This is the story of William the Conqueror. He made his mark in history by invading England in 1066. Who was the real William the Conqueror? The primary source records are scarce when it comes to William's history. When was William the Conqueror born? What were his motivations for invading England? He goes down in history as a brave man but was he that brave? What was he like? This docudrama is a dramatic retelling of William the Conqueror’s Story.
William the Conqueror grew up in Normandy in the court of his father Robert the Magnificent. The exact date of his birth is not known. His mother was a local girl, so he was called a bastard his whole life. Before Robert the Magnificent went off on a pilgrimage he had William crowned the Duke of Normandy in a grand ceremony. He was only seven years old. However, the nobles did not let him rule without a fight. They did not want to be ruled by a bastard.
His uncles tried to overthrow him and there was an assassination attempt. William was tipped off about the attempt and he fled on his horse. This story starts the beginning of the legend of William the Conqueror. He was young, brave, and strong. He was a bastard and a loner. He was capable of riding over long distances with killers at his heels. He fled to Falaise where he would shelter from his enemies.
He was a man who never doubted his legitimacy. His ancestors came from illegitimate marriages. So when his legitimacy was questioned, he would take action against them. At age 18 William took his first political action. He reached out to the King of France. Together they took down the rebel barons. William was able to prove his leadership during this battle. He took his rightful place as the Duke of Normandy after this battle.
After his marriage, he got married. He was faithful to his wife Matilda. She was the daughter of the Count of Flanders. Matilda was also a descendant of the Carolingian Dynasty, so this would provide additional legitimacy to William’s rule in Normandy. He was marrying into the highest royal line. William and Matilda were devoted to each other. William had no known mistress nor a known bastard while married to Matilda.
News of the marriage reached Rome where the Pope did not accept the marriage because they were cousins. However, William ignored the pope and married Matilda anyway. Together they built two great abbeys and this seemed to have assuaged the Pope. William was going to settle down into a provisional life…until Edward the Confessor, the King of England named William as his heir.
It was the first step in the Beaux Tapestry that was created. Edward the Confessor sent his half-brother Harold to Normandy. Together they went to war in Brittany and became friends. William made Harold swear over relics that Harold would back his claim to the throne of England. This oath was most likely sworn in the crypts of the Beaux Cathedral. Harold swore that after the death of Edward the Confessor, the King of England that he would hand over the kingdom to William.
Edward the Confessor died and on his death bed, he promised Harold that he would be King. The next day, Harold crowned himself King. William was not happy with Harold’s decisions. William immediately planned an invasion of England to take the English throne. Did Harold really go back on his word to William? The sources are scarce at best.
In the meantime, William was raising an army and the money to invade England. His men worked on building ships to prepare for the invasion. A comet was spotted in the sky before the invasion and William took it as a sign. Was it a sign of changing fortunes for William or for Harold? William moved his troops further north, waiting for more favorable weather to launch his invasion. The wind turned and the invasion of England was on. Would William emerge victorious? Tune into the rest of the episode to find out more.
When this popped up on my feed I was pleasantly surprised and had to do a review of this documentary. This one would be an excellent documentary for research purposes. I would show this documentary to a history class as well. The run time for this documentary is 51:39.
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