William d'Aubigny, 2nd Earl of Arundel, father to William d'Aubigny, 3rd Earl of Arundel who was one of the twenty-five guarantors of the Magna Carta.

Adeliza also became an active patron of the church during her second marriage, giving property to Reading Abbey in honour of her late husband and to several other smaller foundations.

Notes and sources

  1. ^ The Peerage — Adeliza de Louvain
  2. ^ 'Adeliza of Louvain (c.1103–1151), queen of England, second consort of Henry I' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP, 2004)
  3. ^ Agnes Strickland, 'Adelicia of Louvaine' in The Lives of the Queens of England online at 1066.co.nz: "Mr Howard of Corby castle... calls her Adelicia, for the best of reasons - her name is so written in an original charter of the 31st of Henry I..."
  4. ^ History Timelines
  5. ^ Strickland, op. cit
Adeliza of Louvain
Born: 1103 Died: 23 April 1151
English royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Matilda of Scotland
Queen consort of England
2 February 1121–1 December 1135
Vacant
Title next held by
Matilda of Boulogne

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