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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art


Flourished circa 800, England and France

Relatively little secure information is known about Eadburga (Eadburh) and much of what has come down to us is probably legendary. She married Beorhtric, king of Wessex in England (ruled 786–802), and exercised a cruel tyranny over the court. She is said to have poisoned many enemies and eventually her husband. She then fled to the court of Charlemagne, king of the Franks. When offered the choice between the king or his son as a husband, she chose the son and Charlemagne, offended, banished her to a convent, where she lived out her life. In another version of the story, she was expelled from the monastery and died a beggar on the streets of Pavia.