Adela of Normandy
Adela of Blois (c. 1062 or 1067 – March 8, 1137?) was by marriage countess of Blois, Chartres, and Meaux. She was a daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders. She was also the mother of both Stephen, King of England and Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester.
Her birthdate is generally believed to have been between 1060 and 1064; however, there is some evidence she was born after her father's accession to the English throne in 1066. She was the favorite sister of King Henry I of England; they were probably the youngest of the Conqueror's children. She was a high-spirited and educated woman, with a knowledge of Latin.
She married Stephen Henry, son and heir to the count of Blois, sometime between 1080 and 1084, probably in 1083. Stephen inherited Blois, Chartres and Meaux in 1089, making him one of the wealthiest men of his day. He was a proud and self-indulgent man, who had no intention of taking the cross until Adela insisted upon it. Stephen reluctantly left to join the First Crusade, along with his brother-in-law Robert Curthose.
Adela and Stephen's children were:
- Guillaume (William)(d.1150), Count of Chartres married Agnes of Sulli (d.aft 1104) & had issue.
- Theobald II of Champagne
- Odo of Blois, died young.
- Stephen of Blois
- Lucia-Mahaut, married Richard d'Avranches, 2nd Earl of Chester. Both drowned on 25 Noveber 1120.
- Agnes of Blois, married Hugh III of Le Puiset
- Eléonore of Blois (d.1147) married Raoul I of Vermandois (d.1152) & had issue they were divorced in 1142.
- Alix of Blois (d.1145) married Renaud (d.1134)III of Joigni & had Issue
- Lithuise of Blois (d.1118) married Milo I of Montlhéry(Divorced 1115)
- Henry of Blois
- Humbert died young.
- Philip (d.1100)Bishop of Chalons
Adela was regent for her husband during his extended absence as a leader of the First Crusade (1095-1098), and when he returned in disgrace it was at least in part at her urging that he returned to the east to fulfill his vow of seeing Jerusalem. She was again regent in 1101, continuing after her husband's death on this second crusading expedition in 1102, for their children were still minors. Orderic Vitalis praises her as a "wise and spirited woman" who ably governed her husband's estates in his absences and after his death.
She employed tutors to educate her elder sons, and had her youngest son Henry pledged to the Church at Cluny. Adela quarrelled with her eldest son Guillaume, "deficient in intelligence as well as degenerate", and had his younger brother Theobald replace him as heir. Her son Stephen left Blois in 1111 to join his uncle's court in England.
Adela retired to Marcigny in 1120, secure in the status of her children. Later that same year, her daughter Lucia-Mahaut, was drowned in the wreck of the White Ship alongside her husband. She lived long enough to see her son Stephen seize the English throne, but died soon after.
- Kimberly LoPrete, "The Anglo-Norman Card of Adela of Blois", Albion 22 (1990)
- Kimberly LoPrete, "Adela of Blois and Ivo of Chartres: Piety, Politics, and the Peace in the Diocese of Chartres", Anglo-Norman Studies 19
- Parsons, John Carmi. Medieval Mothering (New Middle Ages), 1996