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Matilda_of_England

Matilda of England

Matilda of England (also called Maud; 1156 – 13 July 1189) was the eldest daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Through her marriage with Henry the Lion, she was Duchess of Saxony and later of Bavaria.

Early life

Matilda was a younger maternal half-sister of Marie de Champagne and Alix of France. She was a younger sister of William, Count of Poitiers and Henry the Young King. She was also an older sister of Richard I of England, Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany, Leonora of Aquitaine, Joan of England and John of England. Matilda seems to have spent much of her early life in the company of her mother, Queen Eleanor.

Marriage

In 1165 Rainald of Dassel, Archbishop of Cologne, arrived at the court of King Henry II at Rouen, to negotiate a German match for Matilda. There was conflict during the negotiations, however, when Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester refused to greet the archbishop, alleging him to be a schismatic and a supporter of the anti-pope, Victor IV. The original plan to match a daughter of Henry II with a son of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, was abandoned, and instead Matilda left England in September 1167 to marry Henry the Lion.

She married Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, on 1 February 1168 at Minden Cathedral. They had four sons and two daughters:

Three other children are listed, by some sources, as having belonged to Henry and Matilda;

  • Eleanor (born 1178); died young
  • Ingibiorg (born 1180); died young
  • Son (stillborn 1182)

Regency and exile

At the time of their marriage, Henry the Lion was one of the most powerful allies of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. Matilda governed her husband's vast estates during his absence in the Holy Land from 1172 to 1173. In 1174, Henry the Lion became involved in a conflict with the Emperor Frederick, and Henry and Matilda were forced to flee Germany and take refuge in Normandy at her father's court in 1182. During this time at the royal court at Argentan, Matilda became acquainted with the Troubadour Bertran de Born, who, calling her "Elena" or "Lana", made her the object of his desire in two of his poems of "courtly love".

Matilda, her husband, and their family remained in Normandy under the protection and support of King Henry until 1185, when they were able to return to Saxony. When her father Henry II died in 1189, Matilda survived him by only one week.

Ancestry

See also

Sources

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