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Matilda of England, Duchess of Saxony

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Title: Matilda of England, Duchess of Saxony  
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Subject: Henry II of England, Richard I of England, List of consorts of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Braunschweig, Rudolf I, Duke of Bavaria
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Matilda of England, Duchess of Saxony


Matilda of England (also called Maud; 1156 – 28 June 1189) was the eldest daughter of King Henry II of England and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Through her marriage with Henry the Lion, she was Duchess of Saxony and of Bavaria.

Early life

Matilda was a younger maternal half-sister of Countess Marie and Alix of France. Henry the Young was her older brother. She was also an older sister of King Richard, Duke Geoffrey, Queen Eleanor, Queen Joan and Prince John. Matilda seems to have spent much of her early life in the company of her mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was named after her paternal grandmother.

Marriage

In 1165 Rainald of Dassel, Archbishop of Cologne, arrived at the court of King Henry II at Rouen, to negotiate a German match for Matilda. There was conflict during the negotiations, however, when Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester refused to greet the archbishop, alleging him to be a schismatic and a supporter of the anti-pope, Victor IV. The original plan to match a daughter of Henry II with a son of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor, was abandoned, and instead Matilda left England in September 1167 to marry Henry the Lion.

Coronation of Henry the Lion and Matilda, from an idealized portrait on their tomb.

She married Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, on 1 February 1168 at Minden Cathedral. They had four sons and one daughter:

Three other children are listed, by some sources, as having belonged to Henry and Matilda:

  • Eleanor (born 1178); died young
  • Ingibiorg (born 1180); died young
  • Son (stillborn 1182)

Regency and exile

At the time of their marriage, Henry the Lion was one of the most powerful allies of Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor. Matilda governed her husband's vast estates during his absence in the Holy Land from 1172 to 1173. In 1174, Henry the

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