Matilda or Maud was the only surviving legitimate child of King Henry I. She spent most of her early life at the Holy Roman Imperial Court with her husband, Henry V, whom she had married at the age of twelve. She got used to being waited on hand and foot and was a rather haughty disdainful woman. She returned to England after the emperorís death and was recognised as heir to the English throne, upon the death of her brother. However, when King Henry died, the Barons chose her cousin, Stephen, instead. Pregnant and bringing up a young family in Normandy with her new husband, it took Matilda four years to invade England and press her claims. Civil War ensued but, despite the support of her powerful half-brother, the Empress was unable to take the throne. When she got close, she just upset the powerful Londoners and was forced to go on the run. She eventually got bored and returned to Normandy, leaving her son, Henry, to fight for the Angevin cause.
For more details of Empress Matilda's life, take a look at our Royal Berkshire History website.
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