Ida, Countess of Boulogne

Ida of Boulogne (c.1160-1216), was Countess of Boulogne. She was the eldest daughter of Matthew of Alsace by Marie, Countess of Boulogne. Her maternal grandparents were King Stephen of England and Matilda of Boulogne.

Her mother had been placed in a convent, but was removed in order to marry Matthew. As a consequence, her parent's marriage was rather controversial and they finally divorced in 1170. Her father continued to rule until his death in 1173, when she succeeded.

On the advice of her uncle, Count Philip of Flanders, she married first in 1181 to Count Gerard III of Guelders, but he died the same year. Ida quickly remarried to Berthold IV of Zähringen, but he too died in 1186. According to the historian Lambert of Ardres:

" left without a man, [Ida] indulged herself in worldly delights and pleasures of the body. She fell passionately in love with Arnold II of Guines, and tried as hard as she could to seduce him; or rather, with typical feminine fickleness and deception she feigned that emotion. Emissaries and secret tokens passed back and forth between them as indications of certain love. Arnold either loved her or with masculine foresight and prudence pretended to; for he aspired to the land and dignity of the County of Boulogne once he could gain the Countess' favor through love feigned or true."

This relationship came to naught when Ida was abducted in 1190 by Count Renaud de Dammartin, who carried her off to Lorraine. This was a common enough fate for medieval heiresses. The situation became complicated when Arnold of Guines received messages of enduring love from Ida. He promptly rode to her rescue, only to be captured and imprisoned by friends of Renaud in Verdun. Arnold was only freed due to the intervention of William, Archbishop of Reims. Ida was supposed to have purposely deceived him to lead Arnold into a trap. Whatever the truth, she remained with Renaud and produced a daughter, Matilda II of Boulogne (died 1258).

Preceded by:
Matthew I
Countess of Boulogne
with Matthew II, Gerard, Berthold, and Renaud
Succeeded by:
Matilda II

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