|The end of the Norman Kingdom and the arrival of the Swabians|
The infancy of Frederick II
On the death of Henry VI in 1197, Frederick-Roger, his son was three years old. He symbolically held the first names of the two princes of whom he could claim lineage: the German Frederick and the Norman Roger. But the German princes repudiated the election, obtained by Henry VI, in favour of his son in 1196, and were divided between Philip of Swabia, Henry VI’s brother, and Otto IV of Brunswick, the son of the Saxon, Henry the Lion.
In Sicily, the regent, Constance de Hauteville, expulsed all the kingdom’s German noblemen and undertook the guardianship of the young Frederick. In conformity with her husband’s will, she negotiated with Celestine III and then Innocent III. She recognized the supremacy of the Pope over the Norman kingdom and she made an agreement on behalf of her son placing him under the protection of the Pope. Frederick was crowned king of Sicily, at the age of 4, on 17 May 1198, in Palermo cathedral; Constance died on 27 November 1198, leaving the orphan under the responsibility of the Pope.
The situation was watched over by Markwald of Anweiler, who had received the province of Marches on the north coast of Italy and the marquisate of Ancona from Henry VI. In 1201, the German marquis reclaimed the tutelage of Frederick II. Innocent III preferred Walter of Brienne, King Tancred’s son-in-law, who represented the papal faction in Apulia. With the help of the Pisans, Markwald subjugated a large part of Sicily and took possession of the infant Frederick. On Markwald’s death in 1202, the situation in Sicily became even more confused; finally the archbishop of Palermo, the grand chancellor of the kingdom won the day.