Martel, Judith (c. 844–?)

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Martel, Judith (c. 844–?)

Countess of Flanders . Name variations: Princess Judith. Born around 844; death date unknown; daughter of Charles I the Bald, king of France (r. 840–877), also known as Charles II, Holy Roman emperor (r. 875–877), and Ermentrude (d. 869); became second wife of Ethelwulf, king of Wessex and the English (r. 839–858), on October 1, 856; then married Ethelwulf's son Ethelbald (c. 834–860), king of Wessex and the English (r. 855–860), in 858 or 860 (annulled); married Baldwin I (d. 879), count of Flanders (r. 862–878), in 863; children: (third marriage) Charles of Flanders; Baldwin II (d. 918), count of Flanders (r. 878–918); Ralph (b. 865), count and abbott of Cambrai; Gunhilda of Flanders ; (stepchildren) Alfred the Great, king of the English (r. 871–899).

Contrary to tradition, the 13-year-old Judith Martel was crowned queen-consort when she married Ethelwulf, king of the English, at Verberie-sur-Oise, France, on October 1, 856. Since this made her Ethelwulf's equal, the deed was not well received by the Saxons across the Channel and would cause problems some years later. At the time of the marriage, Ethelwulf had already had an illegitimate child (an Oxford don) and five children with his first wife, Osburga (d. 855), including Alfred the Great, king of the English.

Following Ethelwulf's death in 858, Judith married her stepson Ethelbald, king of Wessex and the English, but the marriage was annulled. She was then abducted by and married to Baldwin I, known as Ironhand, whom one historian called a "Flemish thug."