Facts and Events
All her wealth and power came to her through her association with Chilperic. Originally a servant of Chilperic's first wife Audovera, Fredegund won Chilperic's affection and persuaded him to put Audovera in a convent and divorce her. But Chilperic then put Fredegund aside and married Galswintha. Galswintha died the same year, probably strangled by Fredegund (c. 568), who succeeded Galswintha as queen. Galswintha's sister, Brunhilda, however, began a feud which lasted more than 40 years.
Fredegund is said to have ordered the assassination of Sigebert I of Austrasia in 575 and also to have made attempts on the lives of Sigebert's son Childebert II, her brother-in-law Guntram, king of Burgundy, and Brunhilda.
After the mysterious assassination of Chilperic in 584 AD, Fredegund seized his riches and took refuge in the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral. Both she and her surviving son, Clothar II, were protected by Guntram until he died in 592.
Gregory of Tours depicts her as ruthlessly murderous and sadistically cruel; in his account, Fredegund perhaps has few rivals in monstrousness. Although she did not live to see it, her son's execution of Brunhilda bore the mark of Fredegund's hatred: Clothar II had the old queen, now in her sixties, stretched in agony upon the rack for three entire days, then watched her meet her death chained between four horses that were goaded to the four points of the compass, tearing her body asunder.
Fredegund died 8 December 597 in Paris. The tomb of Frédégonde is a mosaic figure of marble and copper, situated in the Saint Denis Basilica, having come from the abbey church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.