How queen Berthe of Holland was locked in prison in Montreuil castle

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Berthe's tower - ©Rainette 62 / CC-BY-SA Berthe's tower - ©Rainette 62 / CC-BY-SA
Montreuil fortifications Fortification Imprisonment Berthe of Holland

Do you see it, this "Queen tower"? It used to be the jail of queen Berthe of Holland, king of France Philippe the First's wife. She died here in 1095... Hey, Philippe divorced from his first wife, the queen Berthe of Holland, in Beaugency abbey. Well, shoo, he kidnapped his mistress Bertrade to her husband the count of Anjou Foulques Réchin.

Foulques was a fat, ugly and foul-smelling… and Philippe was handsome and so proud! The pretty Bertrade made a quick choice. The big Réchin was about to repudiate her, anyway… so, let's make a false kidnapping!

Then, Berthe was locked in Montreuil. The divorce? It went off without a hitch, on the pretext of family connection between her and Philippe… and the poor Berthe died in Montreuil in 1095: well, the king and Bertrade could now marry. A gorgeous and luxurious wedding, to show that now, Bertrade was the new queen!

Popes, who always used to interfere in things that were no concern of them, excommunicated Philippe in 1092. So there. Philippe didn’t care! The Catholic Church was against him? Too bad. He struggled 12 years to make his union authenticate. And Bertrade died in Fontevraud abbey in 1144...


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