Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy

For other people named Beatrice of Burgundy, see Beatrice of Burgundy.
Beatrice I
suo jure Countess of Burgundy
Reign 22 January 1148 – 15 November 1184
Predecessor Renaud III
Successor Frederick I & Otto I
Holy Roman Empress; German Queen
Reign 9 June 1156 – 15 November 1184
Coronation 1 August 1167 at Rome
Queen consort of Italy
Reign 9 June 1156 – 15 November 1184
Queen consort of Burgundy
Reign 9 June 1156 – 15 November 1184
Coronation August 1178 at Vienne
Born 1143/5
Died 15 November 1184
Jouhe, near Dôle
Burial Speyer Cathedral
Spouse Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
among others...
Frederick V, Duke of Swabia
Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto I, Count of Burgundy
Conrad II, Duke of Swabia
Philip of Swabia
House Ivrea
Father Renaud III
Mother Agatha of Lorraine
Religion Roman Catholicism

Beatrice of Burgundy (1143 – 15 November 1184) was the only daughter of Renaud III, Count of Burgundy and Agatha of Lorraine. Orphaned as a child, she inherited the County of Burgundy and became one of the most desirable heiresses in France. She then became the second wife of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, and as such Holy Roman Empress, at the age of about 12. Beatrice was active at the Hohenstaufen court, encouraging literary works and chivalric ideals. She accompanied her husband on his travels and campaigns across his kingdom, and he was known to be under Beatrice's influence. She was crowned Holy Roman Empress by Antipope Paschal III in Rome on 1 August 1167, and later as Queen of Burgundy at Vienne in August 1178. Beatrice died young in 1184, 6 years before her much older husband.

The poem Carmen de gestis Frederici I imperatoris in Lombardia, written about 1162, describes Beatrice upon her wedding day:

"Venus did not have this virgin's beauty,
Minerva did not have her brilliant mind
And Juno did not have her wealth.
There never was another except God's mother Mary
And Beatrice is so happy she excels her."

Marriage and issue

Beatrice and Frederick were married on 9 June 1156 at Würzburg.[1] She was 13 years of age; he was 33. By this marriage Frederick obtained control of the vast county of Burgundy. The couple had 11 children, most of whom died young.

They had the following children:

  1. Beatrice (b. 1162 – d. 1174). She was betrothed to King William II of Sicily but died of tuberculosis before they could be married.
  2. Frederick V, Duke of Swabia (b. Pavia, 16 July 1164 – d. 28 November 1170).
  3. Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor (b. Nijmegen, November 1165 – d. Messina, 28 September 1197).[1]
  4. Conrad (b. Modigliana, February 1167 – d. Acre, 20 January 1191), later renamed Frederick VI, Duke of Swabia after the death of his older brother.[1]
  5. Daughter (Gisela?) (b. October/November 1168 – d. 1184), died young.
  6. Otto I, Count of Burgundy (b. June/July 1170 – killed, Besançon, 13 January 1200).[1]
  7. Conrad II, Duke of Swabia and Rothenburg (b. February/Marc 1172 – killed, Durlach, 15 August 1196).[1]
  8. Renaud (b. October/November 1173 – d. in infancy).
  9. William (b. June/July 1176 – d. in infancy).
  10. Philip of Swabia (b. August 1177 – killed, Bamberg, 21 June 1208) King of Germany in 1198.[2][1]
  11. Agnes (b. 1181 – d. 8 October 1184). She was betrothed to King Emeric of Hungary but died before they could be married.

In 1184, Beatrice fell ill with an unknown illness at Jouhe and quickly died, aged about 40. She was buried in Speyer Cathedral, but her heart was buried in Jouhe's old Benedictine abbey.

In literature

Beatrice is a character in Umberto Eco's novel Baudolino, whose (fictional) protagonist is deeply in love with her - a love never consummated except for a single kiss.



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Gislebertus (of Mons), Chronicle of Hainaut, transl. Laura Napran, (Boydell Press, 2005), 55 note245.
  2. (ES)Acercamiento Mutuo de Espana y Alemania, Jaime Ferreiro Alemparte, España y Europa, un pasado jurídico común, ed. Antonio Pérez Martín, (Cometa S.A., 1986), 181.

External links

Media related to Beatrice of Burgundy at Wikimedia Commons

Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy
Born: circa. 1143 Died: 15 November 1184
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Renaud III
Countess Palatine of Burgundy
22 January 1148 – 15 November 1184
with Frederick I (1156-1184)
Succeeded by
Frederick I & Otto I
Royal titles
Title last held by
Richenza of Northeim
Empress consort of
the Holy Roman Empire

Queen consort of Italy

9 June 1156 – 15 November 1184
Title next held by
Constance of Sicily
Title last held by
Adelheid of Vohburg
Queen consort of Arles and Germany
9 June 1156 – 15 November 1184
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