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Also Known As: "Himiltrud", "Himiltrude", "Chimiltrudis", "Imiltrude"
Birthplace: Aachen, Rhineland, Prussia
Death: 783 (36-45)
Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Milo II de Paris
Partner of Charlemagne
Mother of Amaudra and Pippin the Hunchback

Occupation: consort of Charlemagne
Managed by: Henn Sarv
Last Updated:

About Himiltrude


Himiltrude, 1st partner of Charlemagne

Charlemagne's first relationship was with Himiltrude. The nature of this relationship is variously described as concubinage, a legal marriage, or a Friedelehe.[35] (Charlemagne put her aside when he married Desiderata.) [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlemagne
Mistress (1): HIMILTRUD ---. "Himiltrude nobili puella" is named mother of "Pippinum" in the Gesta Mettensium.[http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/CAROLINGIANS.htm#_Toc240955192]

The union with Himiltrude produced two children:

1.1 Amaudru, a daughter[36] [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlemagne Note: Charles Cawley’s MedLands has no record of this daughter

1.2 Pippin the Hunchback (ca. 769–811) [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlemagne] PEPIN “le Bossu” ([770]-Abbey of Prüm 811). He is named, and his parentage recorded, in the Gesta Mettensium, which specifies that he was born before his father married Queen Hildegard[152]. He rebelled against his father in 792, allegedly due to the cruelty of Queen Fastrada[153], was judged by an assembly at Regensburg and imprisoned in the Abbey of St-Gallen. He was transferred to the Abbey of Prüm in 794[154]. http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/CAROLINGIANS.htm#_Toc240955192]

Please see Charlemagne Project for Source Details


Himiltrude (c. 742-c.780?) was the mother of Charlemagne's first-born son Pippin the Hunchback.


Little is known about Himiltrude's origins. Paulus Diaconus calls her a "noble girl". Her appearance of her name in fraternity books of Alemannian monasteries may suggest an affiliation to the Alemannian or Alsatian nobility, while other sources make her the daughter of a Burgundian count and a granddaughter of Grimbert I, Count of Paris. It is not possible, however, to extrapolate any political ramifications from Charlemagne's relationship with Himiltrude.

Himiltrude probably entered into a relationship with Charlemagne during the lifetime of his father, Pepin the Short. When Charlemagne acceded to the throne in 768, Himiltrude remained unnamed in official sources – contrary to the example set by Charlemagne's mother Bertrada. Himiltrude bore Charles a daughter called Amaudru, who would later marry a Count of Paris, and at the end of 769 a son called Pepin. Shortly after Pepin's birth, an alliance was formulated between Charlemagne and the King of the Lombards, Desiderius: to seal the alliance, it was agreed that Charlemagne should marry Desiderius' daughter (called Desiderata by modern scholars).

Himiltrude was dismissed at that time and disappears from historical records. A grave excavated in the monastery of Nivelles was found to contain the corpse of a forty-year old woman, possibly identifiable with Himiltrude; if so, Himiltrude would appear to have died long after 770, although if and when she retired to Nivelles cannot be deduced.

Her son Pepin, who suffered from a spinal deformity and was called "the Hunchback", was eclipsed by Charlemagne's sons from his later marriage to Hildegard. Following an attempted rebellion against his father, he was confined to a monastery.

Marital status

The nature of Himiltrude's relationship to Charlemagne is a matter of dispute. Charlemagne's biographer Einhard calls her a "concubine" and Paulus Diaconus speaks of Pippin's birth "before legal marriage"; whereas a letter by Pope Stephen III refers to Charlemagne and his brother Carloman as being already married (to Himiltrude and Gerberga), and advises them not to dismiss their wives.

Historians have interpreted the information in different ways. Some, such as Pierre Riché, follow Einhard in describing Himiltrude as a concubine. Others, for example Dieter Hägemann, consider Himiltrude a wife in the full sense. Still others subscribe to the idea that the relationship between the two was "something more than concubinage, less than marriage" and describe it as a Friedelehe, a form of marriage unrecognized by the Church and easily dissolvable. Russell Chamberlin, for instance, compared it with the English system of common-law marriage. This form of relationship is often seen in a conflict between Christian marriage and more flexible Germanic concepts.

