Empress Matilda

public profile

Empress Matilda's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!



Nicknames: "Matilda", "Mathilda", "Mathilde", "Maud", "Adelheid", "Adelaide", "Alice", "Beauclerc", "Plantagenet", "Anjou", "Matilda of England", "Maude", "HR Empress Matilda of England and Queen of Germany", "Holy Roman Empress", "Queen of Germany", "Empress Matilda", "Lady of the English (disp..."
Birthplace: Sutton Courtnay, Nr Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England
Death: Died in Rouen, France
Place of Burial: Bec Abbey, Le Bec-Helouin, Eure, France
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Henry I "Beauclerc", King of England and Matilda of Scotland
Wife of Henry V King of Germany, IV Holy Roman Emperor and Geoffroy V, comte d'Anjou et Maine
Mother of Agnes Plantagenet; Henry II, King of England; Geoffrey "Mantell" Plantagenet, VI, Count of Nantes and William, Count of Poitou
Sister of Euphemia (name & sex unconfirmed) Child of Henry I & Mathilda; Guillaume Adelin de Normandie, Duke of Normandy and Hugh
Half sister of Constance Princess of Bretagne; Filip VI Av Valoise; Robert de Caen, Earl of Gloucester; Matilda FitzHenry; Juliane and 20 others

Occupation: Holy Roman Empress; Queen of England, April 7 to Nov. 1, 1141 (uncrowned), Princess, Empress Consort of the Holy Roman Empire, Princess of England, Empress of Germany, The Empress of Normandy, Procl. Queen of England 1141~1154, Queen of England
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Matilda


from Medlands


2. MATILDA (Winchester or London 1102-Abbaye de Notre-Dame des Près, near Rouen 10 Sep 1167, bur Abbaye du Bec, Normandy, later moved to Rouen Cathedral). Her parentage is stated by Orderic Vitalis[144]. The Chronicle of Gervase records the birth "secundo anno regni" of "filiam…Matildis"[145]. According to Weir[146], she was christened Adelaide but adopted the name Matilda on her first marriage. The primary source on which this is based has not yet been identified. The chronology of Matilda´s first marriage is complicated. Negotiations for the marriage started in 1109: Henry of Huntingdon records that ambassadors were sent by “Henrico imperatore Romano” to request “filiam regis” in marriage for “domini sui”, that they were received in the English court “ad Pentecosten”, and that “filia regis” was given (“data”) to “imperatori” in the following year, dated to [1109/10] from the context[147]. The English king's presence in London at that time is confirmed by the Regesta Regum Anglorum which lists three charters dated 13 June 1109 “Pentecost” issued at Westminster in King Henry's name[148]. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records in 1109 that “before Whitsuntide” King Henry I returned to England from Normandy and “held his court at Westminster” where “the contracts were completed and the oaths sworn for the marriage of his daughter to the emperor” and in 1110 that “before Lent, the king sent his daughter oversea with innumerable treasures and gave her in marriage to the emperor”[149]. Florence of Worcester records that "rex Anglorum Henricus” granted “filiam suam...in conjugem" to "Heinrico regi Teutonicorum", dated to 1110 from the context[150]. In a later passage, the same source records that "Matildis filia regis Anglorum” who was “Heinrico, Romanorum imperatori...desponsata" was consecrated empress "VIII Id Jan" (6 January) at Mainz, dated to 1114 from the context[151]. The Continuatio of the Gesta Ducum Normannorum records that “Henricus quintus rex et quartus imperator Romanorum et Alemannorum” requested in marriage the daughter of the king of England who was brought to his kingdom, that the couple were betrothed (“desponsavit”) in Utrecht at Easter, and that Matilda was consecrated queen in Mainz “in festivitate sancti Iacobi” (25 July) by the archbishop of Köln. Matilda was then carefully brought up (“studiose nutriri precepit”) by Bruno archbishop of Trier, including learning the German language and customs, until the time for her marriage (“tempus nuptiarum”)[152]. Orderic Vitalis records that "Henricus rex Anglorum" gave “Mathildem filiam suam...in uxorem” to “Imperatori”, that “Rogerius filius Ricardi [identified as Roger FitzRichard de Clare] cognatus regis, cum nobili comitatu in Anglia” escorted her to Germany, and that her dowry was 10,000 marks, undated but dated to [1110] from the context[153]. The dating is confirmed approximately by a later passage in the same source, recording the death of Emperor Heinrich, which states that he married Matilda three years after succeeding his father (who died in August 1106)[154]. Another passage records that “Henricus rex” gave “Mathildem filiam suam...in conjugium” to “Karolo [error for Henrico] Henrici filio Imperatori Alemannorum”, that she was led to her husband by “Burchardus præsul Cameracensium”, in the presence of “Rogerius...filius Ricardi, aliique plures ex Normannis comitati”[155]. This last passage is dated to [1109] from the context. However, Burchard was not appointed bishop of Cambrai until 1114: the Annales Cameracensis record that “domnus Burgardus” was elected [as bishop] in 1114[156]. The Annals of Winchester record that “rex” sent “filiam suam Matildem” for betrothal (“desponsandam”) to “imperatori Henrico” with 5,000 marks of silver in 1110, adding that she was only 8 years and 15 days old[157]. The Annals of Winchelcombe, Gloucestershire record in 1114 that “Matildis filia regis Anglorum Henrici” married (“desponsatur...sponsam suscepit”) “Anglici regis filiam” and that the dowry was agreed (“more dotavit”) in Utrecht at Easter[158]. Simeon of Durham records in 1110 that "rex Anglorum Henricus" gave “filiam suam” in marriage (“in conjugem dedit”) to “Henrico imperatori”, adding that he sent her from Dover “usque ad Witsand” at the start of “Quadragesimæ...IV Id Apr”[159]. The same source records in 1114 that "Mathildis filia regis Anglorum Henrici" was married (“desponsata”) to “Henrico Romanorum imperatori” and was consecrated empress at Mainz “VIII Id Jan”[160]. The Annales Hildesheimensis record a synod held “Non Mar” in 1110 by Pope Paschal who sent legates to Liège (“Leodium ad regem”) and that there (“ibi”) “rex” received as wife (“sponsam suscepit”) “Anglici regis filiam” and that he granted her dower in accordance with the customs of the kingdom (“regio more dotavit”) in Utrecht at Easter[161]. The same source records in 1114 that Matilda married (“desponsatur”) “Henrico Romanorum imperatori”[162]. The Annales Sancti Disibodi record in 1109 that “Rex” was betrothed (“desponsata”) to “filia regis Anglorum” and in 1114 that “Imperator” passed Christmas at “Babinberg” and married (“nuptias fecit”) at Mainz “post epiphaniam”[163]. Matilda was crowned empress again in 1117 with her husband at St Peter’s Basilica, Rome. Her second marriage is recorded by Orderic Vitalis[164]. The Chronicle of Gervase records the second marriage of "filiam suam…viduam" to "Gaufrido comiti Andegaviæ"[165]. Matilda asserted the right to succeed after the death of her father and fought King Stephen in a civil war in which she was finally defeated 1 Nov 1141. Robert of Torigny records the death "1167…IV Id Sep Rothomagi" of "matris suæ [Henrici regis] Mathildis imperatricis" and her burial "Becci"[166]. The necrology of Angers Cathedral records the death "II Id Sep" of "Mathildis imperatrix filia Henrici regis uxor Goffredi comitis"[167]. m firstly (betrothed Utrecht Easter 1110[168], Mainz 6 Jan 1114) Emperor HEINRICH V, son of Emperor HEINRICH IV & his first wife Berthe de Savoie (1081-Utrecht 23 May 1125, bur Speyer Cathedral). m secondly (Le Mans Cathedral, Anjou 17 Jun 1128) GEOFFROY d’Anjou, son of FOULQUES V Comte d’Anjou & his first wife Aremburge de Maine (24 Aug 1113-Château du Loire 7 Sep 1151, bur Le Mans Cathedral, Anjou). He succeeded on the abdication of his father in 1129 as GEOFFROI V “le Bel/Plantagenet” Comte d’Anjou. He was proclaimed Duke of Normandy 19 Jan 1144. Matilda & her second husband had three children:

