Matilda: Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England

Matilda Wife of the Conqueror First Queen of England Matilda wife of William the Conqueror was the first woman to be crowned Queen of England and formally recognised as such by her subjects Beyond this though little is known of her life No contempor

  • Title: Matilda: Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England
  • Author: Tracy Borman
  • ISBN: 9780224090551
  • Page: 392
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, was the first woman to be crowned Queen of England and formally recognised as such by her subjects Beyond this, though, little is known of her life No contemporary images of her remain, and in a period where all evidence is fragmentary and questionable, the chroniclers of the age left us only the faintest clues as to her life So wMatilda, wife of William the Conqueror, was the first woman to be crowned Queen of England and formally recognised as such by her subjects Beyond this, though, little is known of her life No contemporary images of her remain, and in a period where all evidence is fragmentary and questionable, the chroniclers of the age left us only the faintest clues as to her life So who was this spectral queen In this first major biography, Tracy Borman elegantly sifts through the shards of evidence to uncover an extraordinary story In a dangerous, brutal world of conquest and rebellion, fragile alliances and bitter familial rivalries, Matilda possessed all the attributes required for a woman to thrive She was born of impeccable lineage, and possessed of a loving and pious nature, she was a paragon of fidelity and motherhood But strength, intelligence and ambition were also prerequisites to survive in such an environment This side of her character, coupled with a fiercely independent nature, made Matilda essential to William s rule, giving her unparalleled influence over the king While this would provide an inspiring template for future indomitable queens, it led eventually to treachery, revolt and the fracturing of a dynasty.Characterised by Tracy Borman s graceful storytelling, Matilda Queen of the Conqueror takes us from the courts of Flanders and Normandy to the opulence of royal life in England Alive with intrigue, rumour and betrayal, it illuminates for the first time the life of an exceptional, brave and complex queen pivotal to the history of England.

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    1 thought on “Matilda: Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England”

    1. I was quite enjoying this -- a lot of research seems to have gone into it, but there are significant problems too. Borman doesn't seem to have known how to be selective with her sources; she repeats myths as if they're true and only then explains the dubious provenance of the story -- and she still uses it as part of her narrative, suggesting that it may reflect elements of the truth.Matilda was surely a formidable woman, and at its best this work shows us that side of her, the woman who was dec [...]

    2. I found this book to be ultimately, a very frustrating read. Part of the frustration comes from the fact that there isn't that much historians know about Matilda; the records just aren't there, so a lot of the book isn't about her.But a much bigger part of the frustration comes from the author and her writing style. I started questioning what I was reading when the author stated that bones thought to be Matilda's meant that she was only 4'2". This is just not true. There was a miscommunication w [...]

    3. Although everyone may have heard of William the Conqueror; less is known about his influential wife, Matilda. Tracy Borman attempts to open the windows into Matilda’s life with “Queen of the Conquer: The Life of Matilda, Wife of William I”.The life (and sometimes plight) of Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror; is unfortunately loose in resources. Thus, “Queen of the Conqueror” begins like many other biographies surrounding ill-documented figures by describing the world and events su [...]

    4. Tracy Borman chose a difficult subject for a biography, and succeeded at it remarkably well. Though a significant person in the affairs of western Europe during her lifetime, concrete information on Matilda of Flanders is difficult to find and ascertain.Nonetheless, Borman builds as comprehensive picture as possible on the wife of William the Conqueror, placing her at the center of their new dynasty and utlimately making her the glue that bound the family together.There were a few places where t [...]

    5. As biographies of historical figures of the eleventh century go, Tracy Borman's 'Matilda-Queen of the Conqueror' (2011) is quite good. She writes historical narrative in a very colourful way that makes for easy reading.She relies heavily for her sources upon Norman and English 11th and 12th century writers. William of Jumieges for the Norman histories and William of Malmesbury and Orderic Vitalis for the more English perspectives, as well as the Anglo Saxon Chronicles and all the way into the ni [...]