From Wikipaedia: Marriages and heirs of Charlemagne Charlemagne had twenty children over the course of his life with eight of his ten known wives or concubines. Nonetheless, he only had four legitimate grandsons, the four sons of his third son, Louis. In addition, he had a grandson (Bernard of Italy, the only son of his third son, Pippin of Italy), who was born illegitimate but included in the line of inheritance. So, despite twenty children, the claimants to his inheritance were few.

1. His first relationship was with Himiltrude. The nature of this relationship is variously described as concubinage, a legal marriage, or a Friedelehe.[35] (Charlemagne put her aside when he married Desiderata.) The union with Himiltrude produced two children: - Amaudru, a daughter[36] - Pippin the Hunchback (ca. 769–811)




With Himiltrude () (regarded by some as legally married)

Pippin the Hunchback (c769-811); no recorded children
Little disagreement about him.

Amaudru (c770); three recorded children; and later generations Not mentioned by several researchers, including Medieval Lands. Some say she may be confused with a niece or another daughter. Medieval Lands lists a daughter (by an unnamed mistress "2") "CHROTHAIS [Rota%C3%AFde] ([784]-after 800, maybe after 814)" then refers to her as "Ruodhaidem"; but despite the name and birth date similarity that site shows her as distinct from Madelgard's daughter. Reference to her mother on Die Genealogie der Franken und Frankreichs, noted by Wikipedia, says she later married a Count of Paris.

[http://a-e-g.chat.ru/trees/arnulf/15.htm] The winds of history in the year 770 no longer blow from Aquitaine but from Lombardy. This Kingdom, north of a strange Italy of the time [Italy being bitten into little pieces by the aspirations of the Lombards to the North, the Byzantines and the Pope. Charles, though the "devoted defender of the Holy Church and its auxilliaries in all things" as he refers to himself, should logically and normally have followed the politics of his father with respect to Rome, and therefore to protect the papacy from its enemies, the Lombards. But he would hear none of it. Carloman casts a benign eye on the Lombards, where Didier, the ancient Duke of Tuscanny still reigned.

Bertrada, the widow of Pippin, despairing at the level of hate which separated her two sons, took matters into her hands, as a strong-willed woman is sometimes wont to do when endowed with power. She visits Carloman near Seltz [in Alsace], and secures his agreement from him. She crosses the Alps under the pretext of "worshiping in Rome the temples of the Holy Apostles" and visits Pope Stephen III. In fact, she had but one thing on her mind: To reconcile her two sons by bringing Charles closer to the Lombards, since Carloman is the friend of the ruler of Lombardy. The politics of the two brothers then would become tied to a common interest, That could be a first step. One could also marry Gisele, sister of Charles and Carloman to Didier"s son. Unfortunately, Gisele is not yet nubile.

In the meantime, Bertrada proposes the marriage of her son Charles with Desiree, Didier"s daughter! The King of the Lombards accepts the proposal as does Charles. However, the future emperor is already attached to a young frankish woman, Himiltrude, who has born him a son and a daughter -- unfortunately, the son is hunchback. Although Himiltrude is only a concubine of the King, the Pope being furious with the developments bringing together his natural protectors, the Francs, with his natural enemies, the Lombards, calls the union of Charles to Desiree diabolical. How can the Francs, a race ".. endowed with such beautiful women ..." posibly consider a union with "...this fetid race of Lombards, the most perfidious, and odious of all races, who have never been counted in the race of civilized nations, and from whom leprosy came ..." Pope Stephen III exclaimed.

Whiles Charles considers the matter, Bertrada gets Desiree and brings her to her son in Pavia. His first look at Desiree immediately caused him to miss Himiltrude. It seems that Desiree was the epitomy of ugliness. The marriage takes place anyway.

She may not have been his first REAL wife as her only listing describes her as "concubinage". In which case, she may have been a "mistress" instead.


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Himiltrude's Timeline

Aachen, Rhineland, Prussia
April 769
Aachen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Age 41
Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
October 10, 1941
Age 41
April 22, 1942
Age 41