She was my 25th great grandmother, and a very interesting lady. First, she must have been extremely beautiful, and secondly she didn’t seem to mind being a bigamist. She was born in 1070, and lived to 14 February 1117.
She was the daughter of Simon I de Montfort and Agnes of Evreux. Her brother was Amaury de Montfort.
The chronicler John of Marmoutier would recount:
‘The lecherous Fulk then fell passionately in love with the sister of Amaury de Montfort, whom no good man ever praised save for her beauty.”
Bertrade and Fulk were married, and they became the parents of a son, Fulk, who became King in Jerusalem.
However, in 1092 Bertrade left her husband to go live with King Philip I of France. Philip married her on 15 May 1092, despite the fact that they both had spouses that were living. He was so enamoured of Bertrade that he refused to leave her even when threatened with excommunication. Pope Urban II did excommunicate him in 1095, and Philip was prevented from taking part in the First Crusade.
According to Orderic Vitalis, Bertrade was anxious that one of her sons succeed Philip, and sent a letter to King Henry I of England asking him to arrest her stepson Louis. Orderic also claims she sought to kill Louis, first through the arts of sorcery and then by poison. Whatever the truth of these allegations, Louis succeeded Philip regardless.. William of Malmesbury says:
“Bertrade, still young and beautiful, took the veil at Fontevraud Abbey, always charming to men, pleasing to God, and like an angel.” Philip died 29 July 1108. She lived on until 1117.
Her son from her first marriage, Fulk V of Anjou, later became King of Jerusalem iure uxoris. The dynasties founded by Fulk’s sons ruled for centuries, one of them in England (Plantagenet), the other in Jerusalem.
With Fulk IV, Count of Anjou:
Fulk of Jerusalem, Count of Anjou and King of Jerusalem (1089/92–1143)
With Philip I of France:
Philip of France, Count of Mantes (living in 1123)
Fleury of France, Seigneur of Nangis (living in 1118)
Cecile of France (died 1145), married (1) Tancred, Prince of Galilee; married (2) Pons of Tripoli