Judith, Queen of Louis I
Celebrated for her Motherly Ambition
805 – 843 A.D.
Judith, the second wife of Louis le Debonnaire, son of Charlemagne, was daughter of Welff, Duke of Bavaria. She was celebrated for her beauty and intellectual accomplishments, and succeeded in obtaining such control over the king’s affections that she governed not only the palace, but also exercised the greatest influence in the government.
Her eldest son, who afterwards reigned under the name of Charles the Bald, was born in 823; but as the king had already divided his estate between his sons of his former marriage, there was nothing left for him. Judith immediately exerted herself to obtain a kingdom for her child, and consequently by the consent of Lothaire, eldest son of Louis, such a possession was obtained.
Pepin, the second son of Louis, having convinced Lothaire of his folly in yielding up his possessions at the request of Judith, induced him to unite with himself in a rebellion against Judith and Louis. In 829, they surrounded Aix, took Judith and her husband prisoners, and, accusing Judith of too great intimacy with Bernard, her prime minister, forced her to take the veil, in the convent of St. Ragegonde.
They, however, permitted Judith to have a private interview with her husband on the condition that she would urge him to immediate abdication. This she promised to do; but, instead, advised Louis to yield to circumstances and to to the monastery of St. Medard, at Soissons, but not to abdicate the crown. The king followed her advice, and in 830, Lothaire, having quarreled with his brother, restored the crown to Louis, who immediately recalled Judith.
The pope released her from her conventicle vows, and she cleared herself by an oath from the accusation of adultery that was brought against her.
In 833, the emperor was again betrayed and deposed by his children, although Judith had exerted herself in every way, even by cruelty, to retain for her weak husband the power he could not keep for himself. After a year of confinement, Louis was again placed on the throne; and by the new division of the empire, arranged in 839, Judith had the satisfaction of seeing her son placed in possession of a large share of those estates from which he had seemed forever excluded.
Louis the Mild died in 840, and Judith survived him only three years. She died at Tours.
In her heart the mother’s ambition was the predominating power. All here efforts were devoted to securing what she deemed to be an equitable partition of the royal patrimony.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.