Skip to main content
Select Source:

Matilda (queen of England)

Matilda or Maud, 1102–67, queen of England, daughter of Henry I of England. Henry arranged a marriage for her with Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, and she was sent to Germany, betrothed, and five years later (1114) married to him. Empress Matilda was popular in Germany and seemed more German than English, but after her husband's death (1125) she returned to England. Since her only legitimate brother had died (1120), her father devoted himself to securing for her the succession to the English throne, and the barons did in fact recognize her as Henry's heir in 1127. In 1128 she married Geoffrey IV of Anjou, to whom she bore three sons, the eldest being the future Henry II. Both she and her marriage were unpopular in England, however, and on Henry I's death in 1135 the barons gave their support to Matilda's cousin Stephen, who seized the throne. In 1139, Matilda, aided by her half-brother Robert, earl of Gloucester, undertook to recover the throne. After the defeat and capture of Stephen in 1141, she was elected "Lady of the English" ; but her arrogance alienated supporters, and the captive Stephen had to be freed in a prisoner exchange for Gloucester. Before the end of the year her forces were routed at Winchester, and the same powerful clergy who had enthroned her then deposed her and declared for Stephen. The struggle continued, but never greatly in her favor. In 1148 she withdrew; her son Henry inherited her claim to the throne and was recognized as heir in 1153. Matilda spent her remaining years in Normandy and became noted for her charity.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Matilda (queen of England)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Matilda (queen of England)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/matilda-queen-england

"Matilda (queen of England)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/matilda-queen-england

Matilda

Matilda (c.1080–1118), queen of Henry I and duchess of Normandy. First wife of Henry I and daughter of Malcolm Canmore, king of Scotland, and his queen St Margaret (the sister of Edgar the Atheling). Her marriage to Henry in 1100 was clearly intended to reinforce the legitimacy of his kingship by establishing a link with the old English royal house; Henry's determination to marry her was such that he had to await a definitive ruling from the archbishop of Canterbury, St Anselm, whether she had once been a nun, which would have automatically prevented the marriage. Matilda appears to have performed competently the expected queenly role of supporting her husband's rule and frequently acted as regent in England when he was in Normandy. She is said to have kept a splendid, but pious, court and was a generous patron of artists and musicians.

David Richard Bates

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Matilda." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Matilda." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/matilda-0

"Matilda." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/matilda-0

Matilda

Matilda (c.1030–83), queen of William I and duchess of Normandy. The daughter of Count Baldwin V of Flanders, her marriage to William c.1050 was initially prohibited by the papacy on grounds of (unspecified) consanguinity. The couple made amends by founding two abbeys at Caen. The marriage seems to have been an exceptionally successful one, not just because it guaranteed the succession by producing nine known children, but also because Matilda was admirably suited to the role of deputy and supporter which medieval society required of aristocratic women. She frequently acted as regent during William's absences from Normandy and seems to have been a unifying force in an increasingly disunited family, maintaining some sort of mutual tolerance between her husband and their eldest son Robert Curthose up until her death.

David Richard Bates

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Matilda." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Matilda." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/matilda

"Matilda." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/matilda