[Judith daughter of the Welf counts, 1510, Source: Wikimedia Commons]
For a while things remained relatively tranquil for Judith. She performed her duties in managing the court, patronized several poets, and produced a daughter. It wasn’t until she got pregnant again, this time with a son who would later be known as Charles the Bald,** that things got messy. This was not a kingdom where the first son inherited automatically. Instead, lands and titles were divided between the king’s heirs. Louis had three sons already, and these had every reason to think Charles threatened their inheritance.
They focused their attack on Judith for several reasons. First, she was the king’s wife, his consecrated queen,*** and had his ear. Second, she was Charles’ greatest supporter. Third, if they could prove her an unfit wife, this would discredit Charles as well. On several occasions they rose against Louis and Judith, using many of the usual accusations leveled against women against her, calling her lustful, greedy, and overambitious. They claimed she had committed adultery with her husband’s godson, which also amounted to incest. Each time, Judith was able to prevail and return to court as queen. When Louis died in 841, his territories were divided up between all of his sons, with Charles taking the title of King of the Franks. Judith continued her support of her son in the civil war that erupted with Lothar on one side and Louis the German and Charles on the other. When Charles married, however, his wife Ermentrude forced her mother-in-law out of politics, taking over her power and position. Judith died shortly thereafter in 843.
* Interestingly enough, this union came about not so much through political negotiations as most noble marriages of the time were, but as a result of a bridal show. This seems rather out of character for Louis the Pious. For one thing, bridal shows were a Byzantine practice, not Frankish. For another, such a thing would have been seen as very, well, not terribly pious.
***The fact that she had been crowned and consecrated was actually a fairly important point and something of an obstacle to their attempt to get rid of her. Crowning the king’s wife as queen was not standard practice at this point (though Louis had had it done for both of his wives) and gave her authority and power she wouldn’t otherwise have had.
Stafford, Pauline. Queens, Concubines, and Dowagers: The King's Wife in the Early Middle Ages. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1983.
Judith of Bavaria, Empress - Epistolae (This page includes several letters written to Judith, though none written by her.)
Judith of Bavaria - Wikipedia