Yaroslavna Anna-Agnes

XI pageFrancePrincely times

Anna-Agnes Yaroslavna (between 1024 and 1032 – after 1075) – daughter of Grand Prince of Kyiv Yaroslav the Wise and Ingegerd, daughter of Swedish King Olof Skötkonung, great-great-grandmother of almost thirty Kings of France.

In 1049, in the Cathedral of the French city of Rheims the wedding of Anna Yaroslavna and King of France Henry I Capet took place, as well as Anna’s coronation as Queen of France. She brought with her from Kyiv the so-called Rheims Gospel (in Cyrillic), which became a national relic of France. The Gospel was used in the coronation ceremonies of French monarchs who swore their oaths on it.

Anna brought to France not only rich dowry but high standards of Christian morality and culture higher than that of Europe at those times. Popes Nicholas II and Gregory VII wrote her deferential letters, praising her virtues and positive influence upon Henry I. Anna took part in administration of state affairs even during the life of her husband. At some documents, there are Henry’s remarks: “By the approval of my spouse” or “in the presence of Queen Anna.” Anna’s signatures on numerous French royal documents are the oldest extant examples of Cyrillic script.

King Henry I, who ruled in France in 1031–1061, and his wife Anna had three sons and a daughter. The eldest son, Philipp, became the next King of France, the middle son Robert died in adolescence, and the youngest Hugh married Adele of Vermandois and became one of the richest landowners; later he joined the first Crusades and was named the Great or Magnus. Edigna, daughter of Anna and Henry I, was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Queen Anna was buried in the church of the Villiers Abbey near the town of Étampes, France.

Portrait (imaginary) of Anna Yaroslavna.

By Yu. Smolsky. Oil on canvas. 90×70. 2008