    6. In general this was a decent narrative biography, but the writing style left Much to be desired. Regularly throughout the book, the author would write up a "known" historical bit as if it were a continuation in the Matilda story, comment on it, and Then announce it was from a 19th c writer or some other source that would obviously be unlikely to be factual. It would have been so much more interesting if the author had collected all these later glosses and had a last chapter of Matilda's developm [...]

    7. Tracy Borman’s book about Queen Matilda (William the Conqueror’s wife, if you’re not keeping score at home) does a very good job with tracing the live of a medieval woman (much better than Weir’s Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life, but it is also only 3/4s the length of that book), but manages to be irritating on a regular basis.The introduction of the book gives a commonly told story of Matilda, upon hearing that she was to be betrothed to Duke William “the Bastard” of Normandy, rejecting [...]

    8. A biography of Matilda of Flanders is one of the things I have been hoping for, for many years. Tracy Borman has written a very good book which would appeal to a wide-ranging audience. I highly enjoyed it.There are a few things which may surprise people - for example that Judith, wife of Tostig Godwineson, may have been Matilda's aunt and not her sister as has been assumed for years. I am not entirely convinced by many of the Brihtric stories that form part of Matilda's legend, and I would have [...]

    9. A very coherent, thorough biography of one of the lesser known queens of English history, Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror. A great deal is given over to the beating that he gave her when she refused his offer of marriage, the familial background of the couple, their many children and the role that Matilda played in shaping what would be the queen's duties as the consort of an English king. She was cultured, well-educated, generous to the Church and to the poor. I was very surp [...]

    10. As one goes back in time, it often becomes more and more difficult to create a convincing biography. When I first read about this book, I wondered how a biography of a king's wife could be sustained. But Tracy Borman has accomplished exactly that. Using what sources are available and extrapolating sensibly (not going far beyond what is based on documentation--however uncertain those sources might be), Borman develops a pretty compelling story of Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, who became [...]

    11. What a treat it was, to read Tracy Borman's book, Queen of the Conqueror! Matilda of Flanders was said to have paved the way, for other strong willed Queens yet to come. That she did, and in a big way. Tiny Matilda was not going to be pushed around by anyone, not even her husband Duke William, who would in the year 1066, defeat King Harold at the battle of Hastings and become the next King of England. William's victory would bring about much change in England, since he was the first Norman King [...]

    12. 1066 is very much the BC:AD moment of English history; anything before to most people is a confusing muddle of Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Romans. It is only with the bestriding figure of William the Conqueror that England as we know it comes into any kind of recognisable focus. And yet despite his invasion and conquest being the defining event of English history to this very day, William himself is a fairly shadowy figure in history. So with that in mind, just imagine how much more of a shadowy f [...]

    13. Up front, I want to admit that I read this book on my Kindle. If, after reading this review, you choose to purchase it, PLEASE buy a hard copy. My Kindle immediately started me at the Introduction, and I therefore missed four fairly important pages of genealogy and maps that are virtually unreadable on the Kindle. In reality, the book could have used additional pages of genealogical charts showing the connections of important relatives and other kings and queens (Henry, King of France? Emma, the [...]

    14. $15.99Not too long ago the only thing I had ever heard about was the year 1066 and enable William the Conqueror. I'm not saying I know a whole lot more now, but I do know considerable more than I did before, and I'm so glad I read this twice about Matilda, Williams wife. She was not some helpless female that William chose, and although she didn't want to marry him at first, she finally relented. It is not easy to keep track of how many children they had, but there are records of about 9 although [...]

    15. Writing the biography of a woman from the 11th century is never going to be an easy task, due to a lack of primary sources that often fail to even record the birth (or death) of a daughter, let alone the social restrictions placed on women of the period, but Matilda, being an unusually powerful woman, has left a greater amount of recorded activity than just about any other woman of her period. So yes, there are issues of real evidence in the biography that Borman deals with by a liberal use of t [...]

