Robert II of France
Robert II the Pious (French: Robert II le Pieux) (March 27, 972 - July 20, 1031) was King of France from 996 to 1031. A member of the Capetian Dynasty, Robert II was born on March 27, 972 in Orléans, France, the son of King Hugh Capet (938-996) and Adelaide of Aquitaine (952-1004).
In 987, Robert's father had the nobles crown him as successor at Orléans on December 30th, thereby confirming the house of Capet as rulers of France. After Robert became king he did as his father and crowned his eldest son Hugh Magnus as his successor. But, due to Prince Hugh Magnus' death, another son, Henri, became king.
Robert, despite marital problems that saw him temporarily excommunicated by Pope Gregory V, was a very devout Roman Catholic, hence the name Robert the Pious. He was very musically inclined and was a composer, a chorister, and a poet, making his palace a place of religious seclusion, where he conducted the matins and vespers in his royal robes. Part of Robert's piety at the time, was because he did not tolerate heretics and harshly punished them.
The kingdom Robert inherited was not large, and in an effort to increase his power, he vigorously pursued his claim to any of the feudal lands as they became vacant which action usually resulted in war with a counter-claimant. In 1003, his invasion of Burgundy was thwarted and it would not be until 1016 that he was finally able to get the support of the Church and be recognized as the Duke of Burgundy.
The pious King Robert II made few friends and many enemies, including his own sons. His eldest son Hugh Magnus died suddenly while in rebellion against his father. Robert's surviving sons, Henri I of France and Robert I, Duke of Burgundy, also turned against their father, in a civil war for power and property. King Robert's army was beaten and he retreated to Beaugency outside Paris.
He died in the middle of the war with his sons on July 20, 1031 at Melun, France. He was interred with his third wife, Constance of Arles (973-July 25, 1032) in Saint Denis Basilica. He was succeeded by his and Constance's second son, Henri I.
Robert II married:
- c. 989, 1) Susanne (Rosala), Princess of Italy (c.945 - January 26, 1003). Widow of Count Arnulf II of Flanders, by whom she had issue. She was much older than Robert, and the marriage was arranged by his father. Robert divorced her a year later.
- c. 996, 2) Bertha, Princess of Burgundy (952-1035). Widow of Count Theobald II of Blois. Because she was his cousin, Pope Gregory V would not sanction the marriage and Robert was excommunicated. However, after long negotiations with the new Pope Silvester II the marriage was annulled.
- In 1001, 3) Constance of Arles (973-July 25, 1034) Daughter of a certain Count William, an intriguing and ambitious woman, who made life miserable for her husband by encouraging her sons to revolt against their father. She was the mother of his children:
Children and Descendants
- Advisa, Countess of Auxerre, (c.1003-after 1063), married Count Renaud I of Nevers. Their children inherited the counties of Nevers and Auxerre.
- Hugh Magnus, or Hugh "The Great" co-king (1007-September 17, 1025); Hugh is said to have been married (or betrothed) before his death to Halwisa (Hawisa?) or Elisabeth d'Avoye, dau of one Henri l'Oiseteur, who married 2ndly Hamon, Count of Corbeil. Elisabeth's second husband Hamon was younger brother of William, Count of Corbeil (possibly also known as William, Count of Arques), and as such he was a descendant of Richard I "The Fearless" or "Sans-Peur", Duke of Normany, great-grandfather William II, Duke of Normandy, later styled "The Conqueror". One of Hamon and Elisabeth's sons was apparently Robert Fitzhamon (b ca. 1045-1055 d. 1107) who was an important figure in Anglo-Norman history from 1087 to 1106. However, these marriages and the exact connections of Hamon to the Dukes of Normandy have not been proven.
- Henry I of France (May 4, 1008-August 4, 1060) ancestor of later Kings of France.
- Adela, Countess of Contenance, later Adela, Countess of Flanders (1009-June 5, 1063), married (1) Duke Richard III of Normandy; and (2) Count Baldwin V of Flanders. She is better known as the mother of Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror.
- Robert I, Duke of Burgundy (1011-March 21, 1076) ancestor of the first Capetian house of Burgundy.
- Eudes (1013-1056) died after the failed invasion of Normandy.
- Constance (1014-unknown), married Manasses de Dammartin
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