Gertrude of Saxony – Twice a Countess

(public domain)

Gertrude of Saxony was born circa 1030 as the daughter of Bernard II, Duke of Saxony and Eilika of Schweinfurt.

Gertrude married Floris I, Count of Holland around 1050 and they had at least six children together. Their children were Dirk (later Count of Holland), Bernhard (died young), Eilika (died young), Othilde (died young), Bertha and Floris (died young). Their marriage turned out to be rather short, and Floris died on 19 May 1061 at the age of around 31. He was buried in Egmond Abbey. Gertrude was left widowed with three young children of which another one would soon follow his father to the grave, and the young boy would be interred with his father.

Gertrude saw no other way to secure her surviving son’s inheritance than to remarry. The chosen husband was Robert, a younger son of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders and they married in 1063. Gertrude and Robert acted as co-regents for Gertrude’s son Dirk. Gertrude and Robert went on to have five children together: Robert (later Count of Flander), Adela, Gertrude, Philip and Ogiva. In July 1070, Robert’s elder brother Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders and soon the succession of Baldwin’s young son Arnulf was disputed. Arnulf had the support of the French King but he was defeated and killed in battle and his uncle Robert was victorious. Robert later made peace with the French King by offering his stepdaughter Bertha in marriage to the King.

Despite Robert’s success in Flanders, he did manage to lose the county of Holland – belonging to his stepson Dirk. It would not be until 1076 that Robert would win back Holland for Dirk. Robert was once again at odds with the French King when he tried to repudiate her and marry another woman. This time Robert would make no peace. There was no battle, but Robert died on 13 October 1093. Gertrude would survive Robert as well and spent the last years of her life in Veurne – today in Belgium. She died there on 3 or 4 August 1113 – over 80 years old.

Even though she lived a long life, very little is known about it. She only appears in a few charters, and her influence at the Flanders court was limited by her mother-in-law Adela of France and later by her daughter-in-law Clementia of Burgundy. Gertrude probably played a limited role in politics, but her grandchildren became Count of Holland, King of France, Princess of Antioch, Count of Flanders, Princesses of Denmark, and Duchess of Lorraine. In 1123 – exactly ten years after her death – her grandsons Dirk VI, Count of Holland and Charles I, Count of Flanders attended a service in the church at Veurne to commemorate her.1

  1. E.H.P. Cordfunke – Gravinnen van Holland

About Moniek Bloks 2765 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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