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William the Atheling

William the Atheling (c.1102–20). Heir to the thrones of England and Normandy, who died in the wreck of the White Ship. According to William of Malmesbury, as the son of a Norman father ( Henry I) and an English mother ( Queen Matilda), he represented the hope of reconciliation between the two peoples, conquerors and conquered. But his father's careful preparations for his unchallenged succession were brought to nothing on 25 November 1120. Like nearly everyone on board the White Ship, he was drowned when it hit rocks—allegedly because the crew was drunk—as it left the Norman port of Barfleur.

John Gillingham

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