December 16


The Feast of St Adelaide of Burgundy (931-999).

Even princesses need patron saints.

The actual tangled lives of the royal families of medieval Europe are not far different from episodes in The Game of Thrones, though with fewer dragons. Adelaide was born into the ruling family of Burgundy and was married at age 15 to the head of a rival kingdom, Lothair II. When Lothair was poisoned, his murderous successor tried to make the royal widow marry his son but Adelaide refused and was thrown into prison. She managed to contact Otto, King of the Germans, who not only secured her release but married her. In 962 Otto was crowned Holy Roman Emperor and Adelaide became an empress. After Otto’s death she experienced difficulties with her daughter-in-law and was forced into seclusion on several occasions but spent much time in charity, founding monastic institutions and sponsoring attempts to Christianize pagan barbarians of the north.

Adelaide, because of her position and many adventures, is the patron saint of (in alphabetical order) abuse victims; brides; empresses; exiles; in-law problems; parenthood; parents of large families; princesses; prisoners; second marriages; step-parents; widows.

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