|Gerberga of Saxony|
Gerberga depicted in the Ottonian family tree in the Chronica St. Pantaleonis
|Queen consort of France|
|Spouse||Gilbert, Duke of Lorraine|
Louis IV, King of France
|Lothair, King of France|
Matilda, Queen of Burgundy
Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine
|Father||Henry the Fowler|
|Mother||Matilda of Ringelheim|
Gerberga of Saxony (c. 913 - 5 May 968/9 or 984?) was a French queen who ruled as regent of France during the minority of her son Lothair in 954-959. She was a member of the Ottonian dynasty. Her first husband was Gilbert, Duke of Lorraine. Her second husband was Louis IV of France. Contemporary sources describe her as a highly educated, intelligent and forceful political player.
Gerberga was born c. 913. She was the second daughter of Henry the Fowler, King of Germany, and his second wife, Matilda (after Hedwig of Saxony, three years her senior). Her older brother was Otto I of Germany.
Jocundus, a Lotharingian chronicler writing in the 1070s, recorded that Gerberga was the driving force behind Gilbert's decision to support her younger brother Henry when he rebelled against her older brother Otto I c. 936. Gilbert was defeated by Otto I in 939 at the Battle of Andernach and, while trying to escape, drowned in the Rhine.
When Gilbert died, Gerberga was about 26 years old. She married secondly Louis IV of France in 939. They were parents to eight children:
Louis IV died on 10 September 954. At this time, his son and heir with Gerberga, Lothair of France, was only thirteen. Gerberga took action to ensure that Lothar could succeed his father. She reached an agreement with her brother-in-law Hugh the Great, who had been an adversary to Lothair's father. In exchange for supporting Lothair's rule Hugh was given rule over Aquitaine and much of Burgundy. Gerberga did not seek the support of her brother, Emperor Otto I, because the interference of the East-Frankish emperor in West-Frankish affairs would have placed the West-Frankish kingdom in a weak position politically, and angered the West-Frankish nobles.
After the death of Hugh the Great in 956, Gerberga and her sister Hadwig (who was Hugh's widow) were the heads of the two most powerful dynasties in West Francia. Along with their brother, Bruno, who was both archbishop of Cologne and duke of Lotharingia, Gerberga and Hadwig ruled the kingdom, until Lothair came of age.
In 959, after Lothair had come of age, Gerberga became abbess of the Benedictine monastery of Notre Dame in Soissons. Nevertheless, she remained politically active. In 961 she was involved in choosing the new archbishop of Reims, Odalric. In 965 she was present at the imperial court in Cologne, when her son Lothair married Emma of Italy, the step-daughter of her brother Emperor Otto I.
There is some debate about when Gerberga died. She is last documented in May 968. Since necrology records indicate that she died on 5 May, her date of death is often given as 968 or 969, The death date of 5 May 968 is not possible since Gerberga was still alive on 17 May 968 so her death date could only be in 969 or later some maintain that Gerberga did not die until 984. She is buried in the Abbey of Saint-Remi in Reims, Champagne.