Thursday, 21 January 2010

Edie does it...

My attention was caught when I heard and read that they think they've discovered the bones of good Queen Eadgyth in a tomb in Germany. Eadgyth gives us modern "Edith" the name of my grandmother. Seems that folks thought a particular monument in Magdeburg Cathedral was a cenotaph, i.e. empty. But when it was opened up, lo and behold, bones wrapped up in silk. They think it might be Eadgyth, granddaughter of King Alfred the Great. This Saxon princess went off and married the Emperor Otto I in the year 929, when she was only 17 and he was 36... These are two statues thought to be of them.
Now her brother was Athelstan, a very important chap because he stayed over here and became what many see as the first king of a united England. I saw his tomb a year or two ago over in the lovely Abbey church at Malmesbury (not far from Cardiff over the Severn Bridge and turn left at the Chippenham turn-off. A Fr M approved day trip). Those so-called Dark Ages centuries between the Romans leaving and the Normans coming in 1066 are getting quite a lot of attention nowadays. What with the emergence of the Celtic countries, the incursions by Angles, Saxons, Vikings etc, the arrival of St Augustine in 597 to re-evangelise England and loads more, it was a real melting-pot time.
So Eadgyth has suddenly emergd from this darkness. She and Otto had two kids, whose descendants went on to rule the Holy Roman Empire for a few hundred years. Her blood must run through many of the royal and aristocratic families still around. If the remains are indeed hers, then these will be the oldest such remains of English royalty... Good old Edie!

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