“It has not been granted to you from Heaven that you should bear a child to the King of the English… Perhaps the Lord has closed up your womb.”
- Hildebert, Archbishop of Tours in a letter to Queen Adeliza
Appropriately enough, Adeliza of Louvain’s career as Queen of England started with a shipwreck. This one incident in the English Channel, which occurred months before she even set foot in England, was to radically alter Adeliza's position in her new country. Initially, the marriage between Adeliza of Louvain and the recently-widowed King Henry I of England was supposed to bring some comfort and distraction to the King following the death of his first wife, the powerful and respected Matilda of Scotland. On the surface, Adeliza seemed to fit the bill perfectly. She was young, charming, beautiful and well-connected. Her father owned sizable territories in modern-day France and Germany and her mother was a descendant of the great Emperor Charlemagne. So proverbial was Adeliza’s prettiness that she was nicknamed “the Fair Maid of Brabant” and her personality had won her praise at the Imperial court in Germany. The marriage contracts between King Henry and Adeliza’s father, Godfrey, were signed in the spring of 1120, six months before the shipping disaster that would shatter not only Adeliza’s future happiness but also the welfare of England for a generation.