William the Conqueror (or William I) ruled over England for twenty one years and over Normandy for fifty two. He became Duke of Normandy in his childhood and later carried out the audacious conquest of England which changed the country forever. Here are 10 interesting facts about William I, the Norman king of England.
1. William was an illegitimate son and people called him William the Bastard
William was most likely born in the year 1028. He was the only son born to the Duke of Normandy, Robert I. His motherHerleva never married Robert. Instead she went on to marry Herluin de Conteville with whom she had four children. Although, today William is known as the Conqueror, through most part of his life, his contemporaries referred to him as William the Bastard due to his illegitimate birth. Even today, he is sometimes referred to by that name.
2. William became Duke of Normandy when he was eight
Robert I died in 1035 but before that he had made his noblemen pledge allegiance to his son. Despite his tender age and illegitimate birth, William became the Duke of Normandy with the support of his great-uncle, Archbishop Robert, as well as the king of France, Henry I. He was only 8 years old.