Adelaide I, Abbess of Quedlinburg

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Adelaide I
Hase Quast 1877 S 10 Nr 1 Adelheid I.jpg
Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg
Reign 999 – 14 January 1045
Predecessor Matilda
Successor Beatrix I
Born 977
Died 14 January 1044
Quedlinburg Abbey
House Ottonian Dynasty
Father Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Theophanu
Religion Roman Catholic

Adelaide I (German: Adelheid; 977 – 14 January 1044/5) was Abbess of Quedlinburg and Gandersheim, as well as highly influential kingmaker of medieval Germany.[1]

Early life[edit]

Named after her paternal grandmother, Adelaide of Italy, Abbess Adelaide was the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Otto II and Empress Theophanu. She was educated in the Quedlinburg Abbey by her paternal aunt, Matilda, Abbess of Quedlinburg, who died on 7 February 999. Adelaide was elected her successor.

Influencing the royal and imperial elections[edit]

Adelaide and her older sister, Sophie I, Abbess of Gandersheim, acted as true kingmakers, having rejected Eckard I, Margrave of Meissen (who discounted their influence), as candidate for kingship. Together with Sophie, Adelaide significantly influenced the election of Henry II as King of the Romans and legitimazing him in 1024, when he visited Vreden and Quedlinburg. The Princess-Abbess and her sister would play the same role in election of Conrad II as Holy Roman Emperor. Nonetheless, when Sophie died in 1039, Conrad II denied Adelaide's request to succeed her as Abbess of Gandersheim. Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor, eventually granted her the right to rule Gandersheim too.[1][2]


Adelheid died either on 14 January 1045 or on 14 January 1044 and was succeeded by her kinswoman, Beatrice of Franconia. Adelaide is buried in Quedlinburg Abbey. A lifesized tomb marker preserves the conventional image of Adelaide. She is represented as holy woman by monastic habit and Gospel book. In fact, the image depicts what Adelaide represented rather than Adelaide herself.[3]



  1. ^ a b Wolfram; Kaiser, Herwig; Denise Adele (2006). Conrad II, 990-1039: emperor of three kingdoms. Penn State Press. ISBN 0-271-02738-X. Retrieved 2009-07-09. 
  2. ^ Bernhardt, John W. (2002). Itinerant Kingship and Royal Monasteries in Early Medieval Germany, C.936-1075. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52183-1. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  3. ^ Mitchell, Linda Elizabeth (1999). Women in medieval western European culture. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8153-2461-8. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg
999 – 14 January 1045
Succeeded by
Beatrix I
Preceded by
Sophia I
Abbess of Gandersheim