After arriving to France, Anne of Kiev wrote it was a barbaric country whose inhabitants don’t know how to read and write.
The wedding of French king Henry I and Anne of Kiev was held on this day in 1051. It was common practice in the early middle ages for royalty from very distant lands to intermarry, despite the long travel times involved. Anne of Kiev was the daughter of Yaroslav the Wise, Grand Prince of Novgorod and Kiev (he ruled over what is now western Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine). He had three daughters who married French monarchs – the mentioned Anne (who married the King of France), Elisiv (who married the King of Norway), and Anastasia (who married the King of Hungary).
Henry I and Anne of Kiev were married in the Reims Cathedral, the traditional place where French monarchs were crowned. Anne was apparently disappointed by her new country of residence. She wrote that France was a barbaric country whose inhabitants didn’t know how to read and write and didn’t even bathe (Anne reportedly knew five languages). She remained in France until her death in 1075.