Matilda by Tracy Borman
Matilda by Tracy Borman – Wife of the Conqueror, First Queen of England. It’s not the first book I read by Tracy Borman and surely it will not be the last. Soon I’m getting another one of her books from the library, because I like her style and, of course, history.
I’ve read or I should say listened from an audiobook by Alison Weir, Queens of the Conquest, so I knew something about her, although I can’t say I particularly enjoyed that audiobook. Matilda was the wife of William the Conqueror. She was also the first woman to be crowned Queen of England with the power to rule and being recognised by her subjects. She was not just a vessel for heirs, but a Queen that had the power to grant charters.
In the biography, Borman shares a lot of information regarding Matilda, including some stories that are obviously not true and she, of course, says that. For example, the rough wooing, written a couple of centuries after Matilda and William got married.
Matilda was very important to legitimize William’s rule, as her pedigree was impeccable. She also had a tremendous impact in the way he ruled, influencing him while she was alive, the difference being noticeable after her death. William was known to be a fierce fighter and this is why he was able to conquer new territories, including the most important of all: England. Matilda was the one left to rule in his place when he was at war even when his heir, Robert, was old enough to be able to rule with advisors or on his own. That shows how much trust William had in her and how she was able to make the others listen to her.
She was loyal to William for decades, but ended up betraying him to help her favourite son. William loved Matilda a lot, declaring that publicly, and in the end he forgave her. He was unconsolable after her death, four years before his. Her legacy was important, as her son, Henry I, trusted so much the abilities of women, that wanted his daughter, called Matilda as well, to rule as a Queen, and named her as his heir, after his son died on the White ship.
Matilda by Tracy Borman
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My rating: 5/5 Stars.
Would I recommend it: Yes
Published by: Jonathan Cape London
Year it was published: 2011
About the author: Tracey Borman is a historian and author from Scothern, United Kingdom. Tracy Borman both studied and taught history at the University of Hull. She was awarded a PHD in 1997. She has a successful career in heritage, working with well known national heritage organisations, like the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage. Now she is Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust, a charity that encourages children to visit historic properties.
She is also joint Chief Curator for Historic Royal Palaces.
Other books by her (links to books I’ve reviewed): Henrietta Howard: King’s Mistress, Queen’s Servant; Elizabeth’s Women: Friends, Rivals, and Foes Who Shaped the Virgin Queen; The Private Lives of the Tudors; Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant; Witches, a tale of Scandal, Sorcery and Seduction; Henry VIII and the men who made him: The secret history behind the Tudor throne; The Story of the Tower of London; A really useful guide to the Georgians.
Website & Social Media Links: tracyborman