Queen Bertrada: Mother of a Dynasty


Kim Rendfeld

Bertha Broadfoot, 1848, by Eugène Oudiné Bertha Broadfoot, 1848, by Eugène Oudiné at Luxembourg Garden, Paris (copyrighted photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen via Wikimedia Commons).

Eugène Oudiné’s 1848 statue of Bertrada is one of my favorite artistic interpretations of this Frankish queen. Not for its historical accuracy. Other than the nickname “Bertha Broadfoot,” we have no clue for what she looked like, and the costume is not eighth century.

The reason I like it is for what she is holding in her left hand, the figure of a man on a throne. Whether he is her husband, Pepin the Short, or her son Charles the Great, it is fitting for her.

Although being able to bear a son preserved her marriage to then Mayor of the Palace Pepin, she did more than baby making. She was Pepin’s true partner when he assumed the title of king in 750 and played that role until he died in 768…

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