Queen of the Conqueror

Queen of the Conqueror

The Life of Matilda, Wife of William I

Book - 2012 | 1st U.S. ed.
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Around the year 1049, William, Duke of Normandy and future conqueror of England, raced to the palace of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders. The count's eldest daughter, Matilda, had refused William's offer of marriage and publicly denounced him as a bastard. Encountering the young woman, William furiously dragged her to the ground by her hair and beat her mercilessly. Matilda's outraged father immediately took up arms on his daughter's behalf. But just a few days later, Baldwin was aghast when Matilda, still recovering from the assault, announced that she would marry none but William, since "he must be a man of great courage and high daring" to have ventured to "come and beat me in my own father's palace."
Thus began the tempestuous marriage of Matilda of Flanders and William the Conqueror. While William's exploits and triumphs have been widely chronicled, his consort remains largely overlooked. Now, in her groundbreaking "Queen of the Conqueror, " acclaimed author and historian Tracy Borman weaves together a comprehensive and illuminating tapestry of this noble woman who stood only four-foot-two and whose role as the first crowned Queen of England had a large and lasting influence on the English monarchy.
From a wealth of historical artifacts and documents, Matilda emerges as passionate, steadfast, and wise, yet also utterly ruthless and tenacious in pursuit of her goals, and the only person capable of taming her formidable husband--who, unprecedented for the period, remained staunchly faithful to her. This mother of nine, including four sons who went on to inherit William's French and English dominions, confounded the traditional views of women in medieval society by seizing the reins of power whenever she had the chance, directing her husband's policy, and at times flagrantly disobeying his orders.
Tracy Borman lays out Matilda's remarkable story against one of the most fascinating and transformative periods in European history. Stirring, richly detailed, and wholly involving, "Queen of the Conqueror "reveals not just an extraordinary figure but an iconic woman who shaped generations, and an era that cast the essential framework for the world we know today.
Praise for "Queen of the Conqueror"
" "
" Tracy Borman] brings to life Queen Matilda's enormous accomplishments in consolidating early Norman rule. Alongside her warrior husband, William I, Matilda brought legitimacy, a deeper degree of education, diplomatic savvy and artistic and religious flowering to the shared Norman-English throne. Borman . . . the chief executive of Britain's Heritage Education Trust, fleshes out the personality of this fascinating woman, who set the steely precedent for subsequent English female sovereigns by displaying great longevity and stamina in a rough, paternalistic time. . . . A richly layered treatment of the stormy reign that yielded the incomparable Bayeux Tapestry and the Domesday Book."--"Kirkus Reviews"
"Tracy Borman tells this story with a steady eye and a steady hand, tracing what can be known of Matilda's part in the events that were to change the course of English history."--Helen Castor, "Literary Review"
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, [2012], c2011.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780553808148
Branch Call Number: 942.02
Characteristics: xxxi, 295 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), maps, genealogical tables ; 24 cm.


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May 03, 2017

This is a very interesting book.First one I've seen of a Queen Consort.You can tell the author has done a lot of research. Had no idea Matilda was so influential.Wow!

Nov 22, 2016

This first bio of Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, is very different from Borman's bio of Elizabeth I. A big reason is that Matilda, one of Elizabeth's ancestors, was, whether Elizabeth knew it or not, a major role model for her descendant and all queens to follow, whether queen consorts like Matilda or reigning queens like Elizabeth. Matilda and William had very different personalities, and she, traditionally, stayed in the background--most of the time. Matilda's descent was better than her husband's, which mattered in the 11th c. Her education was much better than his, and comparable to Elizabeth's. While both of the couple were pious, Matilda expressed her faith not just in endowing monasteries and abbeys, as did her husband, but in attending services regularly herself. She was loyal to him, but probably loved him less than he loved her; William was one of the few kings of the time who was faithful to his wife. Ambitious, she wanted to see her 3 sons on the thrones of as many kingdoms as possible. Unfortunately, while William felt the same way, they backed different sons. And their marriage suffered a major break when she openly backed their firstborn for England, who didn't have what it took. The couple were able to patch things up, which says a lot for their devotion. I appreciate Borman's bios for their deep research; but when the evidence isn't there, she admits it. And she's a wonderful writer. I really felt like I knew both Matilda and William.

Sep 09, 2015

There are a number of histories of William and their sons, but so far this is the first that I've seen of Matilda.

It's quite an interesting work. The author makes a point that education opportunities for women were more available in the 900s-1000s than earlier or later and that her upbringing gave Matilda the resources to play a large part in the dynamics of Normandy and England.


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