Adalard received a good education in the Palatine School at the Court of Charlemagne, and while still very young was made Count of the Palace. At the age of twenty he entered the monastery at Corbie in Picardy, a monastery that had been founded by queen Bathild, in 662. In order to be more secluded, he went to Monte Cassino, but was ordered by Charlemagne to return to Corbie, where he was elected abbot. At the same time Charlemagne made him prime minister to his son Pepin, King of Italy, in the Carolingian Empire. As a high court administrator attended some meetings that discussed military planning. His De ordine palatinii discusses in some detail a well-developed intelligence system by the end of Pepin's reign. At his death in Milan in 810, Pepin, appointed Adalard tutor to his son Bernard of Italy, then but twelve years of age.
When, in 817, Bernard, son of Pepin, aspired to the imperial crown, Louis le Debonnaire suspected Adalard of being in sympathy with Bernard and banished him to Hermoutier, the modern Noirmoutier, on the island of the same name. Adalard's brother Wala was obliged to become a monk at Corbie. After seven years Louis saw his mistake and made Adalard one of his chief advisers.
Several hospitals were erected by him. In 822 Adalard and his brother Wala founded Corvey Abbey ("New Corbie") in Westphalia.Corwey was an imperial abbey; its territory extending from the bishopric of Paderborn to the duchy of Brunswic. Its abbot was one of the eleven abbots, who sat with twenty-one bishops in the imperial diet at Ratisbon.
Adalard was returning from Corvey to old Corbie, when he fell sick three days before Christmas: he died on day about three in the afternoon, on January 1 in the year 827, at the age of seventy-three.