Matilda: William the Conqueror’s queen

That England wasn't entirely consumed by violence in the years following the Norman Conquest is a tribute to the diplomatic skills of William I's wife, Matilda. Tracy Borman hails a woman who "inspired a new model of queenship"...

A statue of the English queen Matilda in Luxembourg Garden, Paris. (Photo by Waring Abbott/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the October 2011 issue of BBC History Magazine 

In late autumn 1066, a diminutive woman of 35 prayed fervently in the Benedictine priory of Nôtre Dame du Pré, a small chapel that she had founded in 1060 on the banks of the river Seine near Rouen. Flanked by her ladies, she had spent many hours at her devotions during the previous few days.

Want to read more?

Become a BBC History Magazine subscriber today to unlock all premium articles in The Library

Unlock now