Alys, Countess of the Vexin
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Alys, Countess of the Vexin
Countess of the Vexin
Countess consort of Ponthieu
Born4 October 1160
SpouseWilliam IV of Ponthieu
IssueMarie, Countess of Ponthieu
FatherLouis VII, King of France
MotherConstance of Castile

Alys of France, (or Alice) Countess of Vexin (4 October 1160 - c. 1220) was a French princess, the daughter of Louis VII, King of France and his second wife, Constance of Castile.[1][2]


Alys was the half-sister of Marie and Alix of France, Louis's children by Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the younger sister of Margaret of France. Just five weeks after Constance died giving birth to Alys, Louis married Adèle of Champagne, by whom he had two further children, including the future King Philip II of France.

In January 1169, Louis and King Henry II of England signed a contract for the marriage between Alys and Henry's son Richard the Lionheart.[3] The 8-year-old Alys was then sent to England as Henry's ward.

In 1177, Cardinal Peter of Saint Chrysogonus, on behalf of Pope Alexander III, threatened to place England's continental possessions under an interdict if Henry did not proceed with the marriage.[4] There were widespread rumors that Henry had not only made Alys his mistress,[5] but that she had a child with him.[6] Henry died in 1189. King Richard married Berengaria of Navarre on 12 May 1191, while still officially engaged to Alys.

Philip had offered Alys to Prince John, but Eleanor prevented the match.[7] Alys married William IV Talvas, Count of Ponthieu, on 20 August 1195. They had two daughters: Marie, Countess of Ponthieu, and Isabelle; and a stillborn son named Jean.

See also


  1. ^ W.L. Warren, King John, (University of California Press, 1978), 26.
  2. ^ Some genealogical sources and websites, relying on P. Anselme, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France, 1725 (vol. 1 p. 77), state that Alys was born in 1170 and therefore that her mother was Louis VII's third wife, Alix de Blois (whom Louis married in 1164). The birth date of 1170 is impossible, however, not only because Alys was betrothed in January 1169, but because she must have been of marriageable age in 1177, when the Pope demanded that she be married immediately.
  3. ^ Robert of Torigny, Chronicles of the reigns of Stephen, Henry II, and Richard I, ed. Richard Howlett, vol. 4 p. 240; John of Salisbury, Letters (ed. W. J. Millor, H. E. Butler) vol. 2 pp. 648-9.
  4. ^ Roger of Howden, Annals 1177.
  5. ^ Gerald of Wales, De instructione principis (p. 91).
  6. ^ Chronica Monasterii de Melsa I 26 (p. 256).
  7. ^ W.L. Warren, King John, 43.


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