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Maria of Brabant, Holy Roman Empress

Holy Roman Empress and German Queen
The basics
Occupation Nobility
Country Germany
AKA Maria van Brabant
Date of birth Leuven
Date of death 1260 Leuven
Mother: Matilda of Flanders Duchess of Brabant
Sister(s): Adelaide of Brabant Matilda of Brabant Countess of Holland Margaretha van Brabant Élisabeth de Brabant
Spouse: Otto IV Holy Roman Emperor William I Count of Holland
Brother(s): Godfrey Lord of Gaesbeek Henry II Duke of Brabant
Father: Henry I Duke of Brabant
Authority VIAF id
The details

Marie of Brabant (c. 1190 – May/June 1260) was Holy Roman Empress and German Queen as the second and last wife of Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor.


She was the eldest daughter of Henry I, Duke of Brabant and Maud of Boulogne.

Her paternal grandparents were Godfrey III of Leuven and Margaret of Limburg. Her maternal grandparents were Matthew of Alsace and Marie of Boulogne.

First marriage

On 19 May 1214, Marie was betrothed to Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor. They were married later that year in Maastricht. Marie was about twenty-four years old and Otto approximately thirty-nine.

Otto was at the time engaged in war against a rival King of Germany, Frederick II who also ruled the Kingdom of Sicily. Frederick was a paternal first cousin of Beatrice of Hohenstaufen, first wife of Otto, and a male-line descendant of the House of Hohenstaufen. Loyalists of the House of Hohenstaufen had helped elect Otto because of his first marriage but most had transferred their allegiance to Frederick by this point. Consequently, Marie was Empress of a divided Holy Roman Empire.

On 27 July 1214, Otto fought the Battle of Bouvines against Philip II of France. The Imperial army was decisively defeated and forced to retreat. With his forces decimated and having lost supporters to both death and defection, Otto was forced to withdraw to his private possessions around Braunschweig with Marie. Frederick was again elected King of Germany on 5 July 1215, unopposed this time. Pope Innocent III, who had previously crowned Otto, acknowledged his victory and crowned Frederick King on 23 July 1215.

Marie joined Otto in his retirement. He died at Harzburg castle on 19 May 1218. There were no children from this marriage.

Second marriage

Marie remained a widow for about two years. In July, 1220, she married her second husband William I, Count of Holland. William died on 4 February 1222. She survived him by thirty-eight years but never remarried.

William was survived by at least five children. Genealogists believe all five were born by his first wife Adelaide of Geldern. However, there is some uncertainty on their dates of birth.


Maria of Brabant, Holy Roman Empress
House of Reginar
Preceded by
Beatrice of Hohenstaufen
Empress consort of
the Holy Roman Empire

19 May 1214 – 5 July 1215
Succeeded by
Constance of Aragon
Preceded by
Beatrice of Hohenstaufen
Queen consort of Germany
19 May 1214 – 5 July 1215
Succeeded by
Constance of Aragon
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