Anne of Kiev

Anne of Kiev (c. 1030 – 1075), also known as Anna Yaroslavna, Anne of Rus, Anne de Russie,[1] or Agnes de Russie,[2] was the queen consort of Henry I of France. She later served as regent during the minority of her son Philip I of France. Anne founded the Abbey of St. Vincent at Senlis.

Anne of Kiev
Queen consort of the Franks
Bornc. 1030
Died5 September c.1075
SpouseHenry I of France
Ralph IV of Valois
IssuePhilip I of France
Hugh I, Count of Vermandois
FatherYaroslav the Wise
MotherIngegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden

Family and Childhood

Anne was a daughter of Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Kiev and Prince of Novgorod, and his second wife Ingegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden.[3] Her exact birthdate is unknown; Philippe Delorme has suggested 1027,[3] while Andrew Gregorovich has proposed 1032, citing a mention in a Kievan chronicle of the birth of a daughter to Yaroslav in that year.

Anne's exact place in the birth order of her siblings is unknown, although her sisters were almost certainly older.[3] Anne had six brothers and at least two sisters:

Because of a mural found at St. Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev, it is believed that Yaroslav and Ingegerd had four daughters,[3] but only Anastasie, Elizabeth, and Anne are known definitively. Possibilities for the other daughter include Marie Dobroniega,[3] the wife of Casimir of Poland, (usually identified as a sister of Yaroslav), and Agatha, the wife of Edward the Exile (son of Edmund II "Ironside" of England).[4]

Little is known about Anne's childhood or education. It is assumed that she was literate, at least enough to write her name, because her signature in Cyrillic exists on a document from 1061.[3] Delorme has pointed out that Yaroslav founded a number of schools in his kingdom and suggests that education was highly valued in his family, leading him to propose a significant level of education for Anne.[3] Gregorovich has suggested that Anne learned French in preparation for her marriage to Henry I.[4]

Marriage to Henry I

Anne married Henry I of France on 19 May 1051, during the feast of Pentecost.[3][5] Henry was nearly twenty years older than Anne.[3]

This marriage was arranged in the late 1040s, after the death of Henry's first wife, Mathilda of Frisia. Although previously also betrothed to Mathilda, daughter of Conrad II, Henry was left with no heirs. His one daughter from Mathilda died young, in 1044, followed a few weeks later by his wife. Due to the pressing need for an heir, and the Church's growing disapproval of consanguineous marriages, it became necessary for Henry to find a bride totally unrelated to him.[3][6] The Kievan Rus were not unknown to the French. Yaroslav had married several of his children to Western rulers in an attempt to avoid the influence of the Byzantines, including Anne's brother Vladimir, who likely was married to the sister of Mathilda of Frisia, Oda of Stade.[3]

In the autumn of 1049 or the spring of 1050, Henry sent Bishop Gauthier of Meaux, Goscelin of Chauny, and other unnamed advisors to Yaroslav's court.[3] It is possible that there were two diplomatic missions to the Rus at this time, with Roger of Chalons also present.[3][4][7] No record of the marriage negotiations or the dowry arrangements survives, although Anne reportedly left Kiev with "rich presents."[3] Gregorovich claims that part of the wealth she brought to France included the jacinth jewel that Abbot Suger later mounted on a reliquary of St. Denis.[4][8] Anne left Kiev in the summer or fall of 1050 and traveled to Reims.[3] Her wedding on 19 May 1051 followed the installation of Lietbert as bishop of Cambrai, and Anne was crowned immediately following the marriage ceremony, making her the first French queen to celebrate her coronation in Reims Cathedral.[3]

Anne and Henry were married for nine years, during which time she gave birth to three sons, including the future king of France, Philip I.[3] Anne is often credited with introducing the Greek name "Philip" to royal families of Western Europe, as she bestowed it on her first son; she might have imported this Greek name (Philippos, from Philos and hippos, meaning "loves horses") from her Eastern Orthodox culture.[7] There may also have been a daughter, Emma, perhaps born in 1055; it is unknown if she married or when she died.[3]


With Henry I of France:[9]

