Within the space of a century, three women were Queen Matilda of England. William the Conqueror
's wife was Matilda van Vlaanderen. Stephen
's wife was Matilda de Boulogne. The most famous, however, was Henry I
's daughter Matilda, who contested with Stephen
for the English throne.
This Matilda was born in 1102 and was twice married. In 1114, she married Emperor Henry V, and in 1128 she married Geoffrey Plantagent, son of the Count of Anjoy. On the death of Henry I, she claimed the English throne but was successfully opposed by her cousin Stephen. Civil war ensued. Stephen was captured in 1141 and Matilda was crowned in London. However, she was defeated at the siege of Winchester and retired to Normandy in 1148. Her son became Henry II, succeeding Stephen. During the rest of her lifetime, she advised her son and acted as a mediator between the king and his enemies.