Adeliza of Louvain, Queen of England

The Freelance History Writer

A noblewoman kneeling in front of Christ - most likely Adeliza of Louvain, from "The Shaftesbury Psalter" A noblewoman kneeling in front of Christ – most likely Adeliza of Louvain, from “The Shaftesbury Psalter”

Matilda of Scotland, the first wife of King Henry I of England died in May of 1118 and in November of 1120, Henry’s only son and heir William Adelin died in a tragic ship wreck. Henry was left with only his daughter Matilda as his heir and she was married to the German emperor Henry V. While it wasn’t impossible for a women to rule his kingdom, the White Ship disaster forced Henry to consider remarrying and working on getting a new heir.

Henry didn’t want his nephew, William Clito, son of his elder brother Robert Curthose, to inherit the throne and negotiations for a marriage to Adeliza of Louvain may have begun even before the loss of William Adelin. On January 6, 1121, after taking counsel, Henry announced to a large assembly…

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Annunci

Empress Maud, Lady of the English

The Freelance History Writer

Empress Mathilda, from "History of England" by St. Albans monks (15th century) Empress Mathilda, from “History of England” by St. Albans monks (15th century)

“Here lies the daughter, wife, and mother of Henry”

We would like to tell the story of Empress Maud who was never crowned Queen of England but caused civil war trying to attain her inheritance. Maud was also named Matilda but we will call her Maud to distinguish her from her mother, Matilda of Scotland and her grandmother, Matilda of Flanders. She took the title of “Lady of the English” but always preferred to be called Empress.

Maud was the daughter of King Henry I of England and Duke of Normandy and Matilda of Scotland. She was born, probably at Winchester in February of 1102. She had a brother William Adelin (Atheling) who was born in November 1103. Little is known about her early childhood. Her mother had a bad experience being educated in a nunnery so…

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Letter from Empress Matilda to Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1165

The Freelance History Writer

King Henry II and Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury in an argument

In the early years of the government of King Henry II, he had relied on his mother, the Empress Matilda, for advice on many different matters. As she grew older, Matilda’s health declined, she became more pious and her influence over her son waned as he gained greater experience as a monarch. Regarding church matters, Henry and his archbishop of Canterbury, Theobald, had a good working relationship. Theobald had an experienced cadre of clerks working for him, many of whom made their way into the king’s administration, including Thomas Becket. Henry eventually appointed Becket Chancellor, the most important position in England.

Becket accompanied King Henry to Normandy several times on business and Matilda, who had made her primary residence in Rouen, may have met him there. Matilda knew Becket had a reputation for enriching himself and for…

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Eadgifu, Anglo-Saxon Queen

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The Freelance History Writer

Picture of Queen Eadgifu from "The Saxon Cathedral at Canterbury and The Saxon Saints Buried Therein" Picture of Queen Eadgifu from “The Saxon Cathedral at Canterbury and The Saxon Saints Buried Therein”

What little historical records we have pertaining to Queen Eadgifu tell us she exercised considerable power. She was the third wife of Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great. While she didn’t have much prominence during the life of her husband or her stepson Aethelstan, she came to exert her influence during the reigns of her sons and grandsons. She was the first important queen of the tenth century due to her landed interests and to her role in the family politics of the time.

The best estimate of a birthdate for Eadgifu is c. 901. She was the daughter of Ealdorman Sigehelm of Kent. She owned extensive and widespread landholdings in Kent and held Minster in Thanet, and possibly Ely. Edward the Elder had been living with a woman named Ecgwynn…

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