NameMatilda Augusta
Birth7 Feb 1102, Winchester, England
Death10 Sep 1167, Abbey of Notre Dame des Prés, Rouen, France
BurialRouen Cathedral, Rouen, France
MotherMatilda of Scotland (1079-1118)
Misc. Notes
Maud was widow of Emperor Henry V at the time of her marriage to Count Geoffrey ca. 1128. "From the start she despised her adolescent second husband as her social inferior and she seems never to have warmed to him...yet both were tough and calculating, able to exploit their loveless marriage for mutual political gain. They produced the children necessary for the continuation of their lines, then went their separate ways, never deviating from personal political ambitions. ...Haughty, hard and inflexible, she was criticized by contemporaries for her lack of feminine qualities. The enduring image of her is of a daughter who was at war with her father, Henry I, when he died and who made no effort at reconciliation in his last hours. But she was handsome and brave, a powerful woman in an age dominated by men, and could inspire great loyalty in others...."{-"The Plantagenet Chronicles," ed. by E. Hallam, p. 47}. For a different estimate of `Empress Maud' see "The Warrior Queens," Antonia Fraser, chapter 10.

She was designated Henry's heir, and on his death (1135), Stephen siezed the throne and Matilda invaded England (1139) inuagurating a period of inconclusive civil war. She and he second husband (Geoffrey) captured normandy and in 1152 the Treaty of Wallingford recognised Henry as Stephen's heir. Burke says she was betrothed in her eight year (1119) to Henry.
Matilda was the daughter Of Henry I and was christened Adelaide at birth.  She adopted the name Matilda on her marriage in 1114 to the German emperor, Henry V. Since she was only twelve at this time it was clearly a political marriage and the young girl does not seem to have been especially happy.  Raised in the strict atmosphere of the German court, Matilda acquired a haughty, almost arrogant nature, to some extent inherited from her father.  She was used to having her own way and found it difficult to make friends. When her husband died in 1125, she returned to England to be acknowledged as heir to her father because of the death of her elder brothers some years earlier.  Although the barons swore their fealty they did not relish the idea of being ruled by a woman, especially one who was now married a second time to the young Count of Anjou.  The Angevins were longtime enemies of the Normans in northern France, and if Matilda became Queen her husband, Geoffrey, would almost certainly become King, and the Normans had even less desire to be ruled by an Angevin.  As a result, when Stephen claimed the throne on Henry's death in 1135, the Norman barons soon rallied round him.  It was not until May 1138, with the rebellion of Robert of Gloucester, an illegitimate son of Henry I and thus half-brother of Matilda, that Matilda's cause gained any significant support.  Matilda and Robert landed in England, at Arundel, in September 1139.  Robert escaped to Bristol and was soon joined by Matilda.  For the next eight years England was in the grip of a debilitating civil war. Matilda's hour came after the defeat of Stephen, at Lincoln, on 2 February 1141.  Stephen's support wilted, all except from his own Queen, also called Matilda.  Within a month the "Empress" Matilda had secured the support of Henry, bishop of Winchester (Stephen's brother), which allowed her access to the royal coffers.  She arrived at London a few weeks later and in April was declared "Lady of the English".  She still preferred to be known as "Empress", but occasionally styled herself queen.  Although preparations were in hand for her coronation, that never happened.  Matilda rapidly made herself unpopular.  First she raised a tax on all the nobility, and then she proposed to revoke the status of commune, which had been granted to London by Stephen.  This allowed London to collect its own taxes for its own benefits.  Matilda wanted access to these taxes.  Her support in London rapidly dwindled, and when Stephen's queen, Matilda, was able to bring her own forces from Kent, with William of Ypres, the "Empress" was driven out of London in June.  She settled in Oxford, although she spent some weeks in the complicated siege within a siege at Winchester.  It was during this and the following affrays in the surrounding countryside that Robert of Gloucester was captured and Matilda only narrowly escaped.  Matilda needed Robert as head of her forces and as a consequence she had to trade for his release with the release of Stephen from captivity in Bristol.  Her advantage was lost and by November Stephen had restored himself as king.  A year later Matilda found herself under siege at Oxford.  She was able to escape from the castle by rope from an open window and then, cloaked in white as camouflage against the snow, she crossed the frozen river and made her way to Abingdon.  Although her forces scored occasional victories in the ensuing months, it became a gradual war of attrition which fizzled out with the death of Robert of Gloucester in October 1147.  Matilda returned to Normandy in the following spring and never returned to England.  She continued to fight for the right of succession of her son, and indeed outlived Stephen to witness her son succeed to the throne as Henry II.  Although she ruled as uncrowned queen for less than a year, Matilda was the first queen of all England.  Had she not been so arrogant and fiery tempered, she might have been remembered more for her successes than her failures.
References: [FarisPA],[AR7],[Weis1],[Betham1],[EB]
Birth24 Aug 1113, Anjou, France
Death7 Sep 1151, Château-du-Loir, France
BurialSt. Julian's Church, Le Mans, Anjou
MotherErmengarde of Maine (~1096-1126)
Marriage17 Jun 1128, Le Mans Cathedral, Anjou, France
ChildrenHenry II (1133-1189)
Last Modified 25 Jun 2003Created 4 Sep 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh