Princess Eadgyth

On 20th January 2010 it was announced that the remains of King Athelstan's half-sister Eadgyth (pronounced Edith), were believed to have been unearthed at Magdeburg Cathedral in Germany.

Athelstan, whose tomb is in Malmesbury Abbey and is now recognised to be the first true king of England, decided to create a powerful union between the kings of England and Germany by sending his half-sisters Eadgyth and Algiva to Saxony as potential brides for Otto 1, the Holy Roman Emperor. Otto and Eadgyth were married in 929 and Eadgyth lived in Saxony until her death in 946, aged 36. Algiva married Charles III of France.

During a research project at Magdeburg Cathedral in 2008, Eadgyth's tomb, thought to be an empty cenotaph, was opened and inside a lead coffin was discovered bearing Queen Eadgyth's name and a record of her remains being transferred there in 1510. The coffin contained an almost complete female skeleton aged between 30 and 40, wrapped in silk.

Professor Mark Horton of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at Bristol University co-ordinated research which has matched isotopes in the teeth with known locations around Wessex and Mercia where Eadgyth probably spent her childhood.

This is one of the most exciting historical discoveries of recent years and Eadgyth is likely to be the oldest member of the English royal family whose remains have survived.

On 17th June 2010 Bristol University confirmed that the excavated bones are those of Princess Eadgyth.

For the full story click on the link News from Bristol University.