Richilde of Provence


Richilde of Provence

Richilde of the Ardennes, or Richilde of Provence (c. 845-2 June 910), was the second wife of Charles the Bald, King and Emperor of the Franks. By her marriage, she became Queen of the West Franks, and then Empress of the Franks.

Richilde was the daughter of Bivin of Gorze, Count of the Ardennes, and the sister of Boso of Provence (of the Bosonid dynasty). Her aunt was Theutberga, the wife of Lothar II of Lotharingia. Her marriage to Charles the Bald, in 870 after the death of his first wife, Ermentrude of Orléans, was intended to secure his rule in Lotharingia through her powerful family and her connection to Theutberga, the previous Queen consort. She bore him five children, but only the eldest daughter, Rothilde (c. 871-c. 928), who married first Hugues of Bourges and secondly Roger of Maine, survived to adulthood.

Whenever Charles went to war, Richilde managed the realm, and acted as head of state after the death of Charles in 877.

She planned to place her brother Boso, Duke of Burgundy, on the throne, after Louis the Stammerer (son of Charles the Bald and Ermentrude of Orléans) died shortly after his father while his children were too young to rule on their own. However, she was accused of incest with her brother and the lords of the kingdom refused to subject themselves to her authority. She then helped Boso to become King of Provence.

She attempted to assume a position of authority upon the death of Louis III in 882, and of Carloman II in 884; however, the empire was agitated and under threat by the Normans, and the grandees of the realm forced her to withdraw to Provence, where she died on 2 June 910.


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