MATILDA OF FLANDERS
Matilda of Flanders was born around 1031 and died on 2 November 1083. She was the wife of William the Conqueror and, as such, Queen of England. She bore William nine or ten children who survived to adulthood, including two kings, William II and Henry I. As a niece and granddaughter of kings of France, Matilda was of grander birth than William, who was illegitimate, and, according to some suspiciously romantic tales, she initially refused his proposal on this account. Her descent from the Anglo-Saxon royal House of Wessex was also to become a useful card. Like many royal marriages of the period, it breached the rules of consanguinity, then at their most restrictive. She was about 20 when they married in 1051/2; William was some three years older, and had been Duke of Normandy since he was about eight.
The marriage appears to have been successful, and William is not recorded to have had any bastards. Matilda was about 35, and had already produced most of her children, when William embarked on the Norman conquest of England, sailing in his flagship Mora, which Matilda had given him. Matilda was crowned queen on 11 May 1068 in Westminster during the feast of Pentecost, in a ceremony presided over by the archbishop of York. She governed the Duchy of Normandy in his absence, joining him in England only after more than a year, and subsequently returning to Normandy, where she spent most of the remainder of her life, while William was mostly in his new kingdom. She was about 51 when she died in Normandy in 1083.
Apart from governing Normandy and supporting her brother’s interests in Flanders, Matilda took a close interest in the education of her children, who were unusually well educated for contemporary royalty. The boys were tutored by the Italian Lanfranc, who was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1070, while the girls learned Latin in Sainte-Trinité Abbey in Caen, founded by William and Matilda as part of the papal dispensation allowing their marriage. (Source: Wikipedia)