[MR] Wikipedia: Empress Maud, Almost Queen of England
Garth Groff and Sally Sanford
mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 1 04:08:57 PDT 2019
On this date in 1141, the brief reign Empress Matilda (aka Empress Maude;
aks "The Lady of the English") as Queen of England ended when Stephen of
Blois gained the crown.
An Empress, and a Queen Regnant in England? Well, almost, but not quite. So
here's a brief explantation.
Empress Matilda was a daughter of the English King Henry I. She married the
Holy Roman Emperor Henry V in 1114, but he died in 1125. Matilda was out
the door, but she continued to be known by the title Empress (really she
was a dowager Empress). She was also known in England (or in various
histories, including modern writing) as both Empress Matilda or Empress
Maude. Got that?
O.K. In 1120 England faced a huge crisis. Matilda's brother and heir to
the throne, William Adelin, died in the White Ship Disaster (
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Ship ). Having no other male heir,
Henry I decided to nominate Matilda as his successor. In 1126 his barons
were forced to swear allegiance to Matilda.
When Henry I died in 1135, Matilda moved to claim the English throne, but
many English barons renounced their oath, rather than be ruled by a woman
[the pigs!]. Enter her cousin Stephen of Blois, who had his own claim to
the throne. In 1139 Matilda's forces and those of her half-brother Robert
of Gloucester invaded England to depose Stephen. Thus began 13 years of
civil war known as "The Anarchy", which forms much of the backstory to the
Brother Cadfael novels.
Matilda was never crowned Queen of England, and so doesn't appear in the
regnal lists. She gave up her struggle for the crown in 1148. Returning to
her lands in Normandy, Matilda died in 1167.
With both sides worn out, and neither able to win a decisive victory
Stephen and Matilda's son Henry FitzEmpress eventually negotiated a
solution. Stephen kept the throne until his death in 1154, but Henry was
named as heir, and succeeded as King Henry II (of Becket fame).
Curiously Stephen was married to another Matilda, Matilda I Countess of
Boulogne. Confused? I sure was.
More about Empress Matilda can be found at
Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge 🦆
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