Margaret of Provence, queen of France (died 21 December 1295)
|Margaret of Provence, |
from a fifteenth-century
While Berengar was himself related to the kings and queens of Aragon and Castile, Beatrice of Savoy was noted as a skilled diplomat and as a skillful ruler in her own right. These were skills that her daughters learned and used well.
Notably, all four of Berengar and Beatrice's daughters became queens:
Margaret of Provence was married to Louis IX of France in 1234. As queen of France, Margaret was the daughter-in-law of a woman we have already met this year, Blanche of Castile.
Two years later, in 1236, Eleanor of Provence (died 1291) was married to King Henry III of England, thus becoming queen of England.
|This head, in the Muniment Room of|
Westerminster Abbey, is believed to
represent Eleanor of Provence,
Beatrice (died 1267), who inherited Provence from her father, was married to Charles I of Anjou (Louis IX's brother) in 1246. According to one story, when she and her husband were in Paris for a Christmas gathering in 1254, when all four sisters and their spouses were together, the elder sister, Queen Margaret, refused to seat Beatrice with the sisters who were queens--because Beatrice was not a queen. Charles promised to make Beatrice a queen--he kept his promise by invading and conquering Sicily. He became king of Sicily in 1266, making Beatrice the queen of Sicily on 12 February of that year. She enjoyed her title only briefly, dying in September 1267.
|Beatrice of Provence,|
from the fourteenth-century
Bible of Naples
For a wonderful biography of all four sisters, see Nancy Goldstone's Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe.
There is an excellent selection of letters from and to Margaret of Provence at Epistolae: Medieval Women's Latin Letters; for access, click here. For Eleanor of Provence's letters, click here. Only one letter from Sanchia survives, though several letters to her survive; click here. (There are no letters to or from Sanchia among those on Epistolae.)
Margaret Howell's scholarly biography of Eleanor of Provence, queen of England, is also available: Eleanor of Provence: Queenship in Thirteenth Century England.