Catherine I
Catherine I
Queen of France
Reign 2nd December, 1258 - 1st September, 1264
Predecessor Philip III
Successor Louis IX
Born 7th January, 1241
Guyancourt, France
Died 3/4th? July, 1304
Orleans, France
Spouse Robert of Orleans
Issue Joanne
House Capet
Father Philip III
Mother Eleanor of Savoy

Catherine I was the only child of Philip III and Eleanor of Savoy and ruled France for a short period in the mid-13th century.

By 1250 it became abundantly clear Philip III would not sire a male heir. Instead of appointing a cousin as his heir he would spend an inordinate amount of time, effort and political capital ensuring his daughter would succeed him (perhaps in an attempt to at least have a potential grandson inherit, without any issues stemming from Salian Law. At an early age she was betrothed to the heir to the wealthy County of Orleans, Robert, a second cousin. The marriage would bring the county decisively into the French realm (when, considering its wealth, there was every possibility it could have begun to ignore Paris' decrees).

Most French nobles kept the promises which Philip had pried out of them, paying homage to the new queen and reaffirming good laws propagated by him. In the parts of Francia which did not follow Paris' lead her succession was merely greeted with indifference, or at worse, disdain. Several counties simply shelved whatever vague promises they had given to Philip and went back to feuding.

France was not above feuding either however. Exploiting Champagne's abandonment of several treaty-promises and, in the midst of its own succession crisis, France would invade the province of Berry which was off and on a Champagnian possession, and had been a French possession for much of the 12th century. This would begin the Berry War which would last in fits and spurts until 1300.

In 1264 her rule fell apart. Robert of Orleans died of dysentery in May during a siege of Vierzon, leaving Catherine widowed with only a young daughter, Joanne. Whilst some began searching for a suitable husband for the queen, many nobles turned to Robert's brother Louis for leadership. Her authority quickly eroded and in September she was forced aside. Louis was crowned in her place.

The deposed queen took a low profile in her deceased husband's castle, running the county and appeared to be generally well looked after. Her daughter was after all, Louis' niece. She would never remarry however. She would die in 1304, outliving Louis IX by two years.

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