Louis VII of France marries Adela of Champagne

13 Nov 2020  Fri

Louis VII was Capetian king of France reigning from 1137 to 1180. He pursued a long rivalry, marked by recurrent warfare and continuous intrigue, with Henry II of England.

Louis VII's reign saw the founding of the University of Paris and the disastrous Second Crusade. Louis and his famous counsellor, Abbot Suger, pushed for greater centralization of the state and favoured the development of French Gothic architecture, notably the construction of Notre-Dame de Paris.

The son and successor of King Louis, he married Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in Western Europe. The marriage temporarily extended the Capetian lands to the Pyrenees but was annulled in 1152 after no male heir was produced.

When Louis VII's second wife, Constance of Castile, died in childbirth in 1160, he was devastated and became convinced that he would die young as well, fearing that the country would fall into chaos as he had no male heir. As he was desperate for a son, King Louis married 20-year-old Adela of Champagne five weeks later, on 13 November 1160. Adela's coronation was held the same day. She went on to give birth to Louis VII's only son, Philip II, and to the future Byzantine empress Agnes.

Depicted here is a silver Denier issued under his reign from Bourges mint. The obverse of a coin depicts the crowned, bearded bust. The reverse of a coin depicts lauriate Latin cross.

Image Source: Heritage Auctions

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