Alternate History

Adele of France (The Kalmar Union)

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Queen of France
Reign 19th May, 1147 - 16th December, 1156
Predecessor Robert III
Successor Simon
Spouse Robert of Dreux
Issue 3 daughters
House Capet
Father Philip II of France
Mother Matilda of Champagne
Born April, 1126
Paris, France
Died 16th December, 1156
Dreux, France

Adele was the first crowned Queen Regant of France, a position, though challenged by war, would effectively lead to the abandonment of Salian Law in France.

The only surviving daughter of Philip II and Matilda of Champagne (it is recorded that a younger sister died in infancy), Adele was married young to Robert, Count of Dreux. Dreux was a strategic lordship on the border with Normandy and such a close link with the crown was a powerful incitement to the Dreux family. By the time Philip II decided to go on crusade in 1145 Robert was virtually in control of the French army and, well-liked, had the confidence of many other nobles.

While Philip II was out of Europe on crusade his young son Robert was crowned co-king. Whilst the young co-King fell under his uncle Louis' influence, Robert of Dreux pursued a not particularly successful war against Champagne and his and Adele's influence could not be brought to bear on the unrest in Paris. Louis' baleful dictatorship was soon brought to an end however and Robert of Dreux would take much more interest in Parisian politics.

As it was, Robert III died in 1147 of dysentery. With the help of Adele's grieving mother, Robert of Dreux argued his wife was the only legitimate choice (with her uncles and cousins either exiled, presumed dead or infants) in such a turbulent time, though made it very clear she would the one in charge. The bishops and the barons quickly demurred, they could see the sense in keeping the power of the crown close to Philip II. Adele had her coronation, certain voices complained, and then everyone quickly went back to the business of praying for Philip II's swift victory over the heathens of the East or machinations against France's many enemies.

King Philip II's crusade was not going to end well however, he would die at the Siege of Damascus in 1148. News reached Paris by the autumn. Unsure of the exact protocol a closed session of bishops and nobles that Adele should now rule 'solely and under her own authority' but were apparently unhappy at the decision. Other nobles, not consulted, were unhappy too. Chief among them; Simon of Orge, a distant cousin of Adele, who championed another cousin, a young pawn named Peter, as rightful king. Civil war was not far behind. Even Peter's death in 1152 did nothing to dampen Simon's cause, he simply made himself the rightful king. After all, he could claim direct descent from Hugh Capet.

Simon would succeed in capturing Paris in 1154, deposing Adele and seizing the crown for himself. The war did not end there however. Robert of Dreux was still undefeated and drove Simon out of Paris in June 1156. In September Simon would die not far from Robert's castle at Dreux. Reinstalled, Adele would only enjoy her second reign briefly. She died in childbirth in December. Simon would have the last laugh; Adele and Robert had only had daughters and the nobles were unwilling to consider another Queen, a young and unmarried one at that, on the throne; Simons' son Robert would be crowned.

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