Yolanda of Flanders (Yolande de Hainault; 1175 – August 1219) ruled the Latin Empire in Constantinople for her son Philip of Namur from 1217 to 1219 after her husband Peter II of Courtenay was captured and imprisoned before he could reach Constantinople.
Yolanda was the daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Hainault, and Countess Margaret I of Flanders. Two of her brothers, Baldwin I and then Henry, were emperors in Constantinople. After the death of the latter in 1216 there was a brief period without an emperor, before Peter was elected. Peter sent Yolanda to Constantinople while he fought the Despotate of Epirus, during which he was captured. Because his fate was unknown (although he was probably killed), Yolanda ruled as regent. She allied with the Bulgarians against the various Byzantine successor states, and was able to make peace with Theodore I Lascaris of the Empire of Nicaea, who married her daughter. However, she soon died, in 1219.
Family and legacy
Following Yolanda's death, her second son, Robert of Courtenay, became emperor because her oldest son, Philip, did not want the throne. As Robert was still in France at the time, there was technically no emperor until he arrived in 1221.
Yolanda was, in her own right, Marchioness of Namur, which she inherited from her brother, Marquis Philip I, in 1212 and left to her eldest son, Marquis Philip II, when she went to Constantinople in 1216.
By Peter of Courtenay she had 10 children:
- Philip (d. 1226), Marquis of Namur, who declined the offer of the crown of the Latin Empire
- Robert of Courtenay (d. 1228), Latin Emperor
- Henry (d. 1229), Marquis of Namur
- Baldwin II of Constantinople (d. 1273)
- Margaret, Marchioness of Namur, who married first Raoul d'Issoudun and then Henry count of Vianden
- Elizabeth, who married Walter count of Bar and then Eudes sire of Montagu
- Yolanda de Courtenay, who married Andrew II of Hungary
- Eleanor, who married Philip of Montfort, Lord of Tyre
- Marie de Courtenay, who married Theodore I Lascaris of the Empire of Nicaea
- Agnes, who married Geoffrey II Villehardouin, Prince of Achaea