Ralph I of Vermandois (French: Raoul Ier "le Vaillant") (d. 14 October 1152) was Count of Vermandois. He was a son of Hugh, Count of Vermandois and his wife, Adelaide, Countess of Vermandois. By his father, he was a grandson of Henry I of France, while his mother had been the heiress to Herbert IV, Count of Vermandois.
Ralph served as the seneschal of France during the reign of his cousin Louis VII. Under pressure from Queen consort Eleanor of Aquitaine, Louis allowed him to repudiate his wife Eleanor of Champagne, daughter of Stephen, Count of Blois and Adela of Normandy and sister of the reigning King Stephen of England, in favor of Eleanor of Aquitaine's sister, Petronilla of Aquitaine. This led to a war with Theobald II of Champagne, who was the brother of Ralph's first wife Eleanor. The war lasted two years (1142–44) and ended with the occupation of Champagne by the royal army.
Ralph and Petronilla were excommunicated by Pope Innocent II for a marriage deemed illegitimate, overriding three bishops who had already annulled Ralph's prior marriage. In 1148, Pope Eugene III, legitimized the marriage at the Council of Reims.
Family and children
Ralph was married three times:
- Elizabeth (or Isabelle) Mabile, countess of Vermandois and Valois (1143–1183), married Philip I, Count of Flanders; no issue.
- Ralph II, count of Vermandois and Valois (1145–1167), was the first husband of Margaret of Lorraine, later countess of Flanders. He died of leprosy in 1167 without issue.
- Eleanor, countess of Vermandois and Valois (b. 1148? – d.1213/4). She married four times as follows, but had no issue:
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Adelaide and Hugh
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