    16. Around the year 1049, William, Duke of Normandy and future conqueror of England, rode furiously to the palace of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, in Bruges.Matilda of Flanders, wife of William I the Conqueror, remains a mystery to history. Who was the woman behind the man who conquered England? How did her tempestuous marriage come about? In this biography, Tracy Borman tries to make sense of the conflicting accounts of Matilda's life and how she became the queen that every monarch of England is di [...]

    17. Did not finish. There was so much padding, and so much of the actual source material is shady - there wasn't enough discussion of that. In one breath the author tells us that women consorts' traditional roles were being pious and bearing kids, nothing more, and then a few pages later she's discussing the flowering of women's education in the era. So women were highly educated, men were at war all the time, but Matilda was unusual because she did things besides pop out babies? Come on, at least s [...]

    18. I'm a bit torn in what to think of this book. It is a generally good biography, making use of what sources there are. But at the same time, do we really need all those later legends (that tell us next to nothing about the woman in question and a whole lot more of those who wrote them)? how reliable are the those more contemporary sources really (after all, we are talking about a time when historical and contemporary chronicles had other purposes than being objective - and sometimes even truthful [...]

    19. this is my first historical fiction and frankly I played a gamble in this book considering the author only has 2 books in her name I thought this would be a mistake but the more I read the more intensified it got this book is really very well written with every real historical account from William of malmsey,orderic vitalis, Lanfranc the Bishop of York at the time of Norman William the conquerorl in all it's a must read book for all history buffs looking forward to read her only other book Thoma [...]

    20. (In my Kindle copy of this book, the narrative text comprised 76% of the book. The rest was notes and so forth. Do people really read all the notes and bibliographic information?)Enjoyable. The author has a nice style; the overall vibe was narrative without making me feel like I was reading fiction.

    21. Since I knew nothing about Matilda and William, I must have learned a great deal. That said, I did enjoy the book and was impressed at how much power she had and her attention to her children, her subjects and her religion.

    22. The work is well researched with great evidence for Matilda's impact while she reigned. Though the writing is a bit dry, the information is excellent. Women seeking empowerment should read this book and develop strategies reflective of Matilda's means.

    23. Excellent, detailed history on the Norman conquest of history and Matilda's life. The author makes assumptions from the few details and facts we know about Matilda, her husband, and the events that take place around her.

    24. Lecture LectureReads like a high school lecture, read 20%, flipped through about 50 more pages. Boring, described various opinions from other researchers within almost every point.

    25. A dispassionate biography of Queen Matilda, wife to William the Conqueror.My TakeQueen of the Conqueror is primarily about the legacy Matilda left for future queens of England along with an evaluation of the powers of past queens and how it enabled Matilda. Considering how little Borman had to work with, she put together an interesting analysis of Matilda and her family. Some things I "knew" turned out to be malicious bits of propaganda while other bits were revelations. I hadn't realized how in [...]

    26. I had never heard of Matilda until I picked up this book and I am so glad I picked it up. Matilda was not only a wife to William the Conqueror but also it seems was quite literally “the wind beneath his wings”. She was a woman who provided her husband not only with 9 children but the kind of steadying influence which enabled him to successfully conquer and rule England and Normandy for many years. There is not much in the way of biographical details about Matilda’s everyday life in the his [...]

    27. Overall interesting though a bit too much speculation, in my opinion, though I do realize that given the paucity of source material the author has to make do with what can be found.

    28. Like Stacy Schiff's splendid "Cleopatra," Borman gives us a rich portrayal of a woman about whom history has left us little concrete information. William the Conqueror has produced reams of text and analysis, but Matilda of Flanders is a relatively unexplored figure though, as Borman argues, she occupies an important place in both the histories of England and Normandy, and for the position of women in the medieval world. Having consulted chapters of Borman's previous work, "Elizabeth's Women" fo [...]

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