HENRI d’Anjou (Le Mans, Anjou 5 Mar 1133-Château de Chinon 6 Jul 1189, bur Abbaye de Fontevrault). William of Tyre names him and records his parentage[345]. The Chronicæ Sancti Albini records the birth "1133 III Non Mar" of "Henricus"[346]. Comte de Touraine et du Maine 1151. He succeeded his father in 1151 as HENRI Comte d’Anjou, Duke of Normandy. He became Duke of Aquitaine by right of his wife 18 May 1152. He succeeded King Stephen 19 Dec 1154 as HENRY II King of England, crowned in Westminster Abbey the same day. m (Bordeaux Cathedral 18 May 1152) as her second husband, ELEONORE Dss of Aquitaine, divorced wife of LOUIS VII King of France, daughter of GUILLAUME X Duke of Aquitaine, GUILLAUME VIII Comte de Poitou & his first wife Eléonore de Châtellerault (Nieul-sur-Autize, Vendée or Château de Belin, Guyenne or Palais d’Ombrière, Bordeaux 1122-Abbaye de Fontevrault 1 Apr 1204, bur Abbaye de Fontevrault). The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines names "Alienor Guilielmi filia comits Pictavorum et Aquitanie ducis" as wife of "regi Francie Ludovico"[347]. She was crowned Queen Consort of England with her husband 19 Dec 1154 at Westminster Abbey. She supported the revolt of her sons against their father in 1173, was captured and imprisoned in the château de Chinon, later at Salisbury until 1179. The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines records the burial of "uxor [regis Henrici] regina Alienordis" in the same abbey as her husband[348].


2. GEOFFROY d’Anjou (Rouen, Normandy 1 Jun 1134-Nantes 26 Jul 1158, bur Nantes). Robert of Torigny records the birth "1134 mense Maio in Pentecoste Rothomagi" of "Gaufridus secundus filius Gaufridi comitis Andegavensis", specifying that his mother "Matildis imperatrix" was "infirmata…propter difficultatem partus usque ad desperationem"[349]. The Chronicæ Sancti Albini records the birth "1134 Kal Jun" of "Gaufridus"[350]. William of Tyre names him as his parents' second son[351]. "Goffridus comes filius Fulconis regis Jerusalem" renounced rights to Angers with the consent of "filiis meis Henrico et Goffrido" by charter dated [1136/1140] which also names "uxori meæ Mathildi"[352]. His father intended him to succeed as Comte d'Anjou, but his brother Henri did not permit this. Geoffroy revolted against his brother in 1152 and 1156, after which his castles of Chinon, Loudun and Mirebeau were confiscated. He was appointed Comte de Nantes by his brother in 1157 after the expulsion of Comte Hoël[353]. Matthew of Paris specifies that Geoffroy was the brother of King Henry II when he records his death in 1158, after which Nantes was transferred to his brother[354]. Robert of Torigny records the death "1158 mense Julio" of "Gaufrido comite Nannetensi fratre Henrici regis Julio"[355].

