King Henry I of France (d. 1060) & Anna of Kiev
Fawtier, Robert; Butler, Lionel and Adam, R.J., trans. (1960). The Capetian Kings of France Monarchy and Nation 987-1328. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Willcocks, Thomas (Rev.). (1832). History Of Russia, From The Foundation Of The Empire By Rurik, To The Present Time, Compiled From The Best Authorities, And Adapted To The Use Of Schools; With A Map Of The Empire, And A Copious Introduction, To Which Are Appended Questions For Examination. Debonport: W. Byers.
The dynasty of the Capetian kings of France began with Hugh Capet (d. 996), whose kingdom extended little beyond the area around Paris. The marriage that concerns me here occurred early in Capetian history: that of Henry I, grandson of Hugh Capet, who m. 1044/5 as his second wife Anna (or Anne) of Kiev, daughter of Iaroslav I, grand prince of Kiev (d. 20 Feb 1054) and Ingigerd of Sweden (d. 10 Feb 1050), daughter of King Olov II of Sweden.
The origin of the dynasty that ruled much of Russia in the early medieval period is not well understood, but Swedish influence in the region is dated to the 8th century. The general theory is that by the time of Rurik in the mid-9th century, Scandinavians (perhaps Finns) had intermarried with Slavs to produce the ruling dynasty. By the early 10th century, Igor, grand prince of Kiev and his wife St. Olga were in control of Kievan Rus; their son Svyatoslav I, and his son (?) St. Vladimir I, and his son Iarolslav I (The Wise), and subsequent princes continued to rule a large area and command respect throughout Europe and into the East until the Mongol invasion of 1237-1240.
[Table by Rev. Thomas Willcocks, whose account states that Igor was the only son of Rurik, a view not presently held. Willcocks also states, based upon dubious evidence, that St. Vladimir I was an illegitimate son of St. Olga by one of her retainers. Vladimir was actually an illegitimate son of Svyatoslav I by Malusha, a concubine. Therefore, his paternity is uncertain. Vladimir's support of the church might be partly seen as a desire for legitimacy.
Situations of illegitimacy such as this were common in the early medieval period. Difficult as it may be to accept, even Charlemagne and William the Conqueror may not have been sons of their putative fathers.
William the Conqueror's wife, Matilda of Flanders, was possibly a great-granddaughter of Richard II, Duke of Normandy. William's marriage to Matilda initially incurred the displeasure of Pope Leo IX. The usual basis for papal disapproval was that the parties were too closely related. Richard II was William's putative grandfather. It's an example of stabilizing a regime through marriage alliances, and it's likely that William, who was known as William the Bastard, would seek such a marriage, as it would remove a "cloud" over his children. William's most remarkable achievement isn't his successful invasion of England, it's his survival as Duke of Normandy.]
Incursions into Byzantine territory brought the Rus into contact with Constantinople, and ca. 988/9 St. Vladimir I accepted Christianity for his people, although the process moved more slowly than the ruler’s decision might imply. It was Orthodox Christianity, not Catholic, though the formal schism between Constantinople and Rome had yet to take place.
Philippa of Hainault (who is not my ancestor), Queen of King Edward III of England, has been portrayed as a second rate wife for a king; yet she descended from Kings of France, Princes of Antioch, Kings of Hungary, Kings of Poland, Byzantine emperors, Kings of Naples, and Kings of Aragon. And her mother-in-law, Queen Isabella of England, needed the friendship of Phillipa’s father, William III of Hainault and Holland, to launch an insurrection against Isabella’s husband, King Edward II. It’s the real-politik of medieval royal marriage.
Philippa was a descendant of St. Vladimir I through his second great-grandson Mstislav II, and further, might have been descended from St. Vladimir I’s great-grandson Sviatopolk (d. 1113), but the connection is uncertain—was it through a wife or a mistress? And she could claim descent from King Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon monarch of England. Philippa was also a great-granddaughter of King Philip III of France, making her the second cousin of her husband, King Edward III, and Queen Isabella’s first cousin once removed. So while not the daughter of a monarch, Philippa was allied with most of the royal houses of Europe, and was a descendant of Henry II, the first Plantagenet king of England.
King Henry I of France is not considered one of the more luminous Capetian monarchs, and neither is his son, Philip I. But as the grandson of Hugh Capet, Henry I continued to expand the power of the kings of France beyond the marginal confines of his predecessors, and his second great-grandson, Philip II Augustus, is counted as one of the greatest French kings. The Capetian dynasty ended when Charles IV (d. 1328) died without male issue, and the French crown passed to Philip VI, the first monarch of the Valois line.
The French claim their monarchy, which ended with King Louis Philippe I in 1848 (though Napolean III ruled until 1873), was Europe’s oldest, but the Anglo-Saxons were documented rulers in England well before the Capetians.
The Cathedral of St. Denis, located in a suburb of Paris, was the royal burying ground of French kings for hundreds of years. In 1793, during the French Revolution, it was sacked and the contents of the royal tombs scattered or destroyed. It had been France’s Westminster Abbey, but the tombs are now empty shells; the royal remains were collected but impossible to identify, and were placed en masse in a crypt.
The destruction extended across France, and the tombs of King Henry II of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and King Richard I in Fontevrault Abbey were similarly despoiled. All that remains of William the Conqueror is one bone, and how that may be definitely ascribed to him is a mystery. The English Civil War was kinder to the tombs of the great, but many suffered mutilation. It’s the Revisionist History of the streets, practiced since ancient times: to erase traces of unpopular rulers.