William the Conquer

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  • Early Life
  • Early Life
  • William would be my heir after I die.
  • Duke of Normandy
  • He shouldn't be the Duke of Normandy!
  • We'll help you!
  • William was born in 1028 in the city of Falaise which was part of the Duchy of Normandy. His father was the powerful Robert I, Duke of Normandy, but his mother was the daughter of a local tanner. His parents weren't married, making William an illegitimate child.
  • Duke of Normandy
  • We must defeat my cousin,Guy of Burgundy!
  • Despite being an illegitimate child, William grew up and was raised as the future Duke of Normandy. When William was seven years old, his father decided to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Since William was his only son, Robert assembled his nobles and had them swear that William would be his heir should he die. When Robert died on his return trip from Jerusalem, William was made Duke of Normandy.
  • Marriage
  • William was crowned Duke of Normandy in 1035. Because he was only seven years old and an illegitimate child, many people challenged his right to rule as Duke. Over the next several years there were many attempts on William's life. For a time his great-uncle, the Archbishop Robert, looked after William. After the archbishop died, it was mostly King Henry I of France's support that helped William to keep his title.
  • Invading England
  • It was when William was older, around twenty, that he nearly lost the title to his cousin, Guy of Burgundy. Guy had gathered the support of a number of nobles and formed an army to defeat William. William met Guy at the Battle of Val-es-Dunes in 1047. There he defeated Guy and began to establish his control over Normandy.Over the next few years William would consolidate power across the region of Normandy. He fought down a revolt led by Geoffrey Martel (who would later be his ally) and by 1060 had firm control of Normandy.
  • In 1050 William married Matilda of Flanders. This was a political marriage that allied William with the powerful duchy of Flanders. Matilda and William would have four sons and five daughters, but only seven survived.
  • The King of England, Edward the Confessor, died in 1066. He did not leave any heirs to the throne, but William was related to the king through Edward's uncle, Richard II. William also claimed that Edward had promised him the crown. However, there were other men who also claimed the crown of England. One of them was the most powerful noble in England at the time, Harold Godwinson. The people of England wanted Harold to be king and crowned him King Harold II on January 6, 1066, the day after King Edward died. Another man who claimed the English throne was King Hardrada of Norway.
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