|Baldwin VI and Richilde|
By Edmond de Busscher
via Wikimedia Commons
Unfortunately, Baldwin VI's brother Robert thought he should be the Count of Flanders, despite the King of France's support for Arnulf. Many of the Flemish nobles sided with Robert because they did not like the taxes that Richilde had imposed in the name of her son. A bloody war ensued. Richilde did everything she could to strengthen her position, even offering herself in marriage to William FitzOsbern, a cousin and counselor to William the Conqueror, and one of the most successful soldiers of the day. When Richilde's forces faced Robert's at the Battle of Cassel, all of her ambitions fell to pieces. Her new husband was killed. More horribly, her 15-year-old son was killed. She herself was captured.
Once she was released, she retreated with her younger son to Hainaut from whence she tried and failed several more times to regain Flanders for him. Interestingly, Richilde always upheld young Baldwin's claim to her territory even though she had a surviving son from an earlier marriage. That son, Roger, became a Bishop. He was apparently lame, which may have made him unsuited for battle in an age where lands were claimed and held more by force than by inheritance.
Richilde lived into her late sixties, dying at the Abbey of Messines.