Facts and Events
Richilde of the Ardennes (or Richilde of Provence) (ca. 845 – 2 June 910, Kingdom of Lower Burgundy) was the second consort of Charles the Bald, King and Emperor of the Franks. By her marriage, she became Queen of the West Franks, and then Empress of the Franks. She also served as regent.
Richilde was the daughter of Bivin of Gorze, Count of the Ardennes, and the sister of Boso of Provence (of the Bosonid dynasty). Her aunt was Theutberga, the wife of Lothar II of Lotharingia. Her marriage to Charles the Bald, in 870 after the death of his first wife, Ermentrude of Orléans, was intended to secure his rule in Lotharingia through her powerful family and her connection to Theutberga, the previous Queen consort. She bore him five children, but only the eldest daughter, Rothilde (c. 871 – c. 928), who married first Hugues of Bourges and secondly Roger of Maine, survived to adulthood.
Whenever Charles went to war, Richilde managed the realm, and acted as head of state after the death of Charles in 877. Louis the Stammerer (son of Charles the Bald and Ermentrude of Orléans) died on 10 April 879 while his children were too young to rule on their own. Richilde planned to place her brother Boso, Duke of Burgundy, on the throne. However, she was accused of incest with her brother and the lords of the kingdom refused to subject themselves to her authority. She then helped Boso to become King of Provence.
She attempted to assume a position of authority upon the death of Louis III in 882, and of Carloman II in 884; however, the empire was agitated and under threat by the Normans, and the grandees of the realm forced her to withdraw to Provence, then the realm of her nephew Louis the Blind, where she died on 2 June 910.