Queen of France

As queen, Anne would have had the privilege of participating in the royal council, but there are almost no records of her doing so.[3] In one 1058 charter, Henry granted a privilege to a couple of villages associated with the monastery of Saint-Maur-des-Fossés doing so "with the approval of my wife Anne and our children Philippe, Robert, and Hugh." Anne seems to have possessed territories in the same region under the terms of her dowry.[3]

In 1059, Henry began feuding with the Church over issues related to Gregorian Reform.[3] During this time, Pope Nicholas II sent Anne a letter counselling her to follow her conscience to right wrongs and intervene against oppressive violence, while also encouraging her to advocate with her husband so that he might govern with moderation.[3] According to Delorme, some historians have interpreted this letter from the Pope as being indicative of Anne's conversion to Roman Catholicism from Eastern Orthodoxy.[10]

Various documents from Henry's reign mention Anne. In them, she is referred to as regina (queen), coniunx mea (my spouse), or Anna regina uxor eius (Queen Anna his wife).[10]

Henry died on 4 August 1060. He is buried in the Basilica of Saint-Denis.[3] Upon his death, Anne became queen regnant for her young son Philip.


Anne's name appears on twenty-nine royal charters, seven issued during Henry's reign and twenty-two during that of Philip I.[11] After Henry's death, Count Baudouin of Flanders was assigned to be Philip's guardian, as he was not yet eight years old.[3] Anne may still have played an active role in government at that point; an act from 1060 shows her name following Philip's, and her name appears in four times as many charters as Baudouin's.[3] She also hired Philip's tutor, who was known at court by a Greek title.[3]

Anne's only existing signature dates from this period, inscribed on a document issued at Soissons for the abbot of Saint Crepin le Grand, now held in the National Library of Russia. Under the symbol of the king, Anne added a cross and 8 letters in Cyrillic, probably the words for "Anna Reina."[3] Evidence for Anne's role in government, however, disappears in 1061, around the time of her second marriage.[3]

Second marriage

Anne remarried in 1061 to Count Raoul of Crepy-en-Valois.[11] The marriage was controversial for multiple reasons, including consanguinity (Raoul was Henry I's cousin) and bigamy, since Raoul was still technically married to his second wife, Haquenez.[3] Raoul was excommunicated because of this.[3] During her second marriage, advisors to her son King Philip may have encouraged him to turn away from his mother, perhaps mistrusting Raoul's influence.[11] Raoul began referring to himself as the king's stepfather in the late 1060s.[3] He died in 1074, leaving Anne a widow once again.[3]

Religious activities

In 1062, Anne gave a significant amount of money to restore a dilapidated chapel at Senlis, originally dedicated to St. Vincent of Saragossa, bequeathing lands and income to the new establishment so that the organization could sustain itself.[3] She also wrote a letter explaining her reasons for dedicating the monastery. The letter betrays an adherence to Greek Orthodox theology. For instance, the term "Mary, mother of God" is used rather than the more common "Our Lady", perhaps referring to the Eastern concept of the Theotokos. Some scholars believe that Anne did not write this letter herself.[3]


The exact date of Anne's death is unknown. Delorme believes that she died on 5 September—the day commemorated at Senlis—in 1075 (the year of her last signed document), while others have proposed 1080.[3][4] A terminus ante quem is provided by a 1089 document of Philip I, which includes the phrase "on behalf of the souls of his father and mother," indicating that Anne had died by then.[4]


In 1682, the Jesuit antiquary Claude-Francois Menestrier announced that he had discovered Anne's tomb at the Cistercian Abbey of Villiers.[3] The discovery was subsequently disputed, as Villiers was not built until the thirteenth century, although it's possible Anne's remains had been moved there at some point following her death. Whatever monument may have been there was destroyed in the French Revolution.[3]

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, increased diplomatic contact between France and Russia led to a revived antiquarian interest in Anne, and a number of short biographies were published.[3]

In the twentieth century, while Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, Anne became a symbol of Ukrainian nationalism.[3] On the other hand, a film was produced in the Soviet Union, "Yaroslavna, the Queen of France" (1978), which was not related with "Ukrainian nationalism" in any way. An opera called "Anna Yaroslavna," written by Antin Rudnytsky, was first performed at Carnegie Hall in 1969. In 1998, the Ukrainian government issued a postage stamp in her honor.[4] In 2005, the government of Ukraine sponsored the construction of a bronze statue of Anne at Senlis, which was unveiled by President Viktor Yushchenko on 22 June.[4]



