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Sunday, August 10, 2014

11b. Mathilde - Daughter of King Henry I and Queen Mathilde

King Henry I and Queen Margaret had 4 children of them our lineage is to their daughter 
Empress Matilda                                                     (who is my 24th Great Grandmother)    

Her story is rather interesting, bethrowed at the age of 8!  Then marring a man 8 years younger!

From Mathilda, we then follow the life of her son Henry who became King Henry II

The inscription on Matilda's tomb at Rouen, France, read: "Here lies Henry's daughter, wife and mother; great by birth, greater by marriage, but greatest in motherhood." The tomb inscription does not tell the whole story, however. The Empress Matilda (or Empress Maud) is best known in history for the civil war sparked by her fight against her cousin, Stephen, to win the throne of England for herself and her descendants.                                Women's History

Matilda was born (c. 7 February 1102 – 10 September 1167), also known as the Empress Maude, was the claimant to the English throne during the civil war known as the Anarchy.The daughter of King Henry I of England, she moved to Germany as a child when she married the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry V.

She travelled with her husband into Italy in 1116, was controversially crowned in St. Peter's Basilica, and acted as the imperial regent in Italy. Matilda and Henry had no children, and when he died in 1125, the crown was claimed by Lothair II, one of his political enemies.

Meanwhile, Matilda's younger brother, William Adelin, died in the White Ship disaster of 1120, leaving England facing a potential succession crisis. On Henry V's death, Matilda was recalled to Normandy by her father, who arranged for her to marry Geoffrey of Anjou to form an alliance to protect his southern borders.

Henry I had no further children and nominated Matilda as his heir, making his court swear an oath of loyalty to her and her successors, but the decision was not popular in the Anglo-Norman court. Henry died in 1135 but Matilda and Geoffrey faced opposition from the Norman barons and were unable to pursue their claims. The throne was instead taken by Matilda's cousin Stephen of Blois, who enjoyed the backing of the English Church. Stephen took steps to solidify his new regime, but faced threats both from neighbouring powers and from opponents within his kingdom.

In 1139 Matilda crossed to England to take the kingdom by force, supported by her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester, and her uncle, King David I of Scotland, while Geoffrey focused on conquering Normandy. Matilda's forces captured Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln in 1141, but the Empress's attempt to be crowned at Westminster collapsed in the face of bitter opposition from the London crowds. As a result of this retreat, Matilda was never formally declared Queen of England, and was instead titled the Lady of the English.

Robert was captured following the Rout of Winchester in 1141, and Matilda agreed to exchange him for Stephen. Matilda became trapped in Oxford Castle by Stephen's forces that winter, and was forced to escape across the River Isis at night to avoid capture. The war degenerated into a stalemate, with Matilda controlling much of the south-west of England, and Stephen the south-east and the Midlands. Large parts of the rest of the country were in the hands of local barons.

Matilda returned to Normandy, now in the hands of her husband, in 1148, leaving her eldest son to continue the campaign in England; he eventually succeeded to the throne as Henry II in 1154. She settled her court near Rouen and for the rest of her life concerned herself with the administration of Normandy, acting on Henry's behalf when necessary.

Particularly in the early years of her son's reign, she provided political advice and attempted to mediate during the Becket controversy. She worked extensively with the Church, founding Cistercian monasteries, and was known for her piety. She was buried under the high altar at Bec Abbey after her death in 1167.

In late 1108 or early 1109, Henry V, then the King of the Romans, sent envoys to Normandy proposing that Matilda marry him, and wrote separately to her royal mother on the same matter.The match was attractive to the English King: his daughter would be marrying into one of the most prestigious dynasties in Europe, reaffirming his own, slightly questionable, status as the youngest son of a new royal house, and gaining him an ally in dealing with France.

