Constance of Hauteville

Constance of Hauteville was born in Palermo on November 2, 1154 to Roger II (1095 – 1154) and Beatrice of Rethel (c. 1135 – March 30, 1185). She inherited the Kingdom of Sicily when William II, the last member of the Norman Hauteville dynasty, died in 1189 without an heir. She married Henry VI, son of Frederick I Barbarossa, in the Cathedral of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan on 27 January 1186. In 1194, Constance was on her way to join her husband who was to be crowned king of Italy in Palermo when the time came for her to give birth. In order to avoid any suspicions about her motherhood due to her young age, she gave birth to her only son, Frederick, in the square in Jesi under a hastily set up tent. Constance of Hauteville died in Palermo on 27 November 1198. According to her will, the attentive and intuitive mother placed little Frederick II under the guardianship of the new Pope Innocent III.