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 two 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 100, 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.
Matilda, Queen of England, Duchess of Normandy 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.
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.
- Matilda and William were not cousins, but 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.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 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.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Elisabeth van Houts, ‘Matilda (d. 1083)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2008,http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/18335, 15 July 2014
- ↑ Constance Brittain Bouchard, Those of My Blood, Creating Noble Families in Medieval Francia, Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, ©2001, 15 July 2014.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 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
- Wikipedia: Matilda of Flanders
- 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.
- Lancelott, Esq, Francis. "Matilda of Flanders", The Queens of England and Their Times. I. New York: Appleton and Company, 1858. pp.1-23. https://archive.org/stream/queensenglandan03lancgoog#page/n22/mode/2up. This is a colourful, but unsourced, story about Matilda and William which includes all the legends surrounding them.
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