In return, Henry V would receive a dowry of 10,000 marks, which he needed to fund an expedition to Rome for his coronation as the Holy Roman Emperor. The final details of the deal were negotiated at Westminster in June 1109 and, as a result of her changing status, Matilda attended a royal council for the first time that October. She left England in February 1110 to make her way to Germany
The couple met at Liège before travelling to Utrecht where, on 10 April, they became officially betrothed. On 25 July Matilda was crowned Queen of the Romans in a ceremony at Mainz.

There was a considerable age gap between the couple, as Matilda was only eight years old while Henry was 24.After the betrothal she was placed into the custody of Bruno, the Archbishop of Trier, who was tasked with educating her in German culture, manners and government.

In January 1114 Matilda was ready to be married to Henry, and their wedding was held at the city of Worms amid extravagant celebrations. Matilda now entered public life in Germany, complete with her own household.

Political conflict broke out across the Empire shortly after the marriage, triggered when Henry arrested his Chancellor Adalbert and various other German princes. Rebellions followed, accompanied by opposition from within the Church, which played an important part in administering the Empire, and this led to the formal excommunication of the Emperor by Pope Paschal II Henry and Matilda marched over the Alps into Italy in early 1116, intent on settling matters permanently with the Pope. Matilda was now playing a full part in the imperial government, sponsoring royal grants, dealing with petitioners and taking part in ceremonial occasions.The rest of the year was spent establishing control of northern Italy, and in early 1117 the pair advanced on Rome itself.

Paschal fled when Henry and Matilda arrived, and in his absence the papal envoy Maurice Bourdin, later the Antipope Gregory VIII, crowned the pair at St. Peter's Basilica, probably that Easter and certainly by Pentecost. Matilda used these ceremonies to claim the title of the Empress of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Empire was governed by elected monarchs who, like Henry V, had been selected by the major nobles to become the King of the Romans. These kings typically hoped to be subsequently crowned by the Pope as the Holy Roman Emperor, but this could not be guaranteed. Henry V had coerced the Pope into crowning him in 1111, but Matilda's own status was less clear.As a result of her marriage she was clearly the legitimate Queen of the Romans, a title that she used on her seal and charters, but it was uncertain if she had a legitimate claim to the title of empress.

Death of her husband Henry V

In 1118, Henry returned north back over the Alps into Germany to suppress fresh rebellions, leaving Matilda as his regent to govern Italy.There are few records of her rule over the next two years, but she probably gained considerable practical experience of government.

In 1119 she returned north to meet Henry in Lotharingia.[35] Her husband was occupied in finding a compromise with the Pope, who had excommunicated him. In 1122, Henry and probably Matilda were at the Council of Worms. The council settled the long-running dispute with the Church when Henry gave up his rights to invest bishops with their episcopal regalia.

Matilda attempted to visit her father in England that year, but the journey was blocked by Charles I, Count of Flanders, whose territory she would have needed to pass through. Historian Marjorie Chibnall argues Matilda had intended to discuss the inheritance of the English crown on this journey.

Matilda and Henry remained childless, but neither party was considered to be infertile and contemporary chroniclers blamed their situation on the Emperor and his sins against the Church. In early 1122, the couple travelled down the Rhine together as Henry continued to suppress the ongoing political unrest, but by now he was suffering from cancer.

His condition worsened and he died on 23 May 1125 in Utrecht, leaving Matilda in the protection of their nephew Frederick, the heir to his estates.Before his death he left the imperial insignia in the control of Matilda, but it is unclear what instructions he gave her about the future of the Empire, which faced another leadership election.Archbishop Adalbert subsequently convinced Matilda that she should give him the insignia, and the Archbishop led the electorial process, which appointed Lothair of Supplinburg, a former enemy of Henry, as the new King of the Romans.

Now aged 23, Matilda had only limited options as to how she might spend the rest of her life.Being childless, she could not exercise a role as an imperial regent, which left her with the choice of either becoming a nun or remarrying. Some offers of marriage from German princes started to arrive, but she chose to return to Normandy.She does not appear to have expected to return to Germany, as she gave up her estates within the Empire, and departed with her personal collection of jewels, her own imperial regalia, two of Henry's crowns and the valuable relic of the Hand of St James the Apostle.

