Catherine I, also Catherine of Courtenay (25 November 1274 – 11 October 1307), was the recognised Latin Empress of Constantinople from 1283 to 1307, although she lived in exile and only held authority over Crusader States in Greece. In 1301, she became the second wife of Charles of Valois, by whom she had one son and three daughters; the eldest of these, Catherine II of Valois, Princess of Achaea succeeded her as titular empress.
Upon her father's death on 15 December 1283, Catherine inherited his claims to the Latin throne of Constantinople and was recognized as empress by the Latin states in Greece, despite the city having been re-taken by the Empire of Nicaea in 1261.
Catherine was betrothed to three men she never married, including James of Majorca. On 28 February 1301 at the Priory of St. Cloud near Paris, she became the second wife of Count Charles of Valois, son of King Philip III of France. On 23 April 1301, Charles became titular emperor with Catherine until her death in Paris on 11 October 1307 at the age of 32. She was buried at the abbey of Maubuisson the following day, 12 October. Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar served as one of her pallbearers.
By Charles of Valois, Catherine I had four children:
- John, Count of Chartres (1302–1308).
- Catherine II of Valois, Princess of Achaea, titular Empress of Constantinople (before 15 April 1303 – October 1346). She married Philip I of Anjou, Prince of Taranto and had issue.
- Joan of Valois (1304 – 9 July 1363). Married Count Robert III of Artois and had issue.
- Isabella of Valois (1305 – 11 November 1349), Abbess of Fontevrault.
|Ancestors of Catherine I, Latin Empress|
Catherine I, Latin EmpressBorn: 25 November 1274 Died: 11 October 1307
|Titles in pretence|
|Preceded by |
Philip of Courtenay
|— TITULAR — |
Latin Empress of Constantinople
with Charles, Count of Valois (1301–1307)
|Succeeded by |
Catherine of Valois