[MR] Wikipedia: Life and Death of Margaret III, Countess of Flanders

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 13 03:24:11 PDT 2019

Noble Friends,

Those of you who follow my posts have probably noticed my interest in the
House Valois Dukes of Burgundy. They, and their families, are a fascinating
bunch who had a major impact on 15th century Europe. One, Philip the Good,
became one of the richest men in Europe, and his court set the style for
every other noble house for many years. But how did the Dukes of Burgundy
get so filthy rich (or "crazy rich" as the new phrase would have it)?
Simple: marriage to a rich heiress, and possibly via massive graft.

That heiress was Margaret III, Countess of Flanders. Margaret held a couple
of other titles as well: Countess of Artois and Countess of Burgundy (the
"Free County of Burgundy", within the Holy Roman Empire, not the Duchy of
Burgundy which was next door in France). Considering that Flanders was one
of the richest mini-states of Western Europe, largely because of the wood
trade, she was quite a prize.

She was married to the young Duke of Burgundy (France) Philip of Rouvres at
the age of five or so in 1355. Philip was killed in riding accident in 1361
with no male relatives, and his marriage unconsumated. After a lot of
back-and-forthing by lawyers, The Duchy of Burgundy passed to the King of
France, John II (aka "John the Good", House of Valois). He settled the
Duchy of Burgundy on his 4th son, Philip the Bold. Philip the Bold married
Philip of Rouvres widow Margaret in 1369. Margaret shouldn't have been
quite so rich, but she was the sole heir of her father Louis II, Count of
Flanders, her brother having died young. When Louis died in 1384, Philip
the Bold picked up all the marbles, so to speak.

As a Prince of the Blood, Philip the Bold sat on the regency council for
the French King Charles VI (aka "The Mad"), and at times served as Regent
himself. He was opposed by another relative, Louis Duke of Orleans. Louis
accused Philip of looting the French treasury. Maybe. Everybody did this
sort of stuff, and Louis was probably busy filling his pockets as well
(when he wasn't making love to the Queen). But between the Duchy of
Burgundy, what Philip the Bold inherited through his marriage, and whatever
he may have stolen, he became one of the richest (and most powerful) men in
France. His wealth set the stage for his grandson, Philip the Good, to
acquire most of the Low Countries (buying Luxembourg for cash!), and became
nearly as rich as God (or at least the Pope).

Margaret's brief biography and a photo of her favorite castle is found at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_III,_Countess_of_Flanders . The bio
hints that she was a remarkable woman of wisdom and many interests, but
like most medieval women is mostly known through the children she produced.
I will have to see if there is book-length bio of her life in English.

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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