3. GUILLAUME d’Anjou (Argentan 22 Jul 1136-Rouen 30 Jan 1164, bur Rouen Cathedral). Robert of Torigny records the birth "1136 mense Augusto apud Argentomagum" of "Guillermus tercius filius comitis Gaufridi"[356]. The Chronicæ Sancti Albini records the birth "1136 XI Kal Aug" of "Guillelmus"[357]. William of Tyre names him as his parents' third son "cognomento Longaspata"[358]. Comte de Poitou. His brother granted him extensive lordships in fifteen English counties and the vicomté of Dieppe[359]. Robert of Torigny records the death "apud Rothomagum III Kal Feb…1164" of "Willermus frater Henrici regis" and his burial "in ecclesia Sanctæ Mariæ"[360].


Matilda 'the Empress' of England1

From the Peerage

F, #102037, b. circa August 1102, d. 10 September 1167

Matilda 'the Empress' of England|b. c Aug 1102\nd. 10 Sep 1167|p10204.htm#i102037|Henry I 'Beauclerc', King of England|b. Sep 1068\nd. 1 Dec 1135|p10204.htm#i102033|Editha of Scotland|b. c 1079\nd. 1 May 1118|p10204.htm#i102034|William I 'the Conqueror', King of England|b. bt 1027 - 1028\nd. 9 Sep 1087|p10203.htm#i102022|Matilda de Flandre|b. c 1031\nd. 2 Nov 1083|p10203.htm#i102023|Malcolm III 'Caennmor', King of Scotland|b. 26 Mar 1031\nd. 13 Nov 1093|p10216.htm#i102153|Saint Margaret 'the Exile' (?)|b. 1045\nd. 16 Nov 1093|p10216.htm#i102154|

    Matilda 'the Empress' of England was born circa August 1102 at Winchester, Hampshire, England.2 She was also reported to have been born on 7 February 1102 at England. She was the daughter of Henry I 'Beauclerc', King of England and Editha of Scotland. She married, firstly, Heinrich V, Holy Roman Emperor, son of Heinrich IV, Holy Roman Emperor, on 7 January 1114 at Mainz, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.2 She married, secondly, Geoffrey V Plantagenet, Comte d'Anjou et Maine, son of Fulk V d'Anjou, 9th Comte d'Anjou and Aremburga de la Fleche, Comtesse de Maine, on 22 May 1128 at Le Mans Cathedral, Le Mans, France.3 She was also reported to have been married on 20 May 1127. She died on 10 September 1167 at Abbey of the Notre Dame des Prés, Rouen, Caux, France.2 She was buried at Rouen Cathedral, Rouen, Caux, France.2
    She was given the name of Adelaide at birth.2 As a result of her marriage, Matilda 'the Empress' of England was styled as Empress Matilda of Germany on 7 January 1114.2 She gained the title of Lady of the English on 7 April 1141.2 She was deposed as Lady of the English on 1 November 1141.2 
    Daughter of Henry I and Editha of Scotland, she was nominated by her father as his successor. However, on the death of Henry I, the council considering a woman unfit to rule offered the throne to Stephen. Matilda invaded England and fought (1139 - 1148) to wrest rule from the usurping Stephen. She won much of the west, and after Stephen's capture in April 1141 a clerical council proclaimed Matilda 'Lady of the English'. She entered London but made cash demands that provoked Londoners to expel her before a coronation. On Stephen's release, she suffered defeats (fled from Oxford Castle Dec 1142), and eventually left England for Normandy, now controlled by her husband. The cause of her death is obscure. Although Matilda failed to secure the English throne, she laid a basis for successful claims by descendants of her husband Geoffrey of Anjou.

Children of Matilda 'the Empress' of England and Geoffrey V Plantagenet, Comte d'Anjou et Maine

1.Emma Plantagenet d. b 1214

2.Henry II 'Curtmantle' d'Anjou, King of England+ b. 5 Mar 1133, d. 6 Jul 1189

3.Geoffrey VI d'Anjou, Comte d'Anjou et Nantes b. 1 Jun 1134, d. 26 Jul 1158

4.William de Poitou, Comte de Poitou b. c Jul 1136, d. 30 Jan 1164


1.[S106] Royal Genealogies Website (ROYAL92.GED), online ftp://ftp.cac.psu.edu/genealogy/public_html/royal/index.html. Hereinafter cited as Royal Genealogies Website.

2.[S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 57. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Family.

3.[S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family, page 54.


  • Lady of the English (disputed)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Matilda of England

Holy Roman Empress, Queen of Germany Tenure 7 January 1114 – 23 May 1125 Lady of the English (disputed) Reign 7 April 1141 – 1 November 1141 Predecessor Stephen (as King of England) Successor Stephen (as King of England)

Spouse Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor m. 1114; dec. 1125 Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou m. 1128; dec. 1151 Issue Henry II of England Geoffrey, Count of Nantes William X, Count of Poitou House Norman dynasty Father Henry I of England Mother Matilda of Scotland Born c. 7 February 1102 Died 10 September 1167 (age 65) Rouen Empress Matilda (c. 7 February 1102 – 10 September 1167), also known as Matilda of England or Maude, was the daughter and heir of King Henry I of England. Matilda and her younger brother, William Adelin, were the only legitimate children of King Henry to survive to adulthood. However, her brother's death in the White Ship disaster in 1120 resulted in Matilda being her father's sole heir.

