Philip I, King of France
Philip I (23 May 1052 – 29 July 1108), called the Amorous, was King of the Franks from 1060 to 1108, the fourth from the House of Capet. His reign, like that of most of the early Capetians, was extraordinarily long for the time. The monarchy began a modest recovery from the low it reached in the reign of his father and he added to the royal demesne the Vexin and Bourges.
Philip was born 23 May 1052 at Champagne-et-Fontaine, the son of Henry I and his wife Anne of Kiev. Unusually for the time in Western Europe, his name was of Greek origin, being bestowed upon him by his mother. Although he was crowned king at the age of seven, until age fourteen (1066) his mother acted as regent, the first queen of France ever to do so. Baldwin V of Flanders also acted as co-regent.
Following the death of Baldwin VI of Flanders, Robert the Frisian seized Flanders. Baldwin’s wife, Richilda requested aid from Philip, who was defeated by Robert at the battle of Cassel in 1071.
Philip first married Bertha in 1072. Although the marriage produced the necessary heir, Philip fell in love with Bertrade de Montfort, the wife of Fulk IV, Count of Anjou. He repudiated Bertha (claiming she was too fat) and married Bertrade on 15 May 1092. In 1094, he was excommunicated by Hugh of Die, for the first time; after a long silence, Pope Urban II repeated the excommunication at the Council of Clermont in November 1095. Several times the ban was lifted as Philip promised to part with Bertrade, but he always returned to her, but in 1104 Philip made a public penance and must have kept his involvement with Bertrade discreet. In France, the king was opposed by Bishop Ivo of Chartres, a famous jurist.
Philip appointed Alberic first Constable of France in 1060. A great part of his reign, like his father’s, was spent putting down revolts by his power-hungry vassals. In 1077, he made peace with William the Conqueror, who gave up attempting the conquest of Brittany. In 1082, Philip I expanded his demesne with the annexation of the Vexin. Then in 1100, he took control of Bourges.
It was at the aforementioned Council of Clermont that the First Crusade was launched. Philip at first did not personally support it because of his conflict with Urban II. Philip’s brother Hugh of Vermandois, however, was a major participant.
Philip died in the castle of Melun and was buried per his request at the monastery of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire – and not in St Denis among his forefathers. He was succeeded by his son, Louis VI, whose succession was, however, not uncontested. According to Abbot Suger:
… King Philip daily grew feebler. For after he had abducted the Countess of Anjou, he could achieve nothing worthy of the royal dignity; consumed by desire for the lady he had seized, he gave himself up entirely to the satisfaction of his passion. So he lost interest in the affairs of state and, relaxing too much, took no care for his body, well-made and handsome though it was. The only thing that maintained the strength of the state was the fear and love felt for his son and successor. When he was almost sixty, he ceased to be king, breathing his last breath at the castle of Melun-sur-Seine, in the presence of the [future king] Louis… They carried the body in a great procession to the noble monastery of St-Benoît-sur-Loire, where King Philip wished to be buried; there are those who say they heard from his own mouth that he deliberately chose not to be buried among his royal ancestors in the church of St. Denis because he had not treated that church as well as they had, and because among those of so many noble kings, his own tomb would not have counted for much.
Philip‘s children with Bertha were:
Constance (1078 – 14 September 1126), married Hugh I of Champagne before 1097 and then, after her divorce, to Bohemund I of Antioch in 1106.
Louis VI of France (1 December 1081 – 1 August 1137).
Henry (1083 – died young).
Philip‘s children with Bertrade were:
Philip, Count of Mantes (1093 – fl. 1123), married Elizabeth, daughter of Guy III of Montlhéry Fleury, Seigneur of Nangis (1095 – July 1119) Cecile (1097 – 1145), married Tancred, Prince of Galilee and then, after his death, to Pons of Tripoli.