Skip to main content

Matilda, Empress

Matilda, Empress ( Empress Maud) (1102–67). Matilda was the daughter of Henry I. When she was just 8 years old she left England for Germany to marry the Emperor Henry V, the ceremony occurring in 1114, and she only returned on his death in 1125. Matilda was designated as Henry I's successor in England and Normandy in 1127 since she was now his sole surviving legitimate offspring, Prince William having died in the wreck of the White Ship (1120). Her second husband, whom she married in June 1128, was Geoffrey of Anjou, only 14 years old, who inherited the county shortly afterwards. It was a very unhappy marriage, but the awaited heir, the future Henry II, on whom Henry I's hopes depended, was born in 1133, the first of three sons. But when Henry I died in 1135, his nephew Stephen of Blois staged a coup and took the English throne. Matilda landed in England in 1139 in pursuit of her right. She came closest to success in 1141, when Stephen was captured, but the crown eluded her, partly because of her mismanagement of the situation. It gradually became apparent that her task lay in maintaining her position in England and preparing the way for her son (later Henry II), altogether more acceptable to the English magnates and approaching manhood. In 1148 she retired to Normandy, but not entirely from political life. She occasionally acted as Henry II's viceregent and he relied on her counsels in a number of important matters. An impetuous, indomitable, haughty woman, Matilda was greatest in her offspring, but he owed much to her determination to fight for England.

S. D. Lloyd

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

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Matilda, Empress." The Oxford Companion to British History. . 21 Aug. 2018 <>.

"Matilda, Empress." The Oxford Companion to British History. . (August 21, 2018).

"Matilda, Empress." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved August 21, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.