Forbidden Lovers on the Run Excommunicated by Father
Count Baldwin rose to prominence when he eloped with Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald, king of West Francia. Judith had previously been married to Æthelwulf and Æthelbald, kings of Wessex, but after the latter's death in 860, she returned to France. Around the Christmas of 861, at the instigation of Baldwin and with her brother Louis's consent, Judith escaped the custody into which she had been placed in the city of Senlis, Oise after her return from England. She fled north with Count Baldwin. Charles had given no permission for a marriage and tried to capture Baldwin, sending letters to Rorik of Dorestad and Bishop Hungar, forbidding them to shelter the fugitive. After Baldwin and Judith had evaded his attempts to capture them, Charles had his bishops excommunicate the couple. Judith and Baldwin responded by travelling to Rome to plead their case with Pope Nicholas I. By 23 November 862, their plea was successful and Charles was forced to accept the situation. The marriage took place on 13 December 862 in Auxerre. King Charles appointed Baldwin Margrave of Flanders, responsible for repelling the Viking invasions. Some theorize Charles did this in the hope that Baldwin would be killed. Baldwin was very successful in the position and used it to build his domain.