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Sharon Murphy
Sharon Murphy • 1 year ago

The Disaster of the White Ship In 1120 Matilda's elder brother William Adelin and heir to the English throne died returning from Normandy when his ship, called the White Ship, hit rocks and sank. As Henry I had no other children, Matilda was declared heir to the English throne. Henry made the Barons swear allegiance to Matilda and made them swear that they should crown her as Queen upon his death. One of these barons was Stephen of Blois, Henry's nephew.

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Stephen the Usurper! He was the nephew of Henry I, who had named his daughter, the Empress Matilda, as his heir after his only legitimate son died in the White Ship disaster. Because it was unheard of for a woman to rule England, members of the nobility who had pledged allegiance to Matilda while Henry was alive abruptly ditched her for Stephen after Henry I's death. A civil war that lasted years was the result. Stephen managed to hang onto the throne, fighting Matilda's faction to secure the throne for his son, Eustace. But Eustace died young, and Stephen saw the writing on the wall. He and Matilda called a truce -- Stephen would remain king until he died, but the throne would then pass to Matilda's son, Henry, who became Henry II.

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