Emma of Italy

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Emma of Italy
Queen consort of Western Francia
Tenure 965–986
Spouse Lothair
Issue Louis V
Father Lothair II of Italy
Mother Adelaide of Italy
Born c. 948

Emma (born c. 948) was the daughter of Lothair II of Italy (also called Lothair of Arles) and Adelaide of Italy (also called Adelaide of Burgundy, Saint Adelaide), who would later become Holy Roman Empress. She was the last Carolingian Queen Consort of Western Francia (France) by virtue of her marriage to Lothair of France; her son, Louis V of France, was the last Carolingian King.

Born around 948, Emma was the daughter of Lothair of Arles, titular King of Italy, and Adelaide of Burgundy, the heiress to the title. Her paternal grandfather was Hugh of Arles, Regent of Arles; her maternal grandparents were Rudolf II, King of Upper Burgundy and Bertha of Swabia. Rudolf and Hugh had originally contested for the title and lands of the Kingdom of Italy; Hugh had become King of Italy, but was forced to buy peace with Rudolf by giving him Arles (Lower Burgundy). Emma's parents had been married as part of the Peace.

Emma's father was poisoned when she was a young girl, in 950, by his political rival, Berengar of Ivrea. Berengar attempted to marry Emma's mother, an heiress of the Kingdom, to his own son; she defied him, however, and married Otto the Great of Germany instead, becoming mother to future Emperor Otto II.

In 965, Emma was married to the King of Western Francia, Lothair. They had one child, Louis V of France (b.967).

In 977, Emma was accused by her brother-in-law, Charles of Lower Lorraine, of infidelity with Ascelin, Bishop of Laon. The Queen and Bishop were exonerated by the Synod of Sainte-Macre, led by Adalberon, Archbishop of Rheims, and Charles was forced to flee Western Francia. Emma, to ensure her son's succession, then persuaded Lothair to crown him as associated King; Lothair did so, but refused to let him have any real power.

Emma's marriage to Lothair was marked by hostilities between her husband and her half-brother, Emperor Otto II, each invading the other's territories, and attempting to destabilise each other, often through the intermediary of Lothair's brother, Charles (who as Duke of Lower Lorraine was a vassal of the Emperor). The final years of their marriage, however, from 980 onwards, saw peace between Lothair and his in-laws; when Otto II died, he was even advanced as guardian of the young King.

Lothair died on 2 March 986, and their young son Louis became King. However, he promptly drove Emma and Bishop Ascelin of Laon from the Court, accusing them of having poisoned Lothair. Louis then died on 22 May 987, without an heir. In the following months, her brother-in-law Charles seized the royal capital of Laon and declared himself King; Hugh Capet, Duke of the Franks, was elected and crowned King by the agencies of Adalberon on 3 July 987. In the resulting conflicts, Ascelin betrayed Charles to Hugh Capet, as a result of which the last Carolingian was imprisoned in Orleans. Emma's doings following the death of her son are unclear; she is believed to have died in a Burgundian convent.

French royalty
Preceded by
Gerberga of Saxony
Queen consort of Western Francia
965–986
Served alongside: Adelaide of Anjou (982–984)
Succeeded by
Adelaide of Aquitaine

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