[Adelaide founder of Seltz Abbey, photographed 2010, source: Wikimedia Commons]
Adelaide married Hugh’s son Lothair in 945, when she was fifteen. He died five years later, leaving her with one daughter, Emma. At this point, with no obvious heir to the throne around, Adelaide’s great rival, Berengar of Ivrea, seized power and imprisoned her. Shortly thereafter, however, Adelaide escaped and fled. She managed to persuade Otto the Great to help her. Otto’s armies ousted Berengar within the year and Adelaide married Otto, bringing much of what is now northern Italy under Otto’s control. Her husband’s coronation as Holy Roman Emperor in 962 made Adelaide an empress.
[Adelaide and Otto I, Meissen Cathedral, 13th century, source: Wikimedia Commons]
When Otto II died, the two women temporarily put aside their differences to regain control of the child-king Otto III from Henry the Quarrelsome. Shortly after that was accomplished, however, Adelaide found herself exiled once more. It was only when Theophanu died in 991 that Adelaide returned to become regent for her grandson. Only after he reached his majority, did she retire to live out the rest of her life in religious works. She died at Seltz Abbey in 999.
Adelaide was a very active ruler, both politically and religiously. Throughout her second husband’s reign, she acted as his regent in Italy. She ruled the Holy Roman Empire as her grandson’s regent from 991 to 999. Right up until her death she involved herself in the politics of not only the Holy Roman Empire, but also other kingdoms where she had family. She showed piety particularly through almsgiving** and advancing the careers of certain bishops. Adelaide was a strong-willed queen who maintained her power through a vast network of family and religious foundations.
*This reached the point where in recounting her life to Odilo of Cluny, Adelaide would only refer to Theophanu as “that Greek woman.” Odilo, perhaps out of loyalty to her, refuses to name Theophanu in this work even when not quoting Adelaide.
**She was noted not only for hitching up her skirts so as to more easily move while giving out alms, but also for continuing this work until she physically collapsed.
Stafford, Pauline. Queens, Concubines, and Dowagers: the King's Wife in the Early Middle Ages. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1983.
Adelaide of Burgundy - Epistolae [This one has the texts of several letters written to her]
Adelaide of Italy - Wikipedia
Saint Adelaide of Burgundy - Saints.SQPN.com