As a child, Matilda was betrothed to and later married Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor, acquiring the title Empress. The couple had no known children and after eleven years of marriage Henry died, leaving Matilda widowed. However, she was then married to Geoffrey, Count of Anjou in a union which her father hoped would produce a male heir and continue the dynasty. She had three sons by Geoffrey of Anjou, the eldest of whom eventually became King Henry II of England. Upon the death of her father in 1135, Matilda was usurped to the throne by her rival and cousin Stephen of Blois, who moved quickly and became crowned King of England whilst Matilda was in Normandy, pregnant with her third child.

Their rivalry for the throne led to years of unrest and civil war in England that have been called The Anarchy. Matilda was the first female ruler of the Kingdom of England, though the length of her effective rule was brief - a few months in 1141. She was never crowned and failed to consolidate her rule (legally and politically). For this reason, she is normally excluded from lists of English monarchs, and her rival (and cousin) Stephen of Blois is listed as monarch for the period 1135–1154. She campaigned unstintingly for her oldest son's inheritance, living to see him ascend the throne of England in 1154.

Early life and marriage to Henry V

Matilda was the elder of the two children born to Henry I of England, son of William the Conqueror, and his wife Matilda of Scotland (also known as Edith) who survived infancy; her younger brother and heir to the throne was William Adelin.[nb 1] Her father sired at least twenty illegitimate children, half-siblings to Matilda.[2] Her maternal grandparents were Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret of Scotland. Margaret was daughter of Edward the Exile and granddaughter of Edmund II of England. Most historians believe Matilda was born in Winchester, but one, John M. Fletcher, argues for the possibility of the royal palace at Sutton (now Sutton Courtenay) in Oxfordshire. Her paternal grandparents were William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders. As a child her relationship with her father was probably not close, considering Henry I ventured to Normandy whilst Matilda was two years old, and the King stayed there for three years. It is likely she saw little of him upon his return either, as Matilda then commenced her education at the Abbey of Wilton, where she was educated by the nuns.[3]

Emperor Henry V and MatildaWhen Matilda was still in early childhood, envoys from Henry V, King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor, travelled to England and asked for her hand in marriage. In spring of 1110 she was sent to Germany, taking with her a large dowry, estimated at 10,000 marks in silver, to become the bride of Henry V.[4] She met her husband-to-be at Liège before travelling to Utrecht where, on 10 April, Matilda became officially betrothed to Henry.[5] On 25 July of the same year she was crowned Queen in a ceremony at Mainz.[6][7] As well as being a young stranger in a foreign court, she also saw most of her English retinue dismissed by the Emperor; Henry V also wished that Matilda learn to speak German. She found herself continuing her education in Germany, being taught by Archbishop Bruno of Trier.[8] Matilda and the Emperor married in June 1114.[9] Her official title as Holy Roman Empress is somewhat dubious; she was never crowned by the Pope, though she was crowned in Rome by the archbishop of Braga, Maurice Bourdin, at Pentecost (13 May, 1117).[10] As Matilda later claimed to have been crowned twice, a ceremony may have take place earlier in the year at Easter. To add further ambiguity to the title, Archbishop Bourdin was declared excommunicate by the Pope in April of 1117, before Pentecost but after Easter.[10] However, as she was the betrothed wife and anointed queen at the time of her husband's coronation by Pope Paschal in 1111, her title held some legitimacy and official records addressed her as regina Romanorum.[10] Bourdin, following the death of Paschal in January 1118, became Antipope Gregory VIII, in opposition to Pope Gelasius II.[10] Later, she led Norman chroniclers to believe that she had been crowned by the Pope himself.[11]

A 14th century depiction of the White Ship sinking of 1120Matilda acted as Henry's regent in Italy, gaining valuable political experience.[11] Her tenure as regent of the Italian lands of the Holy Roman Empire probably lasted from 1117 to 1119, whereupon she rejoined her husband in Lotharingia.[12] However, in 1120, England's heir and Matilda's brother William Adelin drowned in the White Ship sinking. Being the only legitimate male heir, his death cast uncertainty over the succession of the throne. Matilda was Henry I's only legitimate child, but as a female, she was at a substantial political disadvantage. The closest male blood heir at the time was William Clito,[13] but instead of naming a successor, Henry turned his attention to fathering another child. Widowed from Matilda of Scotland in 1118, Henry commenced negotiations for a remarriage following Adelin's death. In 1121 he married Adeliza of Louvain, though the union failed to produce any children.[13]

Meanwhile, the marriage between Henry and Matilda remained childless, and Matilda's father was at the time unwilling to rest his hopes on his daughter providing an heir, assuming that she may be barren.[14] Henry V had already produced an illegitimate daughter, so it was presumed that he was not infertile.[14] Nonetheless, though she had failed to produce an heir for Henry V, she was not blamed; instead, the couple's childlessness was regarded as God's punishment to Henry V for his mistreatment of his father.[15] Henry V died on 23 May 1125, leaving Matilda a widow, aged 22.[15] The imperial couple had no surviving offspring, but Hermann of Tournai stated that Matilda bore a child who lived only a short while.[nb 2] On his deathbed, Henry V entrusted Matilda with the imperial insignia.[16] Having not produced a legitimate child, the Salian dynasty ended. Though the position of Holy Roman Emperor was an elected one, the title often passed from father to son. Matilda handed over the insignia, which were at Trifels Castle, to Adalbert, archbishop of Mainz, and he began proceedings towards the election.[17] The procedure was that the Bavarians, Swabians, Franconians (home of the Salians) and the Saxons elected a successor. Lothair, Duke of Saxony, and rival to the Salians, was elected.[18]

