Constance of Arles
(986 – 25 July 1034), also known as Constance of Provence, was the third wife and queen of King Robert II of France
. She was the daughter of William I
, count of Provence
and Adelais of Anjou
, daughter of Fulk II of Anjou
. She was the half-sister of Count William II of Provence
In 1003, she was married to King Robert, after his divorce
from his second wife, Bertha of Burgundy
. The marriage was stormy; Bertha's family opposed her, and Constance was despised for importing her Provençal
kinfolk. Robert's friend, Hugh of Beauvais, tried to convince the king to repudiate her in 1007. Constance's response was to have Beauvais murdered by the knights of her kinsman, Fulk Nerra
. In 1010 Robert even went to Rome, accompanied by his former wife Bertha, to seek permission to divorce Constance and remarry Bertha. Constance encouraged her sons to revolt against their father, and then favored her younger son, Robert, over her elder son, Henri.
During the famous trial of Herefast de Crepon
(who was alleged to be involved with a heretical sect of canons, nuns, and clergy in 1022), the crowd outside the church in Orleans became so unruly that, according to Moore:
- At the king's command, Queen Constance stood before the doors of the Church, to prevent the common people from killing them inside the Church, and they were expelled from the bosom of the Church. As they were being driven out, the queen struck out the eye of Stephen, who had......