When a Final Resting Place Is Not a Grave Matter

Kim Rendfeld

Bertrada and Pepin in Basilica of St. Denis Thirteenth-century effigies depict Charlemagne’s parents, Bertrada and Pepin, at the Basilica of St. Denis. (From Wikimedia Commons, used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, photo by Sailko.)

In my post about Charlemagne and Fastrada for the Lovers theme on Unusual Historicals, I omitted something: where Fastrada is not buried.

What? I hear you ask. Where she’s not buried? Why would that matter?

Well, it doesn’t, but I’ve seen nonfiction authors place meaning in the fact that Charlemagne’s fourth wife is not buried at Basilica of St. Denis near Paris, the resting place of many monarchs, including the king’s parents. Apparently, we should interpret this as a sign that Fastrada was hated and was the cause of rebellions against her husband, as his posthumous biography says.

But this supposition starts to fall apart when we put this in context. Fastrada was interred within a church, the most desired…

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