Her father's anguish 

When her brother the heir of the English throne died in the White Ship tragedy, her father King Henry I of England was left with a problem as to who to make his successor.  He decreed it to be Mathilda, but the Court did not trust her, and she was female.

But to ensure he had a successor, he arranged that she should marry Geoffrey of Anjou.

Picture of Geoffrey of Anjou

Matilda returned to Normandy in 1125 and spent about a year at the royal court, where her father Henry was still hoping that his second marriage would generate a male heir. In the event that this might fail to happen, Matilda was now Henry's preferred choice and he declared that, should he die without a male heir, she was to be his rightful successor.The Anglo-Norman barons were gathered together at Westminster on Christmas 1126, where in January they swore to recognise Matilda and any future legitimate heir she might have.

Henry began to formally look for a new husband for Matilda in early 1127 and received various offers from princes within the Empire.His preference was to use Matilda's marriage to secure the southern borders of Normandy, by marrying her to Geoffrey of Anjou, the eldest son of Fulk, the Count of Anjou.

Henry's control of Normandy had faced numerous challenges since he had conquered it in 1106 and the latest threat came from his nephew William Clito, the new Count of Flanders, who enjoyed the support of the French King. It was essential to Henry that he did not also face a threat from the south as well as the east of Normandy.

William Adelin had married Fulk's daughter Matilda, which would have cemented an alliance between Henry and Anjou, but the White Ship disaster put an end to this. Henry and Fulk argued over the fate of the marriage dowry and this had encouraged Fulk to turn to support William Clito instead.

Henry's solution was now to negotiate the marriage of Matilda to Geoffrey, recreating the former alliance.
Matilda appears to have been unimpressed by this plan. She felt that marrying the son of a count diminished her own status and was probably also unhappy about marrying someone so much younger than she was – Matilda was 25, and Geoffrey was only 13.

Hildebert, the Archbishop of Tours, eventually intervened to persuade her to go along with the engagement.Matilda finally agreed, and in May 1127 she travelled to Rouen with Robert of Gloucester and Brian Fitz Count where she was formally betrothed to Geoffrey.Over the course of the next year, Fulk decided to depart for Jerusalem, where he hoped to become king, leaving his possessions to Geoffrey.

Henry knighted his future son-in-law and a week later, on 17 June 1128, Matilda and Geoffrey were married in Le Mans by the bishops of Le Mans and Séez. Fulk finally left Anjou for Jerusalem in 1129, declaring Geoffrey the Count of Anjou and Maine.


The marriage proved difficult, as the couple did not particularly like each other.There was a further dispute over Matilda's dowry; she was granted various castles in Normandy by Henry, but it was not specified when the couple would actually take possession of them. It is also unknown whether Henry intended Geoffrey to have any future claim on England or Normandy, and he was probably keeping Geoffrey's status deliberately uncertain.

Soon after the marriage, Matilda left Geoffrey and returned to Normandy. Henry appears to have blamed Geoffrey for the separation, but in 1131 the couple were finally reconciled.Henry summoned Matilda from Normandy, and she arrived in England that August. At a meeting of the King's great council in September, it was decided that Matilda would return to Geoffrey.The council also gave another collective oath of allegiance to recognise her as Henry's heir.

Matilda gave birth to her first son, the future Henry II, in March 1133 at Le Mans.Henry was delighted by the news and came to see her at Rouen. At Pentecost 1134, a second son, Geoffrey, was born in Rouen, but the childbirth was extremely difficult and Matilda appeared close to death.

She made arrangements for her will, and argued with her father about where she should be buried: Matilda preferred Bec Abbey, but Henry wanted her to be interred at Rouen Cathedral. Matilda recovered, and Henry was overjoyed by the birth of his second grandson, possibly insisting on another round of oaths from his nobility.

