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The House of Capet was the royal house of France from 987CE to 1328. When the family came to the French throne power was decentralised, and there seemed little likelihood that the throne would pass from father to son. By the time the line died out in 1328 France had become a centralised government, with a dynastic monarchy firmly entrenched.

It was founded by Hugh Capet, grandson of Robert I of France. He was elected king in 987, in succession to Lothair.

He was married to Adelaide of Aquitaine; his son succeeded him; of his daughters 3 are recorded as marrying other French nobility.

On his accession Hugh had caused his nobles to crown his son, Robert II, born in 972CE, as his successor and on High's death in 996, Robert took the throne. He ruled until his death in 1031. He married three times:

  • in circa. 989, at his father's arrangment, to Susanne (also known as Rosala), Princess of Italy and widow of Count Arnulf II of Flanders. They were divorced a year later
  • in circa 996, to Bertha, Princess of Burgundy and widow of Count Theobald of Blois. The marriage was denounced by Pope Gregory V on the grounds of consanguinity, and after his death Sylvester II annulled it.
  • in 1001 to Constance of Arles, daughter of the Count of Provence, who gave him several children, among them a king of France, a Duke of Burgundy, and a Countess of Flanders, Adela, who was mother-in-law to William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy and King of England.

On Robert's death, his son Henry succeeded him (as Henry I of France and he ruled until 1060. He also married three times: two Matildas, one the daughter of Emperor Conrad II, the other the daughter of the Margrave of Frisia, but both died, he then married Anne of Kiev and they had three sons and a daughter.

Henry's son, Philip I, carried on the Capetian rule, taking the throne in 1060, until his death in 1108. He was 7 when he took the throne, and for the first time in French history his mother, the dowager queen, ruled as his regent. He married Bertha, daughter of the Count of Holland, in 1072. Twenty years, and several children, later he put her aside in favour of Bertrade de Montfort. She was, unfortunately, the wife of the Count of Anjou and Philip's refusal to abandon her and return to Bertha cost him a series of excommunications, but not the Count's friendship.

In 1108 Philip died and his son Louis (VI; Louis le Gros) came to the throne. He reigned until 1137, and among his children were an archbishop of Reims, a bishop of Paris, a king of France, a Count of Dreux, and the wife, successively, of counts of Boulogne and Toulouse.

He was succeeded by Louis VII, who reigned until 1180. In the year of his coronation, he married Eleanor of Aquitaine.
They had 2 daughters, no sons, and separated after she went with him on Crusade in 1147-8 and was implicated in a possible affair with her uncle, Raymond of Antioch. Their marriage was anulled (whereupon she promptly married the English king's son, Henry, then Count of Anjou. Louis remarried, to Constance, princess of Castile, and she bore him 2 further daughters. His elder daughters married counts of Champagne and of Blois; one of his younger married the son of Henry II and on his death, King Bela of Hungary; and the other, having long been bethrothed to Richard I (and rejected by him because he believed she had been seduced by his father), eventually married the Count of Ponthieu.
After the death of Constance, Louis remaried again, marrying Adele of Champagne who finally gave him the son and successor he had sought, Philip II (Philip Augustus), as well as a daughter who was betrothed to one Byzantine emperor and married to his successor, the lover of one of his generals, and eventually, widowed, his wife also.

King Louis died in 1180: Philip, his son, succeeded him, and married as his queen Isabelle of Hainault, thereby bringing the County of Artois into the French royal lands. He went on the Third Crusade, with Richard I of England and the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, but ill-health meant he had to leave the Holy Land early. His queen died, and he remarried, to Ingeborg of Denmark, but he refused to allow her the title of queen, confined her to a convent, and sought to have the marriage annulled by the Pope. He sought a new bride, found Marguerite of Geneva , but she was waylaid en route to him, by Thomas of Savoy, and married to him, on the basis that Philip was already wed. Finally Philip married Agnes of Merania, but this marriage was held bigamous by the Pope, who excommunicated Philip, and eventually Philip took back Ingeborg, and made her his queen.
He incurred the dislike of the Pope (Innocent III) when he failed to support the crusade against the Cathars of the Languedoc, but he avoided any formal sanction because he also did noting to impede it. In 1223 he died, being succeeded by his son by Isabelle, Louis VIII

Louis (known as "the Lion") was married at the age of 12 to Blanche, princess of Castile (neice of John of England. In 1216 the English barons, tired of John, rose and offered the throne to Louis and, with his father's covert approval, Louis invaded and was proclaimed king. He entered London, and was accepted as ruler, and then captured over half the kingdom. Before he could be crowned, however, John died, and was succeeded by the 9-year-old Prince Henry (Henry III). The baronage switched allegiances to the young heir, and Louis was obliged to abandon his campaign and to return to France.
Louis succeeded his father in France but three years later he died, succeeded by his son, Louis, one of his 5 surviving children (a 6th was born posthumously).

Louis IX was 11 when he succeeded to the throne. His mother ruled as Regent during his minority.