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  #1  
Old 01-06-2017, 02:39 PM
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Succession After Henry I: Matilda or Stephen

1.Who do you think was the rightful heir to the English throne after the death of Henry I. His daughter Empress Matilda or his nephew Stephen ?

2.And do you think that Empress Matilda ever really had a chance to win the war against Stephen.

3.And would you say that Empress Matilda ended up as the winner in the end considering that it was her son who became King after Stephen ?

4.What do you think was the biggest mistake Empress Matilda made after the battle of Lincoln when she captured Stephen ? ( Well i guess it was her half brother Robert that captured him. )

5.Do you think that if it had not been for Stephens wife Matilda of Boulogne rising her army against Empress Matilda and taking her half brother Robert. And forcing Empress Matilda to trade King Stephen with Robert. That the Anarchy would have ended in a different way ?
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Old 01-06-2017, 03:56 PM
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1. Mathilda. As the only surviving child of the king, her claim was best. Like Mary and Elizabeth Tudor. Stephen was a female line grandson of William the conqueror. That weakened his claim.

And if we want to say women can't inherit, he didn't even have the best claim. He was not the eldest grandson of William. He had an older brother who did make a claim. If they were going to skip female heirs, Theobald had the far superior claim to his younger brother.

3 yes I would say Matilda won. In reality England was never her focus. After her father died, she stopped pressing her claim after a few years. It was her half brother Robert and her uncle king David of Scotland both pressed the issue of her claim and she eventually joined. Her and her husband mainly focussed on Normandy. She left England and returned to Normandy before the end. Her son was king of England and she had her Norman lands.

5 in the end her brother was a no win situation. If she had him executed there would be those who would charge her with regicide. If she left him in prison, there would always be rebellions in his name. The best thing would have been for Stephen to have died in battle. It was a no win situation. Even if Stephens wife had not raised an army, he would always have support.
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Old 01-06-2017, 04:11 PM
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Stephen had 2 older brothers William, Count of Sully and Theobald II, Count of Champagne
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Old 01-06-2017, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Feologild View Post
Stephen had 2 older brothers William, Count of Sully and Theobald II, Count of Champagne
True, but unlike Theobald, William was never considered a candidate. He had been passed over for his fathers title in favor of Theobald. he was called William the simple and it is speculated he suffered from a mental illness/disability. It is known that he was forced to retire to his wife's lands due to erratic behaviour including physically attacking a bishop.

Stephen had only one who survived him, and neither of his grown sons had children. Only a daughter did but she had two girls. In reality, he was in a similar position to Henry I. If he has not agreed to make Matilda's son heir, it would have had to fall to a nephew and then once again there would be a fight over who had the best claim. One of the sons of his older brothers who were passed over for him to take the throne? Both William and Theobald had sons.

The death of Stephens son in 1159 would have seen the argument of the nephews. Williams eldest two sons were abbots, but his son Raul would likely claim as eldest nephew of Stephen (unless one of his brothers renounced their holy orders) but Theobald's eldest son Henry would likely have pressed a claim like his father. And Matilda's son would still be pressing a claim. By choosing Matilda's son as heir, Stephen kept his throne and stopped a possible second civil war. Though he may have thought his son could still have a child.
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Old 01-06-2017, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Feologild View Post
1.Who do you think was the rightful heir to the English throne after the death of Henry I. His daughter Empress Matilda or his nephew Stephen ?

2.And do you think that Empress Matilda ever really had a chance to win the war against Stephen.

3.And would you say that Empress Matilda ended up as the winner in the end considering that it was her son who became King after Stephen ?

4.What do you think was the biggest mistake Empress Matilda made after the battle of Lincoln when she captured Stephen ? ( Well i guess it was her half brother Robert that captured him. )

5.Do you think that if it had not been for Stephens wife Matilda of Boulogne rising her army against Empress Matilda and taking her half brother Robert. And forcing Empress Matilda to trade King Stephen with Robert. That the Anarchy would have ended in a different way ?

