Matilda of Flanders (c.1031 – 2 Nov 1083), Duchess of Normandy, Queen of England
Matilda was the daughter of Baudouin/Baldwin V, called of Lisle, Count of Flanders, and his second wife, Adèle or Adela Capet, the daughter of Robert II and sister of Henry I, kings of France. Matilda was a descendant of Alfred, king of the West Saxons, through his daughter Ælfthryth, wife of Count Baldwin II. Matilda was Alfred's great, great, great, great, great grand daughter (see WikiTree's Relationship Finder).
Matilda had 2 brothers:
- Badouin VI of Mons, count of Flanders; and
- Robert the Frisian, count of Flanders after his brother.
Although a marriage between Matilda and William, the Bastard, duke of Normandy had been forbidden by the council of Rheims held by Pope Leo IX in 1049, they did marry, in 1050 or 1051, in Rouen. Pope Nicolas II granted them a dispensation for their marriage during the Lateran Council of 1059. In atonement for her marriage, Matilda was required to build the abbey of Holy Trinity for nuns at Caen and its church was consecrated on 18 June 1066.
Matilda and William had four sons and possibly six daughters: #Robert Curthose, born 1051 or 1052, died 1134, Duke of Normandy;
- Richard, died while hunting between 1069 and 1074;
- William Rufus, died 1100, King William II of England;
- Henry, fourth son, later King Henry I, born in 1068, allegedly at Selby in Yorkshire, died in 1135;
- Adelaide, died before 1113;
- Cecilia, dedicated in 1066 to her mother's church in Caen, became a nun in 1075 and abbess in 1113, dying in 1127;
- Constance married to Alain Fergant, duke of Brittany in 1086, died in 1090;
- Adela, born after 1066, married to Stephen of Blois in 1080, died in 1137;
- Matilda, who is referenced in Domesday Book; and
- Agatha, about whom there is uncertainty;
Matilda presented William a ship, the Mora, which had on the prow a golden image of a boy, holding a horn in one hand and pointing the way to England with the other, for his own use in the invasion of England in 1066.
Matilda was regent of Normandy during William's absence in 1066-7 assisted by a council headed by Roger de Beaumont. During William's latter absences in England she resumed ruling Normandy with her oldest son Robert.
William sent men of high rank to escort Matilda to England for her coronation, and a large number of nobles and ladies accompanied her from Normandy. She was crowned and anointed Queen by Aldred, archbishop of York at Westminster on 11 May 1068.
Matilda spent little time in England, being occupied in Normandy with the affairs of the Duchy. When her eldest son Robert was exiled by his father, Matilda supported him with large gifts of gold and silver and other valuables.
Death & burial
Matilda died in Normandy on 3 November after a prolonged illness and was buried at Caen in the church she had built, Abbey of Sainte-Trinité which is also known as Abbaye aux Dames.
Additional note.(Wikipedia) The abbey was founded as a Benedictine monastery of nuns in the late 11th century by William the Conqueror and his wife Matilda of Flanders as the Abbaye aux Dames ("Women's Abbey"). Matilda, who died in 1083, was buried in the choir under a slab of black marble. Construction of the abbey was not completed until 1130.
Matilda made her son Henry the heir of her English property and bequeathed her crown and other ornaments of state to her church at Caen.
Additional notes on her burial (Royal Tombs of Medieval England) William's wife Matilda, died on 2 November 1083, and was buried in the abbey church of La Trinite, her own Benedictine foundation in Caen. According to Orderic Vitalis, Matilda's tomb was decorated with gold and jewels, like that of her husband. The tomb was opened in 1562 (apparently by Calvinists), and in 1702 Matilda's remains were installed beneath the original grave-slab in the eleventh-century choir, slightly to the east of what is believed to be its original position.
- Matilda and William were not cousins.