From then on, relations between Matilda and Henry became increasingly strained. Matilda and Geoffrey suspected that they lacked genuine support in England for their claim to the throne, and proposed in 1135 that the King should hand over the royal castles in Normandy to Matilda and should insist that the Norman nobility immediately swear allegiance to her.

This would have given the couple a much more powerful position after Henry's death, but the King angrily refused, probably out of a concern that Geoffrey would try to seize power in Normandy while he was still alive.A fresh rebellion broke out in southern Normandy, and Geoffrey and Matilda intervened militarily on behalf of the rebels.

In the middle of this confrontation, Henry unexpectedly fell ill and died near Lyons-la-Forêt.It is uncertain what, if anything, Henry said about the succession before his death Contemporary chronicler accounts were each coloured by subsequent events, and while sources favourable to Matilda suggested that Henry had reaffirmed his intent to grant all his lands to his daughter, hostile chroniclers argued that Henry had renounced his former plans and had apologised for having forced the barons to swear an oath of allegiance to her.

King Henry apparently died from eating poisoned eels!

When news began to spread of Henry I's death, Matilda and Geoffrey were in Anjou, supporting the rebels in their campaign against the royal army, which included a number of Matilda's supporters such as Robert of Gloucester.Many of these barons had taken an oath to stay in Normandy until the late king was properly buried, which prevented them from returning to England.

Nonetheless, Geoffrey and Matilda took the opportunity to march into southern Normandy and seize a number of key castles around Argentan that had formed Matilda's disputed dowry. They then stopped, unable to advance further, pillaging the countryside and facing increased resistance from the Norman nobility and a rebellion in Anjou itself. Matilda was by now also pregnant with her third son, William; opinions vary among historians as to what extent this affected her military plans.

Meanwhile, news of Henry's death had reached Stephen of Blois, conveniently placed in Boulogne, and he left for England, accompanied by his military household. Robert of Gloucester had garrisoned the ports of Dover and Canterbury and some accounts suggest that they refused Stephen access when he first arrived.

Nonetheless Stephen reached the edge of London by 8 December and over the next week he began to seize power in England. The crowds in London proclaimed Stephen the new monarch, believing that he would grant the city new rights and privileges in return, and his brother, Henry of Blois, the Bishop of Winchester, delivered the support of the Church to Stephen.

Stephen had sworn to support Matilda in 1127, but Henry convincingly argued that the late King had been wrong to insist that his court take the oath, and suggested that the King had changed his mind on his deathbed.Stephen's coronation was held a week later at Westminster Abbey on 26 December.

Following the news that Stephen was gathering support in England, the Norman nobility had gathered at Le Neubourg to discuss declaring his elder brother Theobald king.The Normans argued that the count, as the eldest grandson of William the Conqueror, had the most valid claim over the kingdom and the Duchy, and was certainly preferable to Matilda.

Their discussions were interrupted by the sudden news from England that Stephen's coronation was to occur the next day. Theobald's support immediately ebbed away, as the barons were not prepared to support the division of England and Normandy by opposing Stephen.

Matilda gave birth to her third son William on 22 July 1136 at Argentan, and she then operated out of the border region for the next three years, establishing her household knights on estates around the area.

Matilda may have asked Ulger, the Bishop of Angers, to garner support for her claim with the Pope in Rome, but if she did, Ulger was unsuccessful Geoffrey invaded Normandy in early 1136 and, after a temporary truce, invaded again later the same year, raiding and burning estates rather than trying to hold the territory.

Stephen returned to the Duchy in 1137, where he met with Louis VI and Theobald to agree to an informal alliance against Geoffrey and Matilda, to counter the growing Angevin power in the region.Stephen formed an army to retake Matilda's Argentan castles, but frictions between his Flemish mercenary forces and the local Norman barons resulted in a battle between the two halves of his army. The Norman forces then deserted the King, forcing Stephen to give up his campaign.

