Geoffrey ‘Plantagenet’

views updated May 29 2018

Geoffrey ‘Plantagenet’ (1113–51), count of Anjou (1129–51) and duke of Normandy (1144–51), became the husband of Henry I's designated heiress, the Empress Matilda, on 17 June 1128, in a political marriage which was intended to neutralize Anjou's participation in the wars which troubled Henry's rule in Normandy. His prospects in England may never have been defined by Henry I and his political ambitions seem always to have been restricted to the traditional aim of the counts of Anjou, the conquest of Normandy. He never visited England during the civil war between his wife and King Stephen, which began in 1135, but his persistent attacks on the duchy between 1135 and 1142 and his eventual conquest of it in 1144 had a huge impact on Britain's history because they laid the foundations from which their son Henry II built the Angevin empire.

David Richard Bates