Widowhood, heiress and second marriage

Henry I summoned Matilda to Normandy following the Holy Roman Emperor's death. Matilda was displeased, considering Germany had been her home since a young age, German was now her first language and she was a respected figure in Germany.[19] Nonetheless, she had ceased to be involved in German political affairs and with an opponent on the throne, her future there did not promise anything significantly worthwhile.[18] Accepting that likeliness of his marriage providing him a boy was slim, Henry I decided that Matilda would be his heiress. After residing in Normandy for nearly a year with her father and step-mother, they set sail for England in 1126.[20] In January 1127, Henry made his court swear an oath of allegiance to Matilda and that if no male heir was provided, they must accept her as their ruler.[21] Stephen of Blois was present, and swore the oath of allegiance to Matilda. John of Worcester described a second oath, that was taken one year after the first, at Henry's Easter court (29 April, 1128).[22]

Geoffrey of Anjou, Matilda's second husbandThe question of marriage was entirely down to Matilda's father. Louis VI, King of France, was discontented about Normandy and England united and as such, promoted the claim of William Clito as heir, in order to attempt to cause a rift in the court.[23] Furthermore, Fulk, Count of Anjou, was likely to support Clito's claim due to the longstanding hostility between Normandy and Anjou.[23] The animosity between Normandy and Anjou had temporarily been repaired with the marriage of Henry I's son William Adelin to Fulk's daughter Matilda.[23] However, Adelin's death meant the match was brief. Fulk then married his younger daughter Sibyl to William Clito, though Henry managed to sever the union by having Pope Calixtus II annul the marriage on the grounds of consanguinity.[23][21] However, Louis VI then offered his wife's half-sister Jeanne to Clito for marriage. Her dowry was the Vexin, an area of land bordering Normandy.[23] Furthermore, the murder of Charles I, Count of Flanders in 1127 gave Louis the opportunity to install William as the new Count of Flanders, thus setting him up to be a strong rival of Matilda.[24]

Henry was faced with a predicament of Clito's rising power and he recognised that his daughter must marry in a union of diplomacy to counter this. He arranged for her to marry Geoffrey of Anjou, Fulk's son. Matilda was outraged, and viewed Geoffrey as entirely beneath her, though she could not do anything to prevent the marriage. Matilda was sent to Normandy early in 1127, under the care of Robert of Gloucester, her half-brother.[25] The wedding could not take place straight away, as Geoffrey was considered too young, having not yet turned 14. Nonetheless, he was considered handsome and intelligent, though neither of these traits served to console Matilda. The marriage took place in June 1128 at Le Mans.[26] A month after the marriage, her rival William Clito died suddenly from a battle wound, thus strengthening Matilda's position further.[27]

The marriage, however, was a tempestuous relationship, and after little over a year since their wedding, Matilda left Geoffrey, travelling to Normandy, residing at Rouen.[26] The cause behind the soured relations is not fully known, though historian Marjorie Chibnall stated that, "historians have tended to put the blame on Matilda [...] This is a hasty judgement based on two or three hostile English chroniclers; such evidence as there is suggests Geoffrey was at least as much to blame".[28] Henry eventually summoned her from Normandy, whereupon Matilda returned to England in August 1131.[29] At a great council meeting on 8 September, it was decided that Matilda would return to her husband.[29] Here she received another oath of allegiance, where Stephen once more made his vow to Matilda.[26] The marriage proved a success when, in March 1133, Matilda gave birth to their first child, a son, named Henry in Le Mans.[30] In 1134 the couple's second son, Geoffrey, was born in Rouen.[31] Matilda nearly died in childbirth, and as she lay critically ill, her burial arrangements were planned.[31] However, she recovered from her illness.

Struggle for the throne of England


William the Conqueror invades England William I Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy Richard, Duke of Bernay William II Adela, Countess of Blois Henry I

William II Henry I Empress Matilda William Adelin Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester

StephenEustace IV, Count of Boulogne William I, Count of Boulogne Marie I, Countess of Boulogne


Monarchy of the United Kingdom v · t · e In 1120, her brother William Adelin drowned in the disastrous wreck of the White Ship, making Matilda the only surviving legitimate child of her father King Henry. Her cousin Stephen of Blois was, like her, a grandchild of William (the Conqueror) of Normandy; but her paternal line meant she was senior to Stephen in the line of succession.

After Matilda returned to England, Henry named her as his heir to the English throne and Duchy of Normandy. Henry saw to it that the Anglo-Norman barons, including Stephen, twice swore to accept Matilda as ruler if Henry died without a male heir of his body.

