Archaeologists in Magdeburg, Germany, are about to open a stone tomb that has laid undisturbed for 500 years at the city’s cathedral. With any luck this monument will contain the remains of Edith of England, who had been queen of Germany more than 1,000 years ago. And while there’s a strong likelihood that this ancient grave will be empty, what the researchers find when they open the lead coffin astonishes them.
We’ll find out what the archaeologists discovered in that ancient tomb in magnificent Magdeburg Cathedral shortly. But, first, let’s learn something about the Englishwoman who began her rule of Germany in 936. For starters, Edith is a modernizing of her name; in Old English, the moniker was the tongue-twisting Eadgyth.
And as Edith was born into the House of Wessex in the year 910, she could hardly have had a more illustrious family tree. You see, her father was English king Edward the Elder, with her mother, Ælfflæd, having been Edward’s second wife. Not only that, but Edith’s grandfather – Ælfflæd’s father – was Alfred the Great, who remains one of the best known of all the English monarchs.