Constance of Burgundy


Constance of Burgundy (8 May 1046 – 1093) was the daughter of Duke Robert I of Burgundy and Helie de Semur-en-Brionnais. She was Queen consort of Castile and León by her marriage to Alfonso VI of Castile. She was the granddaughter of King Robert II of France, the second monarch of the French Capetian dynasty. She was the mother of Urraca of León, who succeeded her father in both Castile and León.

Life

In 1065, Constance married her first husband, Hughes II, Count of Chalon. They were married for fourteen years until Hughes' death in 1079, they had no children.

In late 1079, Constance remarried to
Alfonso VI of Castile. He had previously been married to Agnes of Aquitaine, who he had either divorced or had been widowed by. The marriage of Constance and Alfonso initially faced papal opposition, apparently due to Constance's kinship with Agnes (both of them having connections to Burgundy).

Constance was instrumental in having the
Roman Rite replace the Visigothic right in the churches of Castile.

Throughout their marriage endured her husband's infidelities. Alfonso took
Zaida of Seville as a mistress, she was an Iberian Muslim.

Constance and Alfonso had several children but only one of these lived to adulthood
:
Urraca (b. April 1079 – March 8, 1126) Queen of Castile and León in her own right. Married firstly to Raymond of Burgundy, had issue. Married secondly to Alfonso the Battler, no issue.

Constance died in 1093 leaving her fourteen year old daughter and her husband a widower. He went onto marry Zaida, and up to three times after her death.

Burial

After her death, the corpse of Constance was taken to the town of
Sahagun and was buried in the Monastery of St. Facundo and Primitivo, where her husband, King Alfonso VI would be buried along with all his wives.

The grave contained that remains of Alfonso VI was destroyed in 1810 during a fire in the Monastery. The remains of the king and several of his wives, including those of Constance, were collected and kept in the abbot's chamber until 1821. When the religious were expelled from the monastery, they were then deposited by Abbot Ramon Joys in a box that was placed on the south wall of the chapel of the Crucifix, until, in January 1835, the remains were collected and placed in another box, being brought to the archive. The purpose was to place all remaining interests in a new sanctuary that was being built then. However, when the monastery of San Benito was disentailed in 1835, the monks gave the two boxes containing the actual remains to the relative of a priest, who hid them until 1902 were found by the professor Zamora Rodrigo Fernández Núñez.

Today, the remains of Alfonso VI are buried in the Benedictine Monastery at Sahagun, at the foot of the temple, in a stone chest covered with smooth, modern marble and in a tomb near equally plain, lie the remains of several of the king's wives, including those of Constance.