Constance, Holy Roman empress

Constance, 1154–98, Holy Roman empress, wife of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI; daughter of King Roger II of Sicily. She was named heiress of Sicily by her nephew King William II. On his death, however (1189), the Sicilian nobles, wishing to prevent German rule in Sicily, chose Constance's nephew Tancred of Lecce as William's successor. Henry VI conducted an unsuccessful campaign (1191) against Tancred during which Constance was captured but soon released. After Tancred's death (1194) Henry was crowned king of Sicily. When he died (1197) all of Italy revolted against German rule. In order to save the throne of Sicily for her infant son Frederick (later Holy Roman emperor as Frederick II), Constance renounced the German kingship for Frederick and had him crowned (1198) king of Sicily. She was regent for her son; before her death she named Pope Innocent III his guardian.

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