10 interesting facts about william the conqueror

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3. Henry I of France fought for and against William

After the death of Archbishop Robert, Normandy descended to anarchy. Four guardians of William were killed by those who wanted power but William survived. King Henry knighted him in 1042 while he was still in his teens. He also helped William defeat his opponents in the Battle of Val-es-Dunes. However, after William’s power began to grow Henry started considering him as a threat. In 1054 and 1057, he went to war against William to conquer Normandy but William defeated him on both occasions.

Archbishop Robert

4. His wife initially refused to marry him due to his illegitimate birth

Henry I of France

William’s representative went to the daughter of Count of Flanders, Matilda to ask her hand for William. She not only refused but went to the extent of saying that she was too high born to consider marrying a bastard. Legend says that William rode to her place, dragged her off her horse by her long braids, threw her down in front of her attendants and rode off. Matilda responded by saying she would marry no one but William. They married sometime in the early 1050s. Matilda bore William at least nine children (possibly 10), including two kings, William II and Henry I. There is no evidence that William was ever unfaithful to Matilda and their marriage is considered successful. When she died in 1083, William went into a deep depression.

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