1) Matilda

2) Yes I think she did.

3) Yes, who better than to see your son upon the Throne?

4) I think her biggest mistake was, reportedly, her dealings with the Londoners. She needed to hold that city.

5) I don't know...lots of things can be looked at after the fact and see 'if only' had happened then 'this' would of happened.


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Old 01-06-2017, 04:58 PM
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Definitely Matilda. Her loss was England's loss.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Feologild View Post
1.Who do you think was the rightful heir to the English throne after the death of Henry I. His daughter Empress Matilda or his nephew Stephen ?
Succession wasn't as solid as that during that era. Henry himself had an older brother (Richard, Duke of Normandy) alive when he became King. Richard was the eldest surviving child of William the Conqueror, but was passed over in the English succession in favour of second son, William II. Henry I seized the crown when William died.

Anglo-Saxon tradition did not allow for female inheritance, but I believe some of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms (I believe in particular Mercia) allowed for men to inherit through their wives and mothers; the idea being that if you married the daughter of a King who had no sons to succeed, then you or your sons might succeed.

This kind of idea is seen within the succession to some noble titles in Britain at the time as well.

At the same time, though, Matilda was named heir by her father, the King, and had his great council swear to recognize her as such.

So... it's really not as simple as one or the other was the right heir. Matilda was acknowledged as Henry's heir during his lifetime, but Stephan was able to use his position at the time of Henry's death and the culture and tradition of England to his advantage.

Quote:
2.And do you think that Empress Matilda ever really had a chance to win the war against Stephen.
Yes. The Anarchy lasted for 20 years before the peace negotiations. While it ended with Stephen on the throne, Matilda's son was recognized as his heir. A war doesn't last for 20 years if both sides don't have a chance.

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3.And would you say that Empress Matilda ended up as the winner in the end considering that it was her son who became King after Stephen ?
The Anarchy ended in stalemate. After 20 years of civil war and the death of his heir Stephen needed a solution... at least a temporary one. It's very possible that Stephen recognizing Henry as his heir (after Eustace's death) was just a move to allow for a temporary peace until a better solution came up - like the planned assassination of Henry.

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4.What do you think was the biggest mistake Empress Matilda made after the battle of Lincoln when she captured Stephen ? ( Well i guess it was her half brother Robert that captured him. )
The big mistake was that they captured Stephen. If he had died at the Battle of Lincoln they would have been done with it. But with him alive... their options were more limited, and executing him wasn't one of them.

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5.Do you think that if it had not been for Stephens wife Matilda of Boulogne rising her army against Empress Matilda and taking her half brother Robert. And forcing Empress Matilda to trade King Stephen with Robert. That the Anarchy would have ended in a different way ?
There are so many "what ifs"... so many turning points in the Anarchy that if done differently could have changed the course of the war. Heck, that's the reality of history. If Stephen hadn't been taken a prisoner after the battle, the Anarchy might have gone differently - it certainly would have ended differently had he been killed at the Battle of Lincoln instead of taken prisoner. Had Matilda of Boulogne not taken an army against Empress Matilda and captured Robert of Gloucester, the war likely would have ended differently. Had Eustace of Boulogne not died, had the assassination plot of Henry been successful... the whole thing may have gone differently had Matilda not been pregnant and on the Continent when her father died.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post
True, but unlike Theobald, William was never considered a candidate. He had been passed over for his fathers title in favor of Theobald. he was called William the simple and it is speculated he suffered from a mental illness/disability. It is known that he was forced to retire to his wife's lands due to erratic behaviour including physically attacking a bishop.

Stephen had only one who survived him, and neither of his grown sons had children. Only a daughter did but she had two girls. In reality, he was in a similar position to Henry I. If he has not agreed to make Matilda's son heir, it would have had to fall to a nephew and then once again there would be a fight over who had the best claim. One of the sons of his older brothers who were passed over for him to take the throne? Both William and Theobald had sons.

