Richilde of Provence


Richilde was born about 845 Bivin of Gorze, Count of the Ardennes. She was the second wife of Charles the Bald making her Queen of the West Franks and later Empress of the Franks. After Charles’ death in 877 she also stood as Regent of her husband while he was off to war and again on behalf of her step-grandchildren after their father (Louis the Stammerer) died while they were too young to rule for themselves. In the meantime, she attempted to have her brother Boso, Duke of Burgundy placed on the throne. That stunt upset a lot of people and she was accused of incest so none of the nobles listened to her. She did finally help Boso gain a throne as King of Provence. This didn’t stop her from trying to seize power after Louis III in died in 882 and again in 884 with the death of Carloman II.

Her political manipulations and power plays irritated the clergy including the archbishop of Rheims, Fulk “the Venerable.” Stating that:

“She had taken the “veil of Christ” on her husband’s death and ought to behave, said the archbishop, “like a true queen, adorned with the virtues of her widowhood, holding before her eyes the day of death and resurrection.” According to the logic of Carolingian reform legislation, this meant that she should have retired to a nunnery.”

And further:

“…as far as the archbishop of Rheims was concerned, simply remaining uncloistered and continuing to participate in worldly affairs” 1

She had to stop all of her power plays when the Normans stirred up trouble in the empire so she retired to Provence where her nephew was king and stayed there until her death June 2, 910.

Youtube on Richilde
Sources 1


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