William II (1087-1100)

by on February 25th, 2011
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William was the third son of William of Normandy and Matilda he was born about in 1057. He had been deeply attached to his father even though his elder brother Robert rebelled William had never wavered in his loyalty to his father. After his eldest brother Richard died during a hunting accident in New Forest it had seem possible that he would take place as chief heir because of Robert remaining at the court of his father’s enemy, Philip of France. But customs got in the way and Robert was given the throne but remember this that the throne was for Normandy and William I gave William his newly acquired land, England. So that being said on September 26th 1087 he was crowned King at Westminster.

It was documented on what William’s appearance was like, he had fair hair, piercing eyes, a red face, and stout like his father and when excited he would stuttered. His reputation was simple as the success as a generous leader of soldiers his reputation was still low. Also unfortunately for him history of the time was written almost entirely by Monks and they happened to not like him nor did he respect them so it is his fault.

William feuded with church officials for most of his life but after everything blew over in 1100 he enjoyed the revenues of three bishoprics and twelve abbeys. But on April 2, 1100 at the height of his success he was strike down by an arrow at New Forest where his elder brother was killed. William never married and it’s not recorded that he had any woman companionship. He had no children so his young brother Henry I who was the fourth brother started his reign that same year.

William wasn’t the perfect ruler but there had been worse. It was said about him that he had royal magic even Eadmer, the Canterbury monk noted that, “the wind and the sea seemed to obey him. In war and in the acquisition of territory he enjoyed such success that you would think the whole world smiling up him.” (Fraser, The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England) Obviously William had power over the people but not like his famous father. Though his life is quite interesting to read and write about.


Antonia Fraser, The Lives of Kings and Queens of England

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