Irene Angelina

Irene Angelina

Irene and Philip, after a 16th-century mural painting in the Lorch Abbey Church
Queen consort of Sicily
Reign 1193
Queen consort of the Germans
Reign 1198–1208
Born c. 1181
Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Died 27 August 1208 (aged 2627)
Hohenstaufen Castle, Holy Roman Empire
Burial Lorch Abbey
Spouse Roger III, King of Sicily
Philip, King of Germany
Issue Beatrix, Holy Roman Empress
Maria, Hereditary Princess of Brabant
Kunigunde, Queen of Bohemia
Elisabeth, Queen of Castile
House Angelos
Father Isaac II Angelos

Irene Angelina (Greek: Εἰρήνη Ἀγγελίνα; c. 1181 – 27 August 1208), was a Byzantine princess member of the Angelos dynasty and by her two marriages Queen of Sicily in 1193 and Queen of Germany from 1198 to 1208.

She was the second daughter of Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angelos and his first wife, an unknown Palaiologina? who became nun with the name Irene.

Marriage and issue

Irene was born in Constantinople, her father Isaac II inaugurated his reign with a decisive victory over the Norman invaders on the Balkans in the 1185 Battle of Demetritzes. In 1193 he and King Tancred of Sicily arranged Irene's marriage with Tancred's eldest son, Roger. Roger was declared co-king, but died on 24 December 1193, shortly before his father's death on 20 February 1194. Sicily was claimed by Tancred's aunt Constance and her husband, Emperor Henry VI. After he had conquered the Sicilian kingdom, Irene was captured on 29 December 1194 and was married on 25 May 1197 to Henry's younger brother, Duke Philip of Swabia. In Germany, she was renamed Maria.

After the Emperor had died on September 28, Philip was elected King of the Romans in Mühlhausen on 8 March 1198. Queen Irene's father, who had been deposed in 1195, urged her to get Philip's support for his reinstatement; her brother, Alexius, subsequently spent some time at Philip's court during the preparations for the Fourth Crusade. She thus had an early influence on the eventual diversion of the Crusade to Constantinople in 1204. Rivalled by the Welf scion Otto IV, Philip was able to stable his rule over the German kingdom. On 21 June 1208, he was killed by the Bavarian Count Palatine Otto VIII of Wittelsbach, leaving Irene widowed a second time.

Philip and Irene had seven children, two sons (Reinald and Frederick) who died in infancy and four daughters:

After the murder of her husband, Irene - who was pregnant at the time - retired to Hohenstaufen Castle. There, two months later on 27 August, she gave birth to another daughter (called Beatrix Posthuma). Both mother and child died shortly afterwards. She was buried in the family mausoleum in the Staufen proprietary monastery of Lorch Abbey, along with her daughter and sons. Her grave was destroyed and cannot be reconstructed.

In his poem on King Philip's Magdeburg Christmas celebrations, the minnesinger Walther von der Vogelweide described Irene as rose ane dorn, ein tube sunder gallen (Middle High German for "rose without a thorn, a dove without gall").


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Irene Angelina
Born: c.1181 Died: 1208
Royal titles
Preceded by
Sibylla of Acerra
Queen consort of Sicily
Served alongside: Sibylla of Acerra
Succeeded by
Sibylla of Acerra
Preceded by
Constance of Sicily
Queen consort of Germany
Succeeded by
Beatrice of Swabia
Preceded by
Constance of Hungary
Duchess consort of Swabia
Succeeded by
Constance of Aragon
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