|Geoffroy IV “The Fair” Plantagenet (1113-1151)|
Born 24 August 1113 to 28GGF Foulques V
the Young and Ermangarde du Maine, our 27GGF
Geoffroy IV “The Fair”
was Count of Anjou, Maine and Touraine from 1131 to 1151.
At Le Mans, on 17 June 1128, after an amazing tangle of familial and geopolitical machinations, 15-year-old Geoffroy became the husband of 27GGM Matilda Empress1 (1103-1169), ten years his senior but daughter and sole surviving legitimate heir of 28GGF King Henry I Beauclerc of England, in his turn son and successor of 29GGF William the Conqueror2.
In 1129, his father turned the Anjou over to 16-year-old Geoffroy (yes, another teenager), married the daughter of King Baudouin of Jerusalem, and inherited that kingdom when Baudouin died two years later. With the “old” Count out of the way (King Foulques, now of Jerusalem, was only 37), Geoffroy’s vassals decided, singly and in cabals, to test his mettle. One by one, he reduced them to submission.
It was Geoffroy who stuck a sprig of broom (“Plante à genêt”) in his hat for battlefield recognition. The nickname stuck to him, and then to his royal descendants.
When King Henry Beauclerc died in 1135, Stephen of Blois beat Matilda to the throne of England and the Duchy of Normandy, setting off a civil war that restored Normandy to Geoffroy and Matilda.
Geoffroy died at Chateau du Loir 7 September 1151 and is buried in the Cathedral of Le Mans. Matilda carried on the war against Stephen, finally prevailing and installing her son [26GGF] Henry as Henry II Courtmantel Fitz-Empress Plantagenet, the first king in the Plantagenet dynasty. There’s a lot more there, and it all looks different from other angles, but that’ll give you the idea.
1Known as “The Empress Maud“ in the Cadfael stories. Matilda was “Empress” as the widow of “Holy Roman Emperor” Heinrich V, to whom she was betrothed at age eight and married at eleven.
2Commonly known to his contemporaries as “William the Bastard,” son of [30GGF] “Robert the Devil,” Duke of Normandy.
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Updated Feb 2014
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