Stephen agreed to another truce with Geoffrey, promising to pay him 2,000 marks a year in exchange for peace along the Norman borders.

In England, Stephen's reign started off well, with lavish gatherings of the royal court that saw the King give out grants of land and favours to his supporters. Stephen received the support of Pope Innocent II, thanks in part to the testimony of Louis VI and Theobald.

Troubles rapidly began to emerge. Matilda's uncle, David I of Scotland, invaded the north of England on the news of Henry's death, taking Carlisle, Newcastle and other key strongholds. Stephen rapidly marched north with an army and met David at Durham, where a temporary compromise was agreed.

South Wales rose in rebellion, and by 1137 Stephen was forced to abandon attempts to suppress the revolt.Stephen put down two revolts in the south-west led by Baldwin de Redvers and Robert of Bampton; Baldwin was released after his capture and travelled to Normandy, where he became a vocal critic of the King.

Revolt - The family members at war with each other!

Matilda's half-brother, Robert of Gloucester, was one of the most powerful Anglo-Norman barons, controlling estates in Normandy as well as the Earldom of Gloucester. In 1138, he rebelled against Stephen, starting the descent into civil war in England.

Robert renounced his fealty to the King and declared his support for Matilda, which triggered a major regional rebellion in Kent and across the south-west of England, although he himself remained in Normandy.

Matilda had not been particularly active in asserting her claims to the throne since 1135 and in many ways it was Robert who took the initiative in declaring war in 1138. In France, Geoffrey took advantage of the situation by re-invading Normandy. David of Scotland also invaded the north of England once again, announcing that he was supporting the claim of Matilda to the throne, pushing south into Yorkshire.

Stephen responded quickly to the revolts and invasions, paying most attention to England rather than Normandy. His wife (another) Matilda was sent to Kent with ships and resources from Boulogne, with the task of retaking the key port of Dover, under Robert's control.

A small number of Stephen's household knights were sent north to help the fight against the Scots, where David's forces were defeated later that year at the Battle of the Standard.Despite this victory, however, David still occupied most of the north.

Stephen himself went west in an attempt to regain control of Gloucestershire, first striking north into the Welsh Marches, taking Hereford and Shrewsbury, before heading south to Bath. The town of Bristol itself proved too strong for him, and Stephen contented himself with raiding and pillaging the surrounding area.

The rebels appear to have expected Robert to intervene with support, but he remained in Normandy throughout the year, trying to persuade the Empress Matilda to invade England herself. Dover finally surrendered to the Queen's forces later in the year.

By 1139, an invasion of England by Robert and Matilda appeared imminent. Geoffrey and Matilda had secured much of Normandy and, together with Robert, spent the beginning of the year mobilising forces for a cross-Channel expedition.

Matilda also appealed to the papacy at the start of the year; her representative, Bishop Ulger, put forward her legal claim to the English throne on the grounds of her hereditary right and the oaths sworn by the barons. Arnulf of Lisieux led Stephen's case, arguing that because Matilda's mother had really been a nun, her claim to the throne was illegitimate. The Pope declined to reverse his earlier support for Stephen, but from Matilda's perspective the case usefully established that Stephen's claim was disputed.

More battles ensued including the Battle of Lincoln, when Stephen was taken into custody

Matilda's fortunes changed dramatically for the better at the start of 1141. Ranulf of Chester, a powerful northern magnate, had fallen out with the King over the winter and Stephen had placed his castle in Lincoln under siege. In response, Robert of Gloucester and Ranulf advanced on Stephen's position with a larger force, resulting in the Battle of Lincoln on 2 February 1141.

The King commanded the centre of his army, with Alan of Brittany on his right and William of Aumale on his left. Robert and Ranulf's forces had a superiority in cavalry and Stephen dismounted many of his own knights to form a solid infantry block.