The death of Stephens son in 1159 would have seen the argument of the nephews. Williams eldest two sons were abbots, but his son Raul would likely claim as eldest nephew of Stephen (unless one of his brothers renounced their holy orders) but Theobald's eldest son Henry would likely have pressed a claim like his father. And Matilda's son would still be pressing a claim. By choosing Matilda's son as heir, Stephen kept his throne and stopped a possible second civil war. Though he may have thought his son could still have a child.
Stephen couldn't have known that his younger son would die so soon after Stephen himself, or without children for that matter. Stephen didn't even know he would die so soon after the treaty that named Henry as his heir.

Stephen's eldest son, Eustace, died in August, 1153. The Treaty of Winchester was signed in November that year, and Stephen died in October of the following year. Stephen very likely thought that he would live longer than 11 months after signing the treaty and that Henry's situation could very likely change well before Stephen's death.

If William (Stephen's younger son) had inherited the English throne a good number of possibilities could have happened. Henry would still be making a claim, and Stephen had a number of nephews - although I don't think there necessarily would have been a huge amount of in fighting there; possibly one of the sons of William of Sully (not, I think Raul or Henry, as they both took religious orders, but possibly third son Rudolph), and possibly one of the sons of Theobald of Blois (my bet would be third son Stephen of Sancerre). There was also Stephen's daughter, Marie, who became Countess of Boulogne upon her brother's death - an unlikely, but also interesting possibility. Marie became a nun during her father's reign and shortly after became Abbess of Romsey, but she was abducted from the abbey in 1160 by Matthew of Alsace, who forced her to marry him. It's actually reasonable to believe that had she been in a position to make a claim to the throne of England - or even better, have her husband make such a claim jure uxoris then Matthew, or someone like him, would have abducted her and tried to claim England.
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:11 PM
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And if we want to say women can't inherit, he didn't even have the best claim. He was not the eldest grandson of William. He had an older brother who did make a claim. If they were going to skip female heirs, Theobald had the far superior claim to his younger brother.
Skipping women in favour of their sons (or even husbands) was not uncommon.

Elder brothers inheriting "better" property and younger brothers inheriting "lesser" property was also a thing; William the Conqueror's eldest son, Robert, inherited Normandy (the then "better" title), and his second son, William, inherited England. Stephen's brother did similar with his sons; eldest son Henry inherited Champagne, second son, Theobald, inherited Blois, this son, Stephen, inherited Sanaccre, and fourth son went into the church. Henry II did the same; eldest son, Henry, was to inherit England, second son, Richard, Normandy, third son, Geoffrey, Brittany, and fourth son, John, got Ireland. Well.. that was Henry II's plan... but the sons and life had other plans (Henry, the Young King and Geoffrey both died during their father's lifetime, and Richard died without legitimate heirs).
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:25 PM
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I can only imagine what Eleanor of Aquitaine must of thought...having had so many children survive to adulthood to see all her sons but 1 pre-decease her....and IIRC at least 2 of her daughters pre-deceased her as well.




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Old 01-06-2017, 11:49 PM
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I can only imagine what Eleanor of Aquitaine must of thought...having had so many children survive to adulthood to see all her sons but 1 pre-decease her....and IIRC at least 2 of her daughters pre-deceased her as well.
That's a fair question...

Eleanor had 10 children, 9 of which survived to adulthood, and all but 2 (Eleanor of Castile and John of England) died before her. She also outlived a large number of the grandchildren that were born during her lifetime.
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Old 03-05-2017, 07:36 AM
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I can only imagine what Eleanor of Aquitaine must of thought...having had so many children survive to adulthood to see all her sons but 1 pre-decease her....and IIRC at least 2 of her daughters pre-deceased her as well.




LaRae
that IS sad, of course she lived to be very old by the standards of her day, but to lose so many children when they seemed healthy enough to surivive.
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