  1. Claude Paradin. Alliances généalogiques des rois de France. 1606. P. 78; Philippe Labbe (S.I.). Eloges Historiques des rois de France depuis Pharamond iusques au roy tres-chrestien Louis XIV. 1651. P. 157; Pierre Dupuy. Traite De La Maiorite De Nos Rois, Et Des Regences Du Royaume. 1655. P. 50; Anselme de Sainte-Marie. Histoire de la Maison Royale de France, et des grands officiers de la covronne. Volume 1. 1674. P. 451; Louis Moreri. Le grand dictionaire historique ou le melange curieux de l'histoire sacree et profane (etc.) 3. ed. corr, Volume 1. Girin, 1683. P. 488; Étienne Baluze. Histoire généalogique de la maison d' Auvergne. Volume 1. 1708. P. 56; Honoré Caille Dufourny. Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France. 1712. P. 247; Charles-Douin Regnault. Histoire des sacres et couronnemens de nos rois, faits a Reims. 1722. P. 54; Jean-François Dreux du Radier. Mémoires historiques, critiques et anecdotes des reines et régentes de France. 1782. P. 199; Pierre François Marie Masséy de Tyrone. Histoire des reines, régentes et impératrices de France. 1827. P. 101; Abel Hugo. France historique et monumentale. 1839. P. 65; Andre Joseph Ghislain Le-Glay. Mémoire sur les bibliothèques publiques et les principales bibliothèques. P. 1841. P. 97; Amédée comte de Caix de Saint-Aymour. Anne de Russie, reine de France et comtesse de Valois, au XIe siècle. H. Champion. 1896; Jules Mathorez. Les étrangers en France sous l'ancien régime: Les causes de la pénétration des étrangers en France. Les Orientaux et les extra-Européens dans la population française. E. Champion, 1919. P. 295, 296
  2. Dreux du Radier (M., Jean-François). Mémoires historiques, critiques, et anecdotes de France. Neaulme, 1764. P. 359; Histoire de Russie, tiree des chroniques originales, de pieces authentiques. 1783 P. 149; Jean Aymar Piganiol de La Force. Nouvelle description de la France. Volume 3. 1783. P. 75; L'Europe illustré, contenant l'histoire abregée des souverains ..., Volume 1. 1755. P. MC VIII
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  4. Gregorovich, Andrew (2011). Anna Yaroslavna, Queen of France & Princess of Ukraine: Anne De Kiev. Toronto: Forum.
  5. Megan McLaughlin, 56.
  6. G. Duby, France in the Middle Ages, 987–1460, trans. J. Vale (Oxford, 1991), p. 117
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  8. Bauthier, 550; Hallu,168, citing Comptes de Suger
  9. Anselm de Gibours (1726). Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France [Genealogical and chronological history of the royal house of France] (in French). 1 (3rd ed.). Paris: La compagnie des libraires. p. 73.
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  11. Bogomoletz, Wladimir V (2005). "Anna of Kiev: An Enigmatic Capetian Queen of the Eleventh Century". French History. 19: 299–323 via JSTOR.
  12. Translated and edited by Cross, S. H. and Sherbowitz-Wetzor, O. P. (1953). "The Russian Primary Chronicle: Laurentian Text" (PDF). Crimson Printing Company, Cambridge, Massachusetts. p. 78. Retrieved 16 February 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. Bain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Vladimir, St" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 168.
  14. Yaroslav the Wise in Norse Tradition, Samuel Hazzard Cross, Speculum, Vol. 4, No. 2 (April 1929), 177.
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  16. Levin, Eve (5 September 2018). Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs 900–1700. Cornell University Press. p. 39. ISBN 9781501727627.
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  20. Fritz, Birgitta (2006). "Sigrid storråda". Svenskt biografiskt lexikon (in Swedish). 32. Stockholm: National Archives of Sweden. p. 185.


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French royalty
Preceded by
Matilda of Frisia
Queen consort of the Franks
Succeeded by
Bertha of Holland
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