Bristol Castle
After an initial success in which William's forces destroyed the Angevins' Welsh infantry, the battle went well for Matilda's forces. Robert and Ranulf's cavalry encircled Stephen's centre, and the King found himself surrounded by the Angevin army. After much fighting, Robert's soldiers finally overwhelmed Stephen and he was taken away from the field in custody.

Matilda received Stephen in person at her court in Gloucester, before having him moved to Bristol Castle, traditionally used for holding high-status prisoners. Matilda now began to take the necessary steps to have herself crowned queen in his place, which would require the agreement of the Church and her coronation at Westminster. Stephen's brother Henry summoned a council at Winchester before Easter in his capacity as papal legate to consider the clergy's view.

Matilda had made a private deal with Henry that he would deliver the support of the Church in exchange for being granted control over Church affairs. Henry handed over the royal treasury to her, which proved to be rather depleted except for Stephen's crown, and he excommunicated many of her enemies who refused to switch sides.

 Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury was unwilling to declare Matilda queen so rapidly, however, and a delegation of clergy and nobles, headed by Theobald, travelled to Bristol to see Stephen, who agreed that, given the situation, he was prepared to release his subjects from their oath of fealty to him.

The clergy gathered again in Winchester after Easter and declared Matilda the "Lady of England and Normandy" as a precursor to her coronation. Although Matilda's own followers attended the event, few other major nobles seem to have attended and the delegation from London procrastinated.

Stephen's wife, Queen Matilda, wrote to complain and demand her husband's release.Nonetheless, Matilda then advanced to London to arrange her coronation in June, where her position became precarious.

Despite securing the support of Geoffrey de Mandeville, who controlled the Tower of London, forces loyal to Stephen and Queen Matilda remained close to the city and the citizens were fearful about welcoming the Empress.

On 24 June, shortly before the planned coronation, the city rose up against the Empress and Geoffrey de Mandeville; Matilda and her followers fled just in time, making a chaotic retreat back to Oxford.

Meanwhile, Geoffrey of Anjou invaded Normandy again and, in the absence of Waleran of Beaumont, who was still fighting in England, Geoffrey took all the Duchy south of the River Seine and east of the Risle.

No help was forthcoming from Stephen's brother Theobald this time either, who appears to have been preoccupied with his own problems with France—the new French king, Louis VII, had rejected his father's regional alliance, improving relations with Anjou and taking a more bellicose line with Theobald, which would result in war the following year.

Geoffrey's success in Normandy and Stephen's weakness in England began to influence the loyalty of many Anglo-Norman barons, who feared losing their lands in England to Robert and the Empress, and their possessions in Normandy to Geoffrey.

Many started to leave Stephen's faction. His friend and advisor Waleran was one of those who decided to defect in mid-1141, crossing into Normandy to secure his ancestral possessions by allying himself with the Angevins, and bringing Worcestershire into the Empress's camp.

Waleran's twin brother, Robert of Leicester, effectively withdrew from fighting in the conflict at the same time. Other supporters of the Empress were restored in their former strongholds, such as Bishop Nigel of Ely, and still others received new earldoms in the west of England. The royal control over the minting of coins broke down, leading to coins being struck by local barons and bishops across the country


Matilda died on 10 September 1167, and her remaining wealth was given to the Church  She was buried under the high altar at the abbey of Bec-Hellouin in a service led by Rotrou, the Archbishop of Rouen.

Her tomb's epitaph included the lines "Great by birth, greater by marriage, greatest in her offspring: here lies Matilda, the daughter, wife, and mother of Henry", which became a famous phrase among her contemporaries.This tomb was damaged in a fire in 1263 and later restored in 1282, before finally being destroyed by an English army in 1421.
Rouen Cathedral

In 1684 the Congregation of St. Maur identified some of her remaining bones and reburied them at Bec-Hellouin in a new coffin.

Her remains were lost again after the destruction of Bec-Hellouin's church by Napoleon, but were found once more in 1846 and this time reburied at Rouen Cathedral, where they remain.

So our great grandmother never was crowned as Queen of England, just imagine she would have been the first female to hold such a title, and history would have been re-written!