When her father died in Normandy, on 1 December 1135, Matilda was with Geoffrey in Anjou, and, crucially, too far away from events rapidly unfolding in England and Normandy. She and Geoffrey were also at odds with her father over border castles. Stephen of Blois rushed to England upon learning of Henry's death and moved quickly to seize the crown from the appointed heir. He was supported by most of the barons and his brother, Henry, Bishop of Winchester, breaking his oath to defend her rights. Matilda, however, contested Stephen in both realms. She and her husband Geoffrey entered Normandy and began military campaigns to claim her inheritance there. Progress was uneven at first, but she persevered. In Normandy, Geoffrey secured all fiefdoms west and south of the Seine by 1143; in January 1144, he crossed the Seine and took Rouen without resistance. He assumed the title Duke of Normandy, and Matilda became Duchess of Normandy. Geoffrey and Matilda held the duchy conjointly until 1149, then ceded it to their son, Henry, which event was soon ratified by King Louis VII of France. It was not until 1139, however, that Matilda commanded the military strength necessary to challenge Stephen within England.

During the war, Matilda's most loyal and capable supporter was her illegitimate half-brother, Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester.

Matilda's greatest triumph came in February 1141, when her forces defeated and captured King Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln. He was made a prisoner and effectively deposed. Her advantage lasted only a few months. When she arrived in London, the city was ready to welcome her and support her coronation. She used the title of Lady of the English and planned to assume the title of queen upon coronation (the custom which was followed by her grandsons, Richard and John).[32] However, she refused the citizens' request to halve their taxes and, because of her own arrogance,[32] they closed the city gates to her and reignited the civil war on 24 June 1141.

By November, Stephen was free (exchanged for the captured Robert of Gloucester) and a year later, the tables were turned when Matilda was besieged at Oxford but escaped to Wallingford, supposedly by fleeing across snow-covered land in a white cape. In 1141, she escaped Devizes in a similar manner, by disguising herself as a corpse and being carried out for burial.

In 1148, Matilda and Henry returned to Normandy, following the death of Robert of Gloucester, and the reconquest of Normandy by Geoffrey. Upon their arrival, Geoffrey turned Normandy over to Henry and retired to Anjou.

Later life

Matilda's first son, Henry, was showing signs of becoming a successful leader. It was 1147 when Henry, aged 14, had accompanied Matilda on an invasion of England. It soon failed due to lack of preparation but it made him determined that England was his mother's right, and so his own. He returned to England again between 1149 and 1150. On 22 May 1149 he was knighted by King David I of Scotland, his great uncle, at Carlisle.[33] Although the civil war had been decided in Stephen's favour, his reign was troubled. In 1153, the death of Stephen's son Eustace, combined with the arrival of a military expedition led by Henry, led him to acknowledge the latter as his heir by the Treaty of Wallingford.

Matilda retired to Rouen in Normandy during her last years, where she maintained her own court and presided over the government of the duchy in the absence of Henry. She intervened in the quarrels between her eldest son Henry and her second son Geoffrey, Count of Nantes, but peace between the brothers was brief. Geoffrey rebelled against Henry twice before his sudden death in 1158. Relations between Henry and his youngest brother, William X, Count of Poitou, were more cordial, and William was given vast estates in England. Archbishop Thomas Becket refused to allow William to marry the Countess of Surrey and the young man fled to Matilda's court at Rouen. William died there in January 1164, reportedly of disappointment and sorrow. She attempted to mediate in the quarrel between her son Henry and Becket, but was unsuccessful.

Although she gave up hope of being crowned in 1141, her name always preceded that of her son Henry, even after he became king. Matilda died at Notre Dame du Pré near Rouen in 1167 and was buried in the Abbey of Bec-Hellouin, Normandy. Her body was transferred to Rouen Cathedral in 1847; her epitaph reads: "Great by Birth, Greater by Marriage, Greatest in her Offspring: Here lies Matilda, the daughter, wife, and mother of Henry."

Historical fiction

The civil war between supporters of Stephen and the supporters of Matilda has proven popular as a subject in historical fiction. Novels dealing with it include:

Graham Shelby, The Villains of the Piece (1972) (published in the US as The Oath and the Sword) The Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters, and the TV series made from them starring Sir Derek Jacobi Jean Plaidy, The Passionate Enemies, the third book of her Norman Trilogy Sharon Penman, When Christ and His Saints Slept tells the story of the events before, during and after the civil war Haley Elizabeth Garwood, The Forgotten Queen (1997) Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth E. L. Konigsburg, A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver Cecelia Holland, The Earl Joan Wolf, No Dark Place and The Poisoned Serpent are medieval romantic mysteries about supporters of both Stephen and Matilda Ellen Jones, The Fatal Crown (highly inaccurate) Juliet Dymoke, The Lion's Legacy (Being part of a trilogy, the first being, Of The Ring Of Earls, the second, Henry Of The High Rock) Elizabeth Chadwick, "Lady of the English" (2011) Indeed, some novels go so far as to posit a love-affair between Matilda and Stephen, e.g. the Janna Mysteries by Felicity Pulman, set during the civil war between Stephen and Matilda.

Matilda is a character in Jean Anouilh's play Becket. In the 1964 film adaptation she was portrayed by Martita Hunt. She was also portrayed by Brenda Bruce in the 1978 BBC TV series The Devil's Crown, which dramatised the reigns of her son and grandsons.

Finally, Alison Pill portrayed her in the 2010 TV miniseries The Pillars of the Earth, an adaptation of Follett's novel, although she is initially known in this as Princess Maud not Empress Matilda.

