Matilda (Flandre) of England

Matilda (Flandre) of England

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Mathilde (Matilda) "Maud, Duchess of Normandy" of England formerly Flandre aka de Flandre, Flanders, Normandie
Born about in Flanders, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Wife of — married in Castle of Angi, France
Died in Caen, Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France
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Categories: County of Flanders | House of Flanders | House of Normandie | This Day In History November 02.

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Matilda of Flanders (c.1031 – 2 Nov 1083), Duchess of Normandy, Queen of England[1]

Early Life

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.[2] Matilda was a descendant ofAlfred, king of the West Saxons, through his daughter Ælfthryth, wife of Count Baldwin II.[2] 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;[3] and
  • Robert the Frisian, count of Flanders after his brother.[3]


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.[3] Pope Nicolas II granted them a dispensation for their marriage during the Lateran Council of 1059.[2] 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.[2]

Matilda and William had four sons and possibly six daughters: #Robert Curthose, born 1051 or 1052, died 1134, Duke of Normandy;[3]

  1. Richard, died while hunting between 1069 and 1074;[3]
  2. William Rufus, died 1100, King William II of England;[3]
  3. Henry, fourth son, later King Henry I, born in 1068, allegedly at Selby in Yorkshire, died in 1135;[3]
  4. Adelaide, died before 1113;[3]
  5. Cecilia, dedicated in 1066 to her mother's church in Caen, became a nun in 1075 and abbess in 1113, dying in 1127;[2]
  6. Constance married to Alain Fergant, duke of Brittany in 1086, died in 1090;[3]
  7. Adela, born after 1066, married to Stephen of Blois in 1080, died in 1137;[3]
  8. Matilda, who is referenced in Domesday Book;[3] and
  9. Agatha, about whom there is uncertainty;[2]


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.[2]

Matilda was regent of Normandy during William's absence in 1066-7 assisted by a council headed by Roger de Beaumont.[2] During William's latter absences in England she resumed ruling Normandy with her oldest son Robert.[2]

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.[2] She was crowned and anointed Queen by Aldred, archbishop of York at Westminster on 11 May 1068.[2]

Matilda spent little time in England, being occupied in Normandy with the affairs of the Duchy.[2] When her eldest son Robert was exiled by his father, Matilda supported him with large gifts of gold and silver and other valuables.[2]


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.[2]

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.[2]

Myths Debunked

  • Matilda and William were not cousins.
    If Matilda was descended from Rollo, which is doubtful,[2] [4] 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.[5] 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.[6]
  • 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.[7]
  • Matilda did not have a daughter, Gundrada.[5]
  • Matilda was not married before she married William.[5]


  1. 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. 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), pp.49-52.
  3. 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,, 15 July 2014
  4. Constance Brittain Bouchard, Those of My Blood, Creating Noble Families in Medieval Francia, Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, ©2001, 15 July 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 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), pp.680-701.
  6. Jennifer Ward ed, Women of the English Nobility and Gentry 1066-1500, Manchester University Press,, p.18.
  7. John Dewhurst, 'A historical obstetric enigma: how tall was Matilda?', Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Vol. 1, No. 4 (1981), pp. 271–72

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On October 2, 2014 at 02:59GMT Bree Ogle wrote:

De Flanders-99 and Flandre-3 appear to represent the same person because: Duplicate

On August 5, 2014 at 11:22GMT Steven Ringer wrote:

Flandre-48 and Flandre-3 appear to represent the same person because: It would appear that these two Matildas, both wives of William the Conqueror, are the same person.

If you agree, perhaps you may bw prepared to merge them Steve Ringer

On March 12, 2013 at 19:41GMT Vic Watt wrote:

On February 6, 2012 at 19:41GMT Roger Travis wrote:

This is a final profile, as determined by the European Aristocracy user-group. Any merges will go INTO this profile. See for details.

On September 17, 2009 at 13:16GMT pandora williams wrote:

how did she die

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