Fastrada (c. 765 – 10 August 794) was queen consort of East Francia by marriage to Charlemagne, as his third wife.

Queen consort of the Franks
Bornc. 765
Died10 August 794 (aged 28–29)
SpouseCharlemagne (m. c. 783)
FatherEast Frankish Count Rudolph


Fastrada was born circa 765 at Ingelheim, the daughter of the powerful East Frankish Count Rudolph (also called Eadolf), and his wife, Aeda.

Fastrada became the third wife of Charlemagne,[1] marrying him in October 783 at Worms, Germany, a few months after Queen Hildegard’s death. A probable reason behind the marriage was to solidify a Frankish alliance east of the Rhine when Charles was still fighting the Saxons.

Due to her influence Pepin the Hunchback, son of Charlemagne and Himiltrude, was publicly tonsured after an attempted rebellion against his father. Fastrada soon won a reputation for cruelty, though contemporary sources suggest that she played an active role alongside her husband.[2]

Fastrada died on 10 August 794 in Frankfurt (in present-day Germany), during the synod of Frankfurt and was buried in St. Alban's Abbey, Mainz, long before the abbey was finished. Due to Archbishop Richulf's influence, she was not buried in the Basilique Saint-Denis, the burial site of almost all the Frankish and French monarchs, nor St. Arnulf's Abbey near Metz. After the destruction of St. Alban's Abbey in 1552, her tombstone was transferred to Mainz Cathedral, where it can be seen today in the wall of the southern nave.[3]


In popular cultureEdit

The Stephen Schwartz musical Pippin features a stylized Fastrada, portrayed by Leland Palmer in the original 1972 Broadway cast, by Chita Rivera in the 1981 television film, and by Charlotte d'Amboise in the 2013 Broadway revival.[4]


  1. ^ As described by historians such as Pierre Riché (The Carolingians, p.86.), Lewis Thorpe (Two Lives of Charlemagne, p.216) and others. Other historians list Himiltrude, described by Einhard as a concubine, as Charlemagne's first wife, and reorder his subsequent wives; accordingly Fastrada is sometimes numbered as his fourth wife. See Dieter Hägemann (Karl der Große. Herrscher des Abendlands, Ullstein 2003, p. 82f.), Collins (Charlemagne, p. 40.).
  2. ^ Innes, Matthew (May 2018). "Queenship in Dispute: Fastrada, History and Law". Writing the Early Medieval West. doi:10.1017/9781108182386.016. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  3. ^ Franz Dumont, Ferdinand Scherf, Friedrich Schütz: Mainz - Die Geschichte der Stadt, Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1998
  4. ^ "Pippin 2013". Playbill. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
Preceded by Queen of the Franks
Succeeded by