Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Queen Margaret of Burgundy, Serial Killer - 1315


Margaret of Burgundy (French: Marguerite de Bourgogne) (1290 – 14 August 1315) was the first queen consort of King Louis X of France (also King Louis I of Navarre). Name variations: Matilda of Artois; Mahout or Mahaut Capet; Mahaut of Artois; Mahaut of Burgundy; Mahaut of Flanders.

***

EXCERPT: Many women have been more merciless and heartless than any man could have been, who could have been more merciless and heartless than Queen Margaret of Burgundy, wife of King Louis X. of France? According to the chronicler Brantome, she used to lure the handsomest young officers in the army to her retreat, the Tour de Nesle, and then, “having obtained what she wished of them, caused them to be tied in a sack and thrown into the Seine.”

[Excerpt from: “A Real Female Bluebeard - Strange Tragedy of the  Jealous Beauty and Her Thirty-five Unlucky Sweethearts,” American Weekly (San Antonio Light Sunday magazine section), Aug. 22, 1925, p. 5; referencing: Pierre de Bourdeille, seigneur (and abbé) de Brantôme (c. 1540 – 15 July 1614) “L'Histoire de la Tour de Nesle.”]

***

Wikipedia: Mahaut, Countess of Artois (1268 – October 28, 1329, Paris), also known as Mathilda, was the eldest child (and only daughter) of Robert II, Count of Artois, and Amicie de Courtenay.

Her paternal grandparents were Robert I, Count of Artois, and Matilda of Brabant. Her maternal grandparents were Pierre de Courtenay, Seigneur de Conches, and Perronelle de Joigny.

Her younger brothers were:

• Philip of Artois (1269–1298). Married Blanche de Dreux, daughter of John II, Duke of  Brittany, by whom he had five children.
• Robert of Artois (born 1271). Died young.

In 1291, Mahaut married Otho IV, Count of Burgundy, to whom she bore three children, including two girls who married kings of France:

• Joan II, Countess of Burgundy (1292-1330), married Philip V of France,
• Blanche of Burgundy (1296 ? – 1326), married Charles IV of France and
• Robert, Count of Burgundy (1300–1315).

Mahaut’s daughters Joan II and Blanche, along with their cousin Margaret of Burgundy, were implicated in the Tour de Nesle Affair.

Because of the premature death of her brother Philip in 1298, she inherited the County of Artois at her father’s death in 1302, rather than her nephew Robert III (her inheritance being based upon proximity of blood). Although he repeatedly challenged the decision, her rights to the county were consistently upheld. She was an able administrator and managed to defeat the many rebellions perpetrated by members of the nobility. Her senior administrator was the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arras, Thierry de Hérisson. Upon her death in 1329, the county was inherited by her daughter Joan I, Countess of Burgundy (d. 1329), who was married to Philip V of France.

Mahaut is a major character in Les Rois maudits (The Accursed Kings), a series of historical novels by Maurice Druon. Druon describes her as the poisoner of Louis X and his baby child, to be later poisoned the same way by her lady-in-waiting Béatric d’Hirson, who originally helped with the King’s poisoning.

***

Wikipedia EXCERPT: “The Accursed Kings”

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Allan Massie praised Druon’s “thorough research, depth of understanding and popular touch”, noting that “Druon’s re-creation of medieval Paris is so vivid that it loses nothing in comparison with the evocation of the city in the greatest of French medievalist novels, Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris.” Massie added:

There are murders galore in these books—one queen is strangled, one king poisoned and another thought to be poisoned while still a baby at his christening. There is skullduggery, conspiracy and civil war. There are men of great ability and few scruples, and scarcely a page without dramatic incident ... The characters are impressive, but few are admirable. Almost the only likeable one is the young Siennese banker Guccio—and bankers are important figures in the novels, for Druon never lets us forget that even in his world of kings, barons and knights, it is money that rules, money that oils the wheels of war and politics ... The novels are not recommended to the squeamish, but anyone with strong nerves will delight in them. Few figures in literature are as terrible as the Countess Mahaut, murderer and maker of kings.

***

1 comment: