Constance, Queen of Sicily

Constance of Sicily ( * 1154, † November 27, 1198 in Palermo) was Queen of Sicily in its own right. She was posthumously born daughter of King Roger II of Sicily and his third wife Beatrix of Rethel. was the German Empress as the wife of the Emperor Henry VI. and the mother of Emperor Frederick II


Constance was already unusual 30 years old when she was betrothed. This later gave rise to rumors that she had since she was a nun, papal dispensation needed, but also that they had been extremely ugly. The veracity of these stories is of course questionable.

After the death of the male family members Constance became the heir of the kingdom. Her father had died before she was born, was by his five sons, only the youngest alive: William I himself died in 1166, leaving behind only a minor son, William II, who married late and had no children.

Why William so long waited to find a husband for his aunt, is not known. Also it is not clear why he picked at the end of Henry, son and heir of the emperor Frederick Barbarossa, as the Sicilian and German rulers had long been at enmity. The Pope, as an opponent of the Emperor, it could not support to see the great kingdom in the south in German hands, because of the Papal States would have then been in a bracket between Germany and the Norman kingdom. Also among the nobles of the kingdom was stirring resistance to this solution.

Nevertheless Constance was betrothed to Henry in 1184 and married on January 27, 1186 in Milan with him. Wilhelm had the nobility and other important men of his court promise to recognize Constance's successor, if he should die without direct heirs. After his unexpected death in 1189 then his cousin Tancred of Lecce seized the throne - Tancred was illegitimate, but had the support of most of the important men of the kingdom.

Constance's father Frederick Barbarossa died in 1190, in the following year (April 15 ) Henry and Constance were crowned Emperor and Empress. Immediately thereafter, Henry proceeded to enforce his double, imperial law and inheritance rights justified claim to the Sicilian Regnum against Tancred usurpation. The conflict with Henry the Lion and the death of his father, the company had delayed. During this first, failed due to a broken at the siege of Naples epidemic trial of Henry the invasion of Sicily Constance fell by an uprising in Salerno in captivity Tancred, who, however, to Pope Celestine III intervention. released her and turned over to the care of the Pope. On the way to Rome, she escaped and returned to Henry's court. After the unexpected death of Tancred ( February 1194 ) and the reconciliation with Henry the Lion ( March 1194 ) Heinrich succeeded using the huge ransom for the release of imprisoned since 1192 held Richard the Lionheart ( February 1194 ) the conquest of the Sicilian kingdom finally still. In the same year he moved to the south, took possession of the widow and children of Tancred, put his young son William III. from and to. himself on the throne On Christmas Day 1194 he was crowned King of Sicily Regnum.

While Heinrich moved south quickly, Constance followed more slowly because of her pregnancy. On December 26, the day after Henry's coronation in Palermo, she came to the small town of Jesi, near Ancona down with the future Emperor Frederick II.

Constance was 40 years old and after nine years of marriage is still childless. Opponents of the Staufer therefore interspersed soon from doubts about the legality of birth that were decorated in the later sources with ever fancier details. How to by Albert von Stade by medical means a false pregnancy been brought about and then have been foisted his parents a stolen baby. Frederick's true father was according to different specifications doctor been Müller and falconry. After Ricordano Malispini Konstanze have brought in anticipation of such a doubt Friedrich in a tent on the square of the village to the world, with the women of the village as witnesses. A few days later she returned to the market to satisfy the child in public. None of these developments Legend holds modern source criticism was. They have meaning only as sources of anti- Hohenstaufen propaganda, as, conversely, enkomiastischen representations, which react with Peter de Ebulo and the anonymous author of the Gesta Heinrici VI to the birth of the heir to the throne, documenting the Hohenstaufen rule representation. Constance gave instruction to her son Henry 's wife of Conrad of Urslingen, Duke of Spoleto, for instruction, at whose court in this spent his first three and a half Foligno years of life. They even moved to southern Italy, because it was designed as regent of the Sicilian Regnum. After detecting and dismantling of an aristocratic conspiracy, in the Tancred 's widow and her son William III. were involved, the government of Regnum was reorganized on the court day to Bari (Easter 1195). Constance was here or a little later crowned in Palermo to the Queen and entrusted with the regency, in their perception of it by Walter Pagliara, Bishop of Troia, as Chancellor and Konrad von Urslingen as vicar, both proven partisans of Henry, as well as a circle of intimates, was that included the Archbishops of Palermo and Capua supported. You could continue to draw on the Norman administration. Decided she entered the trials Pope Celestine III. contrary, Having regard to the Lehnsvertrag with Tancred of 1192 arbitrarily intervene in the affairs of the Sicilian Regnum. As Heinrich also stressed the close connection they Sicily and the empire.

Henry died unexpectedly in 1197, and Constance had to make do now without the support of her imperial husband. She devoted herself vigorously the rule securing for herself and her son in a difficult environment, where now the Hohenstaufen opponents and the pope threatened to regain the upper hand. In a realistic assessment of the power relations they purposed to initially restricted to the security of the Sicilian Regnum and the defense of their independence in the inherited rule. Therefore let you bring the three-year Friedrich from the Duchy of Spoleto to Sicily, first appointed him as co-regent and left him on 17 May 1198 Palermo crowned King of Sicily. Units, Henry VI. had forged between the government of Sicily and the empire, they broke up in the name of his son. They also renounced his claim to the German crown and placed it under the protection of Pope Innocent III .. In order to strengthen their position, they banished the unpopular national foreign partisans of Henry Walter Pagliara, Mark Ward of Annweiler and Konrad von Urslingen, especially since these now own power interests seemed to pursue, from the Regnum. Mark Ward eventually became outlawed. Your son let them educate as Sicilians and sought for him primarily the position as king of Sicily, but without abandoning their own imperial title. Also on his title rex Romanorum as they waived only with the coronation in Palermo under the influence of the choice of Philip of Swabia, as it was to avoid a splitting of the Hohenstaufen Annex. In a clear recognition of the fact that it is now far more than ever rely on to come to terms with the papacy, Constance took after her husband's death immediately enter into negotiations with the Holy See on. This subject, however, and came only after the death of Celestine III. under his successor Innocent III. to completion. The signing of the contract in which it had far-reaching concessions have to wrest that deprived the kings almost any impact on the church and the occupation of church offices in Regnum, did not live to Konstanze, however. On November 27, 1198, she died unexpectedly at the age of 44 years. She was buried her husband in the Cathedral of Palermo. The regency for her infant son, who had thus become an orphan and an uncertain future looked forward, took Pope Innocent III not allow. , Determined the possible opportunity to enforce the interests of the papacy being missed.


Dante puts Konstanze in his Divine Comedy to paradise (thus the story, she was a nun, supported ):