Bertrada of Laon
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|Bertrada of Laon|
Tomb of Bertrada of Laon at Saint Denis basilica
|Spouse(s)||Pepin the Short|
|Father||Caribert of Laon|
|Mother||Gisele of Aquitaine|
|Born||between 710 and 727|
|Died||12 June 783
|Buried||Saint Denis basilica|
She was born in Laon, in today's Aisne, France, daughter of Count Charibert de Laon (Caribert of Laon) and Gisele of Aquitaine. She married Pepin the Short, the son of Charles Martel, the Frankish "Mayor of the Palace", in 740, although the union was not canonically sanctioned until several years later. Eleven years later, in 751, Pepin and Bertrada became King and Queen of the Franks, following Pepin's successful coup against the Frankish Merovingian monarchs.
Bertrada and Pepin are known to have had four children, three sons and one daughter: of these, Charles (Charlemagne), Carloman, and Gisela survived to adulthood, whilst Pepin died in infancy. Charlemagne and Carloman would inherit the two halves of their father's kingdom when he died, and Gisela became a nun.
Some historians credit Bertrada's support for her elder son Charles over her younger son Carloman, and her diplomatic skills, for Charles' early success. Although her influence over him may have diminished in time, she lived at his court, and according to Einhard their relationship was excellent. She recommended him to set aside his legal wife, Himiltrude, and marry Desiderata, a daughter of the Lombard king Desiderius, but he soon divorced her. Einhard claims this was the only episode that ever strained relations between mother and son. Bertrada lived with Charlemagne until her death in 783; the king buried her in Saint Denis Basilica with great honors.
- David Levering Lewis, God's Crucible
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|Queen of the Franks
Desiderata and Gerberga