If Matilda was descended from Rollo, which is doubtful,  they were fourth cousins, with a common great-great-great-grandfather Robert Ganger aka Rollo or Hrolf, (see WikiTree's Relationship Finder), The interdict against Matilda and William's marriage did not state why the marriage was forbidden. In the late eleventh century the Church prohibited marriages within seven degrees of consanguinity, this prohibition included relations by blood, by marriage, and spiritual relationships, ie god-parents.
- Matilda was not 4'2" tall.
Her incomplete skeleton was examined in France, and her bones were measured to determine her height. The 1819 estimate was under five feet, while the 1959 estimate was 5' (152 cm) tall. A reputed height of 4' 2" (127 cm) appeared at some point after 1959 in the non-scientific literature, misrepresenting the 1959 measurement.
- Matilda did not have a daughter, Gundrada.
- Matilda was not married before she married William.
- ROYAL ANCESTRY by Douglas Richardson Vol. I, pages 1-8
WILLIAM the Conqueror, Duke (or Count) of Normandy, 1035-87, King of England, 1066-87, illegitimate son of Robert, Duke of Normandy, by his mistress, Arlette (or Herleve) [see Appendix, Line A for his ancestry}. He was probably born at Falaise 1027-28. He married about 1050 (marriage prohibited 1049, dispensation dated 1059, they being related by near kinship within the 7th degree) MAUD OF FLANDERS, daughter of Baudouin V, Count-Marquis of Flanders, by Adele, daughter of Robert II, King of France [see Appendix, Line B for her ancestry]. They had four sons, Robert Curthose [Duke of Normandy], Richard, William II Rufus [King of England], and Henry [I] [King of England, Duke of Normandy, Count of Cotentin], and five daughters, Alice (or Adelise) (nun at St Leger in Preaux), Maud, Constance, Cecily [Abbess of Holy Trinity, Caen], and Adele (wife of Etienne Henri, Count of Blois). Maud, died 2 November 1083, and was buried at Sainte-Trinite in Caen. Her tombstone with inscription carved round the edge has survived.
- ↑ James W. Sheahan. The Universal historical atlas. New York: Warren, Cockcroft and Co., 1873.Original data: James W. Sheahan. The Universal historical atlas. New York, Royalty for Commoners, Roderick W. Stuart, Gen. Pub. Co., Balt.,1992, p103.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Sidney Lee, ed., Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. XXXVII Maxquerier-Millyng, (London: Smith, Elder, & co., 1894), https://archive.org/stream/dictionaryofnati37stepuoft#page/50/mode/2up pp.49-52.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Elisabeth van Houts, ‘Matilda (d. 1083)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2008, www.oxforddnb.com, 15 July 2014
- ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbey_of_Sainte-Trinit%C3%A9,_Caen
- ↑ Constance Brittain Bouchard, Those of My Blood, Creating Noble Families in Medieval Francia, Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, ©2001, 15 July 2014.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Rev Mandell Creighton MA LLD, ed., Notes and Documents, the Parentage of Gundrada, Wife of William of Warren, The English Historical Review, III, (London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1888), https://archive.org/stream/englishhistorica03londuoft#page/680/mode/2up pp.680-701.
- ↑ Jennifer Ward ed, Women of the English Nobility and Gentry 1066-1500, Manchester University Press, http://bchistorycore.wikispaces.com/file/view/Women+of+the+English+Nobility+and+Gentry+1066-1500.pdf, p.18.
- ↑ John Dewhurst, 'A historical obstetric enigma: how tall was Matilda?', Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Vol. 1, No. 4 (1981), pp. 271–72
- Royal Tombs of Medieval England M. Duffy 2003 page 44
- Wikipedia: Matilda of Flanders
- Francis Lancelott, Esq, "Matilda of Flanders", The Queens of England and Their Times, I, (New York: Appleton and Company, 1858), https://archive.org/stream/queensenglandan03lancgoog#page/n22/mode/2up pp.1-23. This is a colourful, but unsourced, story about Matilda and William which includes all the legends surrounding them.
- Royalty for Commoners, Roderick W. Stuart, Gen. Pub. Co., Balt.,1992, p103.
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