Matilda of Brabant, the sister of Marie – who was also her predecessor as Countess of Holland, was born around 1200 as the daughter of Matilda of Boulogne and Henry I, Duke of Brabant.
She was still quite young when she married Henry II, Count Palatine of the Rhine in Aachen in 1212. She was widowed just two years later and their marriage had been childless. She became engaged to Floris IV, Count of Holland on 5 November 1214 but their wedding did not take place until 1224 when Floris (born in 1210) reached marriageable age. Matilda was thus significantly older than her bridegroom.
Matilda and Floris went on to have five or six children together: William (future Count of Holland), Henry (possibly), Floris, Matilda (probably died young), Adelaide and Margaret. Floris was killed during a joust on 19 July 1234, leaving Matilda a widow with five (or six) very young children. Custody of her eldest son was given to her brother-in-law, yet another William. Matilda did not like this at all and it led to conflict in the family. After William’s death, custody briefly passed to another brother-in-law named Otto until Floris came of age in 1239. This also marked the return of Matilda to prominence. She put her seal to his first charters and often witnessed others.
Matilda focussed mainly on religious matters. She founded at least two convents. After being widowed, she mainly lived in ‘s-Gravenzande where she also found a church and a beguinage. She received a statue of the Virgin from her sister-in-law Sophie of Thuringia, the daughter of St. Elisabeth of Hungary. Once, Matilda visited a battlefield with two priests to search for survivors or the dying to support them in their final minutes.
Matilda would survive her eldest son, who also left a minor heir, her grandson Floris who became Floris V, Count of Holland. She died on 22 December 1267 and she was buried in Loosduinen – where her daughter would spark an extraordinary legend.1