Matilda (1101-69), Queen of England 1141 (Page 2)

Matilda born 1101, was her father Henry I's heiress as his sole surviving legitimate issue. The barons of England and Normandy, at Henry's insistence, swore to uphold her right to the throne, but when her father died and her cousin Stephen landed in England, most of them backed him instead. The civil war which ensued, lasted for many years before Stephen finally agreed to make Matilda's son Henry, his own heir.



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Matilda (1101-69), Queen of England 1141
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Matilda was born in 1101, generally it is said at Winchester, but other research indicates that she was possibly born at the Royal Palace in Sutton Courtenay (in Berkshire).  Stewart Baldwin, evaluating the known sources calculates instead that she was born abt 8 Feb 1102.  ("Matilda of England", Henry Project)  John of Hexham, the continuator of Simeon of Durham, gives her name as both Aaliz and Adela.  The Laud Chronicle under 1127 gives her name as Aethelic.  A name not otherwise known.  Baldwin citing Plummer's ASC that her name was "changed from Adelaide" is probably Plummer's speculation in an attempt to resolve this issue, that we should here read "Adelaide" for  "Aethelic".

Henry's first wife, as I've said, was Maud of Scotland, daughter of Malcolm III, King of Scotland.  Maud's DNB entry states that : "Westminster had been her abode for many years; soon after the birth of her son she had ceased to follow the wanderings of her husband's court." So it's probable that Matilda her daughter was brought up here at Westminster.

The Laud Chronicle states, under 1109, but corrected by Garmonsway to 1108 " Westminster.  There the contracts were completed and the oaths sworn for the marriage of his daughter to the emperor."  Under the following year, entered as 1110, but corrected by Garmonsawy to 1109 "In this year, before Lent, the king sent his daughter oversea with innumerable treasures, and gave her in marriage to the emperor."  Lent that year was 23 February.



In something of a political coup for her father, Matilda had been contracted to marry the new Holy Roman Emperor, Henry V, when she was only eight.  Perhaps as one source states, ambassadors "demanded" her in marriage. The contract of marriage had been signed by her father in the previous June, but it was not until about February that he sent her away, probably with these same ambassadors.  So perhaps they did demand her, maybe her father was having second thoughts.  This union probably was meant to unite Germany and England against their common enemy Louis of France, but it's not clear that this had any useful affect.  The Emperor had also been fomenting off-again, on-again battles with the Papacy.  Stroll citing Gesta Regum in speaking of Henry V "He grants investiture of churches by staff and ring, and regards any pope as illegitimate who has been elected without his approval; although Calixtus, who now presides over the Apostolic See, has brilliantly restrained the man's unlimited ambitions." (Mary Stroll, "Calixtus 2, 1119-1124", p83)

The Laud Chronicle writing under 1110, but corrected to 1109, evidently tells us how King Henry was able to raise the money for her "innumerable treasures" which included a cash dowry: "This was a very disastrous year here in the country on account  of the Aid which the king levied for the marriage of his daughter, and also because of bad weather...."  Henry of Huntingdon is more specific stating that : "The king taxed every hide of land in England three shillings for his daughter's marriage" (Henry of Huntingdon, "Chronicle" Book VII)  Perhaps this is the basis for the claim in her DNB entry that she was sent with a dowry of ten thousand marks. Stroll cites Chibnall tells us that Henry V "...desperately needed the money to finance an expedition to Rome, where he expected to be crowned." (ibid p84)  This at least seems possible, but the further claim that "The anticipation that there would be an heir promised to cement this union..." seems bizarre.  If Henry V had been realistically aiming for an heir, he could have done much better than to choose a girl who could have been no older than six when negotiations began.  However the geographic, pincer relationship of Normandy and Germany to France would seem to have been paramount in his mind.

"On 10 Apr 1110, she was betrothed at Utrecht to Henry V in person, and on 8 May she was crowned at Mainz by the Archbishop of Coln, the Archbishop of Trier holding her 'reverently' in his arms.  Henry dismissed all her English attendants, and had her carefully trained in the German language and manners." (DNB)  The exact date and place of her betrothal comes from the anonymous continuator of William of Jumieges, the DNB does not mention the important point that this date was Easter.  Stroll calls this man "Archbishop Frederick of Cologne" (ibid p85)  Again it is the anonymous continuator of William of Jumieges who tells us that she was crowned, but on 25 Jul 1110. (Source) Sir James Henry Ramsay states at this point that " her mother she was required to change her name, and to change it for the name that her mother took, and so from this time forward she becomes the Empress Matilda."  He cites no authority for such a claim, and so we must view it with a healthy skepticism. Stroll cites Ordericus Vitalis (Book 6) in telling us that Matilda's Norman retinue who came with her expected to gain influence, but that the cunning Emperor dismissed them all with gifts and sent them home. (ibid p85)  At this point, Henry proceeded into Rome, captured Pope Paschal who gave in to his demands about investiture, and crowned him Emperor 13 Apr 1111.  Did Matilda go with him?  Was she crowned as Empress at this time?  Or was she left somewhere in Germany?


First Marriage

Because of his actions against the Papacy, Henry V was excommunicated, but this seems to have had little realistic impact.  Matilda and Henry V were married on 7th Jan 1114 at Mainz, and she was crowned again, as Empress on the same day, according to Florence of Worcester. (cited by Charles Cawley, "Medlands" : Henry II)  Stroll states that "the anonymous author of the Chronica Imperatorum Henrico V dedicata enumerates the presence of five archbishops, thirty bishops, and five dukes...." (ibid p88)


See Also

Matilda (1101-69), Queen of England 1141
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