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bertha1Bertha of Holland (1055-1093) was married to King Philip I as a peace treaty between the King and Bertha’s stepfather, Robert of Flanders. At this point in history, she was the lowest ranking woman to marry a French king.

After trying to have children for nine years, Bertha gave birth-a to 3 children. Many labeled these births as a miracle saying that the couple’s fertility was only restored due to prayers to Saint Arnulf of Soissons (who, oddly enough is the patron saint of hop-pickers and Belgian brewers.)

Soon after having her 3 children, the King got bored with his wife and began a hot and heavy affair with a married woman named Bertrada of Montfort. King Philip wanted Bertha gone and cited that she was “too fat” despite the fact that he was too obese to ride a horse! (Seriously Bertrada? Her first husband had to be pretty bad if that’s what she left him for.) Philip had every intention of divorcing Bertha to be with Bertrada, but Bertha refused. Things got a lot easier for him when she died within a year of announcing his decision.

Her son, Louis ascended to the throne after Philip died, he was immediately known as Louis The Fat.