Notes ^ Historical debate exists as to whether William Adelin was Matilda's younger brother or her twin. Marjorie Chibnall has said that "the evidence is against" the theory of the siblings being twins, citing various reasons, such as William of Malmesbury stating they were born on different dates.[1] ^ It is argued that Hermann of Tournai was using the story of a child who died as a guise to prove his point that because Matilda's mother had once worn the veil of a nun, her marriage was cursed. Chibnall described it as an "uncorroborated" story and Hermann as an "unreliable" source.[14]

References ^ Chibnall 1991, p. 9 ^ Pain 1978, p. 5 ^ Pain 1978, p. 7 ^ Chibnall 1991, p. 16 ^ Pain 1978, p. 8 ^ Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, eds. (1894). Dictionary of national biography. 37. Smith, Elder, & co. http://books.google.com/books?id=Ga_QAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA54#v=onepage&q&f=false. ^ Chibnall (1991), p. 24 ^ Pain 1978, p. 12 ^ Pain 1978, p. 14 ^ a b c d Chibnall 1991, p. 32 ^ a b Chibnall 1991, p. 33 ^ Chibnall 1991, p. 34 ^ a b Chibnall 1991, p. 38 ^ a b c Chibnall 1991, p. 40 ^ a b Pain 1978, p. 16 ^ Chibnall 1991, p. 41 ^ Chibnall 1991, p. 42 ^ a b Chibnall 1991, p. 43 ^ Pain 1978, p. 17 ^ Pain 1978, p. 18 ^ a b Chibnall 1991, p. 51 ^ Chibnall 1991, p. 52 ^ a b c d e Pain 1978, p. 25 ^ Chibnall 1991, p. 54 ^ Pain 1978, p. 26 ^ a b c Pain 1978, p. 27 ^ Chibnall 1991, p. 55 ^ Chibnall 1991, p. 57 ^ a b Chibnall 1991, p. 59 ^ Chibnall 1991, p. 60 ^ a b Chibnall 1991, p. 61 ^ a b Lyon, Ann (2003). Constitutional history of the UK. Routledge Cavendish. ISBN 1-85941-746-9. http://books.google.com/books?id=yiqrD_b_EGkC&pg=PA30&dq=%22lady+of+the+English%22+uncrowned&lr=#v=onepage&q=%22lady%20of%20the%20English%22%20uncrowned&f=false. ^ Harvey, John. The Plantagenets. p. 50.


Pain, Nesta (1978), Empress Matilda: Uncrowned Queen of England, Butler & Tanner Chibnall, Marjorie (1991), The Empress Matilda: Queen Consort, Queen Mother and Lady of the English, Basil Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-15737-9

Further reading

Bradbury, J. (1996) Stephen and Matilda: the Civil War of 1139–1153, Sutton Publishing, ISBN 0-7509-0612-X Fletcher, John (1990) Sutton Courtenay: The History of a Thameside Village Gardener, J and Wenborn, W the History Today Companion to British History Parsons, John Carmi. Medieval Mothering (New Middle Ages), sub. Marjorie Chibnall, "Empress Matilda and Her Sons"


From Find a grave

Birth: Feb. 7, 1102 Death: Sep. 10, 1167

German Queen, Holy Roman Empress, Queen of England, Countess of Anjou and Maine. Only daughter of Henry I. and Matilda Dunkeld, daughter of Malcolm III. (Ceann-Mor). Matilda and her brother William were possibly twins. She was betrothed to Heinrich V. in April 1110. On January 7, 1114 she married the Emperor. She was 12 and her husband was 32 years old. She was crowned Queen of the Germans on July 25, 1110. The pair visited Rome in 1117 where they were crowned in a ceremony led only by an Archbishop (Heinrich was already crowned in 1111 by the pope) but she used the title of an Empress her whole life. The Emperor died in 1125 and she had to return to England because her brother had died and she was now her father's only hope for the continuation of his dynasty. Henry I. named Matilda his heir in January 1127. The baron of England had to swear that they would make her queen after her father's death. On August 26, 1127 she married the eleven years younger Geoffrey V. Plantagenet (qv), Count of Anjou in Le Mans. They soon started to fight with each other and Geoffrey sent her to Rouen. They reconciled in 1131 and on 5 March 1133 she gave birth to their first son Henry, who later became Henry II. of England. When Henry I. died in 1135 she was supposed to succeed him but her cousin Stephen of Blois was crowned instead. That was the begin of a civil war that lasted 18 years. In 1138 first her half-brother Robert of Gloucester and later her uncle David I. of Scotland invaded England to unseat Stephen from the throne and install Matilda. Stephen defeated David at the Battle of the Standard. Matilda herself landed in England in the following year. She was able to take Stephen prisoner in 1141 but had to release him in exchange for Robert of Gloucester. In March 1141 she it went to London, because of her arrogant behavior she was thrown out of the city some days later before her formal coronation could happen. The war luck was now more on Stephens side and she had to retire to the Normandy. On August 10, 1153 Stephens son Eustache died. Stephen became depressed and signed the Treaty of Winchester in December 1153. In this treaty Henry was named heir to Stephen bypassing Stephens son William and agreeing that Stephen should remain king for the rest of his life. He wasn't able to enjoy the following peace for a long time he died in October 1154. Maud spend the rest of her life in the Normandy where she administered the her sons possessions. She died in Notre Dame de Prés near Rouen and was buried in the Abbey church of Bec-Hellouin. Her body was transferred to the Cathedral of Rouen in 1847. (bio by: Lutetia)



