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Beatrice, countess/duke of Upper Lorraine

Title social-status: 
countess/duke of Upper Lorraine
Biography: 

Beatrice was the sister of Hugh Capet and related through their mother Hedwig/Haduide to the first Ottonians and to the last Carolingians: Hedwig was a sister of emperor Otto I and of Gerberga, mother of Lothar (king of France, 954-86). Countess Beatrice was regent for her son Dietrich after the death of her husband, Frederick of upper Lorraine, and was an important player in a series of peace negotiations, particularly around the regency for emperor Otto III.(1) She was in correspondence with both Gerbert of Aurillac and Adalbero of Reims and a participant in high level diplomatic meetings. Beatrice’s descendents include her great granddaughter, also Beatrice, a later ruler of Lorraine, and Beatrice’s daughter Matilda, countess of Tuscany.

Biographical notes: 

(1) Karl Leyser notes her de facto regency for her son and her political prominence, Communications and Power in Medieval Europe, The Carolingian and Ottonian Centuries, ed. Timothy Reuter (London: Hambledon, 1994), 166, and fn5. The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History attributes a key role in the peace negotiations to Gerbert: “the ablest ecclesiastic of the day, Gerbert of Aurillac . . . pulled every diplomatic wire,” 1.444, and does not mention Beatrice, but Gerbert himself implies that Beatrice was at least as important a player, see his letter to Beatrice below. Ferdinand Lot notes the big role Beatrice played in the negotiations and in the conclusion of peace, at Worms in 984, at Frankfort in 985, and at Compiègne in 987, Les Derniers Carolingiens (Paris: Bouillon, 1891), 141, 161, 195.