Sunday, September 9, 2007


Queen of Neustria

Fredegunda started out from humble beginnings. She was a slave-girl at the court of Neustria, and it was in this capacity that she came to the attention of Chilperic I, Merovingian King of Soissons (Neustria). Fredegunda became the mistress and then eventually the third wife of Chilperic I. As the influential and ever conniving mistress of Chilperic I of Neustria, Fredegunda persuaded Chilperic to repudiate his first wife Audovera.

Fredegunda was said to be the driving force behind the murder (568) of Chilperic's second wife Galswintha, daughter of Spanish Visigoth King Athanagild and the sister of Brunhilda, wife of Sigibert of Austrasia. Ever ambitious and eager to secure her own position, Fredegunda engineered the murders of Audovera's three sons (c.575). Continuing on her quest to the top, Fredegunda arranged for some hirelings to murder Sigibert of Austrasia, Chilperic's brother (575). In keeping with the bloodythirsty theme, Fredegunda's husband Chilperic I himself was murdered or assassinated, not really that much difference, shortly after the birth of their son Lothair (584).

Not stopping to find out whether or not she was next on the Murder Inc. hit-list, Fredegunda seized her late husband's wealth and fled to Paris with her remaining son Lothair (Clotaire II). From such a safe distance away, Fredegunda persuaded the Neustrian nobles to recognize her son as the legitimate heir to the Neustrian throne. Having accomplished this, Fredegunda took upon the role of Regent. In this capacity, Fredgunda continued her longtime power struggle with Guntrum of Burgundy (d.593) and Brunhilda, Queen-Mother of Austrasia (d.614), whom she defeated (c.597). Fredegunda died (598) at Paris.

~~~ Melisende (first pub: 1998 Women of History)

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