INGEBORG OF DENMARK (fr. Ingeburge de Danemark) (born in 1174 - † July 29, 1236, Corbeil, France), the Queen of France, since August 14, 1193 the wife of King Philip II Augustus of France

INGEBORG OF DENMARK (fr. Ingeburge de Danemark) (born in 1174 - † July 29, 1236, Corbeil, France), the Queen of France, since August 14, 1193 the wife of King Philip II Augustus of France


  • Valdemar I the Great, the King of Denmark (1157-1182)


  • Sophia of Polotsk (of Rus), daughter of Richeza (Ryksa) of Poland, the granddaughter of the Polish prince Boleslaw III Wrymouth


The tragic fate of one of the daughters of the Danish king Valdemar I the Great and Sophia Volodarevna (Russian) is known mainly due to her scandalous divorce from the King of France Philip II Augustus. The twists and turns in the biography of the Danish princess, which ultimately led to her many years of imprisonment, perfectly illustrate the dependence of family relations on politics and rapidly changing political environment.

Ingeborg was born in 1174 and was connected with the Rurikovichs through her father, named after her great-grandfather, Vladimir Monomakh, and through her mother, Sophia of Rus, the daughter of a Novgorod or Minsk prince (for more details on the origin, see the biography of Sophia of Rus) [I, p. 125]. Ingeborg's connections with European courts were previously investigated by N. Baugarten [5, p. 23]. She was chosen by the French king Philip II Augustus as his new wife after the death of his first wife. There were political motives behind the marriage: a marriage with one of the sisters of the Danish king Knud IV gave Philip the rights to claim England. The French king intended, together with the Danes, to take a military campaign to the British Isles, taking advantage of the capture of Richard the Lionheart in Austria [4, p.148]. For Knud IV, in turn, his sister's marriage to the French king was also beneficial: through this marriage, he acquired an ally to fight the Emperor Henry VI. The negotiations lasted six months and in the summer of 1193 Ingeborg arrived in France. However, during this time, Richard I was ransomed from captivity and returned to England, thereby completely changing the balance of political forces in Europe. The wedding of the French king and the Danish princess nevertheless took place on August 14, 1193. The very next day Philip II tried to send his new wife back to Denmark. However, Ingeborg refused to comply with her husband's orders and remained in the monastery of Saint Maur de Fosse, which was turned into her residence. In the fall of the same year, Philip II initiated a divorce from Ingeborg in order to marry the daughter of Duke Berthold IV, Agnes of Merania. The main argument for declaring the marriage invalid was that Philip II and Ingeborg were in an impermissible degree of kinship [6, s. 97-103; 7, p. 135-156; 8, 10, s. 97-103]. Bishops declared the marriage invalid, but the Danish royal court refused to accept their decision. By order of Denmark, Abbot Wilhelm de Paraclito compiled the Genealogy of Danish kings, where Ingeborg's matrimonial ties with the Rus ruling dynasty, in particular with Ingeborg of Kiev, the daughter of Mstislav-Harald the Great (in the Genealogy, however, called the daughter of Izyaslav) were especially emphasized. According to D. Dombrowsky, mistakes in the Genealogy were made unintentionally by the author [1, p. 745-748]. Relying on the data of one of the French chroniclers, was also developed the hypothesis of a possible relationship between spouses through Anna Yaroslavna [ibid.]. However, modern French historiography is of the opinion that the marriage was dissolved for foreign policy reasons [2, p. 146-157].

Ingeborg's appeal to Pope Celestine III only aggravated the situation. By order of Philip II, she was placed under arrest at the Chateau Etampes near Paris, where she spent twenty years. In 1196, Philip II married, as he intended, to Agnes of Merania, they had three children. In 1199, Pope Innocent III excommunicated Philip from the church, as he did not recognize his divorce [3, s. 150]. In 1200, Philip accepted Ingeborg as his wife, but soon rejected her again. She managed to finally return from captivity and become queen only in 1213, when Philip II needed an alliance with the Pope for his confrontation with the German emperor Otto IV. There were no children in this marriage, as apparently, the marriage was never consummated.

Ingeborg outlived her husband by more than ten years. After the death of Philip II in 1223, she received 10,000 marks in the possession of Orleans. Moving away from the royal court, she became the abbess of the Abbey of St. John, which belonged to the Hospitallers.

She died on July 29, 1236 in Corbeil.

Recently a popular science biography about her, written by the French medievalist R. Pernu, has been published [9].


She owned Orleans (widow's inheritance) in France in 1223-1236.


● "Psalter of Queen Ingeborg" - a handwritten Psalter with miniatures made by Russian (Greek?) Masters, brought to France by Ingeborg. It is kept in the Chantilly Museum [3, p. 16-21].


I. Diplomatarium Suecanum. Svensk Diplomatarium, 101 / Ed. J.G.
Liljegren. Т. 1: 817–1285. Stockholm, 1829.

II. Wilhelmi abbatis Genealogia regum Danorum // Scriptores minores historiae Danicae medii aevi / Ed. M.Cl.Gertz. T. I. København, 1917–1918.


1.      Dombrovskii D. Genealogiia Mstislavichei. Pervye pokoleniia (do nachala XIV v.) / Per. s pol'skogo i vstup. slovo k rus. izd. K.Iu. Erusalimskogo, O.A. Ostapchuk. SPb., 2015.

2.      Siveri Zh. Filipp-Avgust. SPb., 2018.

3.      Avril F. L’atelier du Psautier d’Ingeburge: problèmes de localisation et de datation // Art, objets d'art, collections: études sur l'art du Moyen Âge et de la Renaissance, sur l'histoire du Goût et des collections: Hommage à Hubert Landais. Paris, 1987. P. 16–21.

4.      Baldwin J.W. Philippe Auguste et son gouvernement – Les fondations du pouvoir royal en France au Moyen Âge, traduit de l’anglais par Béatrice Bonne, préface de Jacques Le Goff, Fayard, 1991

5.      Baumgarten N.Généalogies et marriages occidentaux des Rurikides russes du Xe au XIIIe siècle. Roma, 1927.

6.      Bordonove G. Philippe II Auguste: le Conquérant, 2009.

7.      Bruguière M.-B. Le Mariage de Philippe-Auguste et d'Isambour de Danemark: aspects canoniques et politiques // Mélanges offerts à Jean Dauvillier. Toulouse: Centre
d'histoire juridique méridionale, 1979. Р. 135–156.

8.      Devard J. Des rumeurs au scandale: Étude phénoménologique de la repudiation d’Ingeburge du Danemark // Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes [En ligne]. Vol. 23. 2012.

9.      Pernoud R. Ingeburge de Danemark. Paris, 1989.

10.  Pfaff V. Das kirchliche Eherecht am Ende des 12. Jahrhunderts // Zeitschrict der Savigny-Stiftung fur Rechtsgeschichte: Kanonistische Abteilung. Weimar. Bd. 63. 1977. s. 97–103