Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Alice of Jerusalem-Champagne

Alice (Alix) of Jerusalem-Champagne (d.1246)
Queen of Cyprus, Regent of Jerusalem

Alice was the daughter of Queen Isabella and her second husband Henry of Champagne. She was the sister of Philippa of Champagne, and half sister of Maria of Montferrat, and Sibylla and Melisende of Lusignan.

Alice married (1208) Hugh, son of Amalric of Cyprus/Amalric II of Jerusalem (also her step-brother as his father was her mother's fourth husband), the arrangements being made by her grandmother Maria Comnena and dowry provided by Blanche of Navarre, Countess of Champagne.

Alice was the mother of Henry of Cyprus, and Isabella and at least one other daughter. Her husband Hugh took over government of Cyprus (1210/11) from his sister Burgundia and her husband Gautier de Montbeliard, who were regents during his minority. Both she and her husband were crowned in Nicosia.

Although there is no evidence that their marriage was stormy, her husband Hugh was a young man with a fiery temper, and his relations with the papacy, his vassals, and the church were constantly stormy. Her husband was devoted to providing firm government and order in Cyprus. Hugh went to Acre with troops from Cyprus (Sept 1217) and left for Tripoli with the crusading army (3 Nov 1217) under King Andras (Andrew) of Hungary. After the sudden death of her husband Hugh at Tripoli (10 Jan 1218), Alice acted as regent for her 8 month old son Henry in Cyprus (1218). Alice was also the aunt of Yolanda (1225), the daughter of her half-sister Maria of Montferrat, and titular Queen of Jerusalem.

Alice entrusted the government of Cyprus to her uncle Philip of Ibelin, but relations between the two were far from happy, and she constantly insisted that her wishes not taken into consideration. The open breach was not far in the coming (1223), and Alice retired angry to Tripoli. It was in Tripoli that Alice met and married Bohemond V, the eldest surviving son of Bohemond IV of Antioch. Alice attempted to appoint her new husband as "Bailli" (Constable) - but this was not accepted by the nobles. She then offered the position to Amalric of Barlais, however, John of Ibelin was confirmed in his appointment as "Bailli" of Cyprus (1227).

In Jerusalem, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor was recognized as suzerain but not regent of Cyprus (1228) in his capacity as the husband of the young Queen Yolanda. On the death of Yolanda, Alice travelled to Acre to put forward her claim to Crown of Jerusalem (1229). By now Alice was divorced (1229) on grounds of consanguinity (she and Bohemond were third cousins), and her claims to the throne of Jerusalem were rejected. Alice became reconciled with her Ibelin cousins. She married Ralph, Count of Soissons (1240). As she was the great-aunt of King Conrad of Germany, who succeeded to the throne of Jerusalem but who had failed to come East to accept throne, Alice was entrusted with regency of Jerusalem (1243) - she was then aged 50. The regency passed to her son and heir Henry, King of Cyprus, on her death (1246).

~~~ Melisende (first pub:1998 - Women of History)

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