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Hedwiga

Duchess consort of Saxony
The basics
About
Family
Father: Henry of Franconia
Spouse: Otto I Duke of Saxony
Children: Henry I the Fowler Oda of Saxony
The details
Biography

Hedwiga (also known as Hathui; c. 850/55 – 24 December 903), a member of the Elder House of Babenberg (Popponids), was Duchess of Saxony from about 880 until her death, by her marriage with the Liudolfing duke Otto the Illustrious. She is the mother of King Henry the Fowler.

Life

She probably was the daughter of Henry of Franconia (d. 886), documented as a princeps militiae of the East Frankish king Louis the Younger and dux of Austrasia under emperor Charles the Fat. Hedwiga's mother probably was related to the imperial Carolingian dynasty, however, a presumed descent of princess Gisela could not be conclusively established. Dux Henry died fighting against the Vikings during the Siege of Paris in West Francia.

About 869/70 Hedwiga married Otto (d. 912), a younger son of late Saxon count Liudolf. Her husband's family had already achieved a dominating position in the stem duchy; Otto's sister Liutgard was married to King Louis the Younger about the same time. With the support of his brother-in-law King Louis the Younger, Otto succeeded as head of the Liudolfing dynasty and heir of the Saxon estates, when his elder brother Bruno was killed fighting against the Vikings in the 880 Battle of Lüneburg Heath. Hedwiga's husband remained a loyal supporter of the Carolingian dynasty, while he rose to the position of a Saxon duke (Herzog).

Hedwiga and Otto had three sons: Henry the Fowler (who succeeded his father in 912) and his elder brothers Thankmar and Liudolf, who both died young; as well as a daughter, Oda who married King Zwentibold of Lotharingia, an illegitimate son of Emperor Arnulf, in 897.

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