Maria (Boulogne)

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Maria von Blois (* around 1136, † 1182 ) was a Countess of Boulogne from the House of Blois .

Maria was the daughter of King Stephen of Blois and Countess Mathilda of Boulogne . As a child she became a novice in the Lillechurch priory in Kent , in 1148 she became a nun in Romsey Abbey , of which she was elected abbess in 1155.

In October 1159, Maria's older brother Wilhelm died , from whom she inherited the French county of Boulogne. This made it an attractive marriage item, King Henry II of England arranged for her to marry Matthew of Alsace . He was a brother of the powerful Count Philip of Flanders , whom the English king wanted to bind more closely to himself through this marriage. Contrary to her will, Maria was abducted from her abbey by her future husband and married. Since the marriage did not comply with canon law due to the spiritual consecrations that Mary had already received, the Lord Chancellor Thomas Becket tried unsuccessfully to obtain its annulment. In December 1169, Pope Alexander III ordered the annulment of the marriage, whereupon Maria retired as a nun to the Abbey of Montreuil-sur-Mer , where she also died.

The county of Boulogne was continued by Matthew until his death in 1173, he fell in battle during a revolt against Henry II of England. The two daughters from their forced marriage were legitimized by the Pope.


  • Laura Napran: Marriage and Excommunication: The Comital House of Flanders , in: Exile in the Middle Ages , ed. by Laura Napran and Elisabeth van Houts (Turnhout, 2004)

Individual proof

  1. ^ Materials for the history of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury (MTB) 3, ed. by JC Robertson in Rolls Series 67 (London, 1877), p. 328

Web links

predecessor Office successor
Wilhelm Countess of Boulogne
Matthew of Alsace