Eadgyth: the oldest remains of an English princess

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The University of Bristol announced today, January 20th, the recent discovery of the remains of the Saxon Princess Eadgyth, possibly the oldest member of the English royal family whose remains have survived. They were excavated from beneath an elaborate 16th-century monument bearing her name in Magdeburg Cathedral as part of a wider research project into the cathedral.

Eadgyth of Wessex was born in 910. She was the daughter of Edward the Elder, King of Wessex from 900 to 924, and his second wife Aelfflaed and was the granddaughter of Alfred the Great. She was given in marriage to Otto I by her step-brother Athelstan, who was king of Wessex from 929 to 939. Following his victory at the Battle of Brunanburgh in 937, Athelstan later became one of the first kings of a unified England comprising various Saxon and Celtic kingdoms. Otto I, also known as Otto the Great, succeeded his father Henry I as King of Germany in 936. He founded the Ottonian dynasty in Germany and, in 962, was crowned Holy Roman Emperor....

Eadgyth is believed to be the oldest member of the English royal family whose remains have survived. The tomb of her brother Athelstan still exists in Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, but is believed to be empty. Her sister Adiva was married to an unknown European ruler; the location of her tomb remains a mystery. However, with the recent discovery of Eadgyth's remains, 500 years after they were transferred to Magdeburg Cathedral, who knows what lies beneath Athelstan's tomb in Malmesbury Abbey?

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