-------------------- Daughter of King Henry I of England. From "Henry II of England" at http://sbaldw.home.mindspring.com/hproject/prov/henry002.htm.

from Plantagenet Ancestry, Douglas Richardson, et al, p1, via Google Books -------------------- Before Aug 12 1102 - of, London, Middlesex, England Death: Sep 17 1169 - Notre Dame, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France Parents: Henry I "Beauclerc" England, Matilda "Atheling" Princess England (born Scotland) Siblings: Robert "The King's Caen, Maud, Princess of England, [Duchess of Bret, Elizabeth Princess of Galloway, Princess (born England), Son Prince of England, William "Atheling" Prince England, William Prince of England, Richard Prince of England, Gundred Princess of England, Rohese Princess of England, Isabel Hedwig Of England, Sibyl Elizabeth Queen Scotland, Rainald de Dunstanville Husband: Geoffrey V The Plantagenet Husband: Heinrich V Emperor Germany Children: Adewis Plantagenet, Henry II "Plantagenet" England, Marie Shaftesbury, Abbess of, Geoffrey VI "Mantell" Plantagenet, Guillaume Plantagenet, William Plantagenet, Emma Owen, [Princess of Wal (born Plantagenet), Geoffrey Nantes Plantagenet

-------------------- Before Aug 12 1102 - of, London, Middlesex, England Death: Sep 17 1169 - Notre Dame, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France Parents: Henry I "Beauclerc" England, Matilda "Atheling" Princess England (born Scotland) Siblings: Robert "The King's Caen, Maud, Princess of England, [Duchess of Bret, Elizabeth Princess of Galloway, Princess (born England), Son Prince of England, William "Atheling" Prince England, William Prince of England, Richard Prince of England, Gundred Princess of England, Rohese Princess of England, Isabel Hedwig Of England, Sibyl Elizabeth Queen Scotland, Rainald de Dunstanville Husband: Geoffrey V The Plantagenet Husband: Heinrich V Emperor Germany Children: Adewis Plantagenet, Henry II "Plantagenet" England, Marie Shaftesbury, Abbess of, Geoffrey VI "Mantell" Plantagenet, Guillaume Plantagenet, William Plantagenet, Emma Owen, [Princess of Wal (born Plantagenet), Geoffrey Nantes Plantagenet

-------------------- Matilda From the British Monarchy's web page

The Normans came to govern England following one of the most famous battles in English history: the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Four Norman kings presided over a period of great change and development for the country.

The Domesday Book, a great record of English land-holding, was published; the forests were extended; the Exchequer was founded; and a start was made on the Tower of London.

In religious affairs, the Gregorian reform movement gathered pace and forced concessions, while the machinery of government developed to support the country while Henry was fighting abroad.

Meanwhile, the social landscape altered dramatically, as the Norman aristocracy came to prominence. Many of the nobles struggled to keep a hold on their interests in both Normandy and England, as divided rule meant the threat of conflict. This was the case when William the Conqueror died. His eldest son, Robert, became Duke of Normandy, while the next youngest, William, became king of England. Their younger brother Henry would become king on William II's death. The uneasy divide continued until Henry captured and imprisoned his elder brother. The question of the succession continued to weigh heavily over the remainder of the period. Henry's son died, and his nominated heir Matilda was denied the throne by her cousin, Henry's nephew, Stephen.

There then followed a period of civil war. Matilda married Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou, who took control of Normandy. The duchy was therefore separated from England once again.

A compromise was eventually reached whereby the son of Matilda and Geoffrey would be heir to the English crown, while Stephen's son would inherit his baronial lands.

It meant that in 1154 Henry II would ascend to the throne as the first undisputed king in over 100 years - evidence of the dynastic uncertainty of the Norman period.

reedness originally shared this to Glauber Family Tree
view all 58

Empress Matilda's Timeline

February 7, 1102
Nr Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England
Age 6
Age 8

Matilda was sent to the Holy Roman Empire (Germany) to begin training for the life of Empress consort.

January 6, 1114
Age 11
Age 16

After William's death, Henry's plan to secure England with a strong power under William and his consort failed with his being gone. However, a momentous union transpired when his daughter, Matilda married Fulk V's son Geoffrey leading to the Plantagenet line of kings.

June 17, 1128
Age 26
Le Mans, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France
Age 27
Le Mans, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France
March 5, 1133
Age 31
Le Mans, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France

b. 5 Mar 1133
Henry II was born in Le Mans, France, on 5 March 1133, the first day of the traditional year.[1] His father, Geoffrey V of Anjou (Geoffrey Plantagenet), was Count of Anjou and Count of Maine. His mother, Empress Matilda, was a claimant to the English throne as the daughter of Henry I (1100–1135). He spent his childhood in his father's land of Anjou. At the age of nine, Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester took him to England where he received education from Master Matthew at Bristol.

June 3, 1134
Age 32
Rouen, Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France
December 1, 1135
Age 33

Eventhough, Henry named her as his heir to the English throne and Duchy of Normandy. Also, Henry saw to it that the Anglo-Norman barons, including Stephen, swore repeatedly to accept Matilda as ruler if Henry died without a male heir.

On the death of her father, Henry I, in 1135, Matilda expected to succeed to the throne of England, but her cousin, Stephen of Blois, usurped the throne. He was supported by most of the barons, breaking his oath to defend her rights. The civil war which followed was bitter and prolonged, with neither side gaining ascendancy for long. It was not until 1139 that Matilda commanded the military strength necessary to challenge Stephen within England.