Beatrice of Swabia

For the Queen of Castile, see Elisabeth of Swabia.
Beatrice of Swabia
Holy Roman Empress
Tenure 22 July 1212  11 August 1212
Born April or June 1198
Worms, Kingdom of Germany
Died 11 August 1212(1212-08-11) (aged 14)
Nordhausen, Holy Roman Empire
Burial Braunschweig
Spouse Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor
House House of Hohenstaufen
Father Philip, King of Germany
Mother Irene Angelina of Byzantium

Beatrice or Beatrix of Swabia (April/June 1198 – 11 August 1212) was Holy Roman Empress and German Queen as the first wife of Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor. She was also the shortest-serving Holy Roman Empress, dying three weeks into her marriage.

Early life

Born at Worms in the Duchy of Franconia in April or June 1198, Beatrice was the eldest daughter and first child of Philip of Swabia, king-elect of the Germans (Rex Francorum according to Salic law) and his wife, Irene Angelina. In the summer of 1208, Beatrice was orphaned, Philip having died in June and Irene, renamed Maria, in August, after delivering their youngest child.

Struggles for betrothal

Her father Philip of Swabia had been elected King of Germany on 6 March 1198. Her husband Otto IV was elected rival King of Germany on 29 March 1198. The two rival kings continued to fight until the assassination of Philip on 21 June 1208. The assassin was Count Otto VIII of Wittelsbach who had asked for the hand of either Beatrice or one of her three younger sisters. His request had been denied and he reacted violently.

Otto IV had by this point lost the support of his two main allies, Pope Innocent III and John of England. He had been forced to retire to his hereditary lands near Brunswick. However the assassination left him the only King of Germany. He took advantage to make amends with the remaining members and supporters of the House of Hohenstaufen. Their new alliance was sealed with the betrothal of Beatrice to Otto IV.

On 11 November 1208, Otto IV was again elected King of Germany in Frankfurt. This time he was supported by members of both sides of the previous civil war. He was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Innocent III on 4 October 1209. Beatrice was only eleven years old and remained betrothed to Otto IV, approximately thirty-four years old.

Marriage and death

They were married in Nordhausen on 22 July 1212. The bride was fourteen years old and the groom about thirty-seven. However Beatrice soon fell sick and died only nineteen days after the marriage. She was childless at the time of her death.


External links

Beatrice of Swabia
Preceded by
Constance of Sicily
Empress consort of
the Holy Roman Empire

22 July 1212 – 11 August 1212
Succeeded by
Marie of Brabant
Preceded by
Irene Angelina
Queen consort of Germany
22 July 1212 – 11 August 1212
Succeeded by
Marie of Brabant
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