This timeline of her life is interesting    from Women's History

March 25, 1133 - birth of Henry, eldest son of Matilda and Geoffrey (first of three sons born in four years)

June 1, 1134 - birth of Geoffrey, son of Matilda and her husband. This son was later known as Geoffrey VI of Anjou, Count of Nantes and Anjou.

December 1, 1135 - King Henry I died, probably from eating spoiled eels. Matilda, pregnant and in Anjou, was unable to travel, and Henry I's nephew Stephen of Blois seized the throne. Stephen had himself crowned at Westminster Abbey on December 22, with the support of many of the barons who had sworn their support for Matilda at her father's request

1136 - birth of William, third son of Geoffrey of Anjou and the Empress Matilda. William was later Count of Poitou.

1136 - some nobles supported Matilda's claim and fighting broke out in a few locations

1138 - Robert, Earl of Gloucester, a half-brother of Matilda, joined with Matilda to unseat Stephen from the throne and install Matilda, sparking a full-fledged civil war

1138 - Matilda's maternal uncle, David I of Scotland, invaded England in support of her claim. Stephen's forces defeated David's forces at the Battle of the Standard

Lincoln castle
1139 - Matilda landed in England

February 2, 1141 - Matilda's forces captured Stephen during the battle of Lincoln and held him captive at Bristol Castle

March 2, 1141 - Matilda welcomed to London by the Bishop of Winchester, Henry of Blois, Stephen's brother, who had recently switched sides to support Matilda

March 3, 1141 - Matilda was ceremonially proclaimed Lady of the English ("domina anglorum" or "Anglorum Domina") at Winchester Cathedral

April 8, 1141 - Matilda proclaimed Lady of the English ("domina anglorum" or "Anglorum Domina" or " Angliae Normanniaeque domina") by a clergy council at Winchester, supported by the Bishop of Winchester, Henry of Blois, brother of Stephen

1141 - Matilda's demands on the City of London so insulted the populace that they threw her out before her formal coronation could happen

1141 - Stephen's brother Henry changed sides again and joined with Stephen

1141 - In Stephen's absence, his wife (and maternal cousin of the Empress Matilda), Matilda of Boulogne, raised forces and led them to attack those of the Empress Matilda

1141 - Matilda escaped dramatically from Stephen's forces, disguised as a corpse on a funeral bier

1141 - Stephen's forces took Robert of Gloucestor prisoner, and on November 1, Matilda exchanged Stephen for Robert

1142 - Matilda, at Oxford, was under seige by Stephen's forces, and escaped at night dressed in white to blend in with the snowy landscape. She made her way to safety, with only four companions, in a picturesque incident which has become a favorite image in British history

1144 - Geoffrey of Anjou won possession of Normandy from Stephen

1147 - death of Robert, Earl of Gloucester, and Matilda's forces ended their active campaign to make her Queen of England

1148 - Matilda retired to Normandy, living near Rouen

1140 - Henry Fitzempress, eldest son of Matilda and Geoffrey, named Duke of Normandy

1151 - Geoffrey of Anjou died, and Henry, who becomes known as Henry Plantagenet, inherited his title as Count of Anjou

1152 - Henry of Anjou, in another dramatic episode, married Eleanor of Aquitaine, a few months after her marriage to Louis VII, King of France, was ended.

1152  - Eustace, son of Stephen by Matilda of Boulogne, and Stephen's heir, died

1153 - Treaty of Winchester (or the Treaty Wallingford) named Matilda's son Henry heir to Stephen, bypassing Stephen's younger son, William, and agreeing that Stephen should remain king for the duration of his own lifetime and that his son William would keep his father's lands in France

1154 - Stephen died unexpectedly of a heart attack (October 25), and Henry Fitzempress became king of England, Henry II, the first Plantagenet king

September 10, 1167 - Matilda died and was buried in Rouen at Fontevrault Abbey

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