Matilda vs Matilda
February 2, 1141, at the battle of Lincoln, King Stephen of England was captured by Robert of Gloucester. The civil war in England that began six years ago and went down in history as the Anarchy, could finally end with the complete victory of Matilda, known as Empress Maud. But the other woman disagreed.
To understand the causes of the civil war and the subsequent capture of the king, it is necessary to return to the glorious year of 1120. Henry I, the grandson of William the Conqueror, sits on the English throne. Henry the First was a very prolific monarch, who left a fair progeny. The problem was that most of his children were illegitimate. Fortunately, Heinrich had a legitimate son, Wilhelm, and a daughter, Matilda. The situation became much more complicated in 1120, because the crown prince was on board the White Ship, which sank in the English Channel. Heinrich thought a little and declared Princess Matilda, the wife of the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Henry V, who had the misfortune to die in 1125, to be his heir.The king of England forced his barons to take the oath of the hereditary princess, but their loyalty, initially not very great, was greatly shaken by Matilda's next marriage — with the representative of the Anjou dynasty, Geoffroy Plantagenet. The Anglo-Norman barons did not want to see on the throne of England a representative of the house of Anjou, who was their old rival in France. The situation was aggravated by the fact that Matilda herself had no significant supporters in England and, according to many testimonies, was extremely arrogant.
In 1135, the English throne became vacant, which caused fermentation in the English nobility. The first was Stephen of Blois, the nephew of the late king, who enlisted the support of the Bishop of Winchester and, concurrently, his brother Henry of Blois. This move caused serious discontent of Robert Gloucester, the illegitimate son of the late King, who decided to give support to Matilde. By the way, she is often called the empress, but she could not inherit the title after the death of her husband, although she convinced her supporters of the opposite. Anyway, from this moment begins the twenty-year-old Anarchy.
King Stephen was married to Matilda of Boulogne, a very extraordinary woman.In the first phase of the civil war, Maud's party gained the support of the Scottish King David I, who did not fail to seize the opportunity to invade Northern England. After repulsing the attack of the northerners, the king sent his wife, David's niece, to negotiate peace with the Scots. Matilda made peace in 1139, which was no longer violated. It is also known that she personally led the siege of several fortresses and, in particular, captured Dover in 1138.
However, the true moment of her triumph came in 1141. After the capture of Stephen, Matilda became the center of resistance to the empress. For several months, she led peace negotiations to free her husband, but when it became obvious that they were not successful, she began to take active steps. As the chronicler wrote:It is a queen who has lost herself in her life.As a result, the fascinated Londoners refused to recognize Queen Maud, and she was never crowned. In addition to this, Matilda of Bologna convinced the already known Bishop of Winchester that he was quick to recognize Queen Maud, and he returned to Stephen’s side.
Mod wasLittleupset with similar movements and sent her army to the siege of Winchester.In the battle of Winchester on September 11, 1141, Maud's army was defeated, the empress managed to escape by a miracle, but her stepbrother and main supporter, Robert of Gloucester, was captured. In November of the same year, an exchange was made: her brother returned to Maude, her husband returned to Matilde. The initiative in the war passed to the party of Stephen.
The war will go on for a long time, but a turning point occurred in 1141. Never again will Maud be as close to the desired corona as after the capture of Stephen. Moreover, in the next, in 1142, she will be under siege at Oxford Castle. After three months of unsuccessful waiting for reinforcements, the empress would make a daring escape from the besieged castle: on a winter night, dressed in white clothes, she descended from the castle wall and escaped along the ice-covered Thames to Wallingford, controlled by her loyal troops.
Matilda of Boulogne until the last supported her husband and died in 1152. A year later, the only heir to Stephen, Prince Eustachius, died. And in 1154, the aged king, who had spent most of his life in permanent wars, concluded a peace treaty with Heinrich Plantgent, the son of Maud.Stefan acknowledged his future son Maude as his heir. A year later, the history of the Norman dynasty ended, and Heinrich Plantagenet entered the English throne.
Ps. At KPDV - Matilda Boulogne.