m. ABT 1046
Facts and Events
Bertha of Savoy (21 September 1051 – 27 December 1087), also called Bertha of Turin, was the first wife of Emperor Henry IV, and was German Queen and Holy Roman Empress. She is buried in the cathedral of Speyer.
Henry was 15 and Bertha was 14 at their wedding.
She died very young at age 36.
Bertha of Savoy, also called Bertha of Turin (21 September 1051 – 27 December 1087 in Mainz) was the first wife of Emperor Henry IV, and was German Queen and Holy Roman Empress. She is buried in the cathedral of Speyer.
She was a daughter of Otto of Savoy and Adelaide of Susa. Her maternal grandparents were Ulric Manfred II of Turin and Bertha of the Obertenghi
As children, during the lifetime of Emperor Henry III, Bertha and Henry IV were betrothed on 25 December 1055 in Zürich. The wedding took place on 13 July 1066 in Trebur. While Bertha was apparently in love with Henry from the outset, Henry initially viewed his wife with aversion. Although she was apparently a pretty young woman, the Saxon chronicler Bruno, an avowed opponent of Henry IV, reported on the Emperor's continual unfaithfulness: "He had two or three Kebsweiber (concubines) at the same time, in addition [to his wife], yet he was not content. If he heard that someone had a young and pretty daughter or wife, he instructed that she be supplied to him by force. (...) His beautiful and noble wife Bertha (...) was in such a manner hated by him that he never saw her after the wedding any more than necessary, since he had not celebrated the wedding out of free will."
In 1069, Henry began procedures for a divorce, supplying what was for the time an unusually honest reason for the divorce: "The king explained publicly (before the princes), that his relationship with his wife was not good; for a long time he had deceived others, but now he did not want to do so any longer. He could not accuse her of anything that justified a divorce, but he was not capable of carrying out conjugal relations with her any longer. He asked them for the sake of God to remove him from the bonds of a marriage closed under bad signs ... so that the way to a luckier marriage might be opened. And nobody knowing any objection to raise, and his wife being an obstacle to a second marriage ceremony, he then swore that she was as he received her, unstained and her virginity intact." (Bruno of Merseburg)
The German episcopacy dared not submit to the King's demands, and called on Pope Alexander II for assistance. He sent Petrus Damiani as his Legate to the Synod in Frankfurt, and rejected the divorce. Henry then apparently submitted to his fate, his first daughter by Bertha being born in the year after the divorce attempt.
Bertha also accompanied her husband on his dangerous journey to Canossa, carrying her three-year-old son Conrad. She remained with her husband between 25-28 January 1077 in freezing cold weather before the walls of the castle, in order to reach the solution to Henry's dispute with the Pope. Together with Henry, Bertha later also journeyed to Rome, and on 31 March 1084 was crowned Empress.
On 27 December 1087, Bertha died in Mainz.