Matilda of England, Holy Roman Empress (1102-1167)
This Portrait of Empress Matilda is taken from the “History of England”, made by St. Albans monks in the 15th century. Matilda was the daughter and heir of King Henry I of England. Matilda and her younger brother, William Adelin, were the only legitimate children of King Henry to survive to adulthood. However, her brother’s death in the White Ship disaster in 1120 resulted in Matilda being her father’s sole heir.
Matilda was the first female ruler of the Kingdom of England, though the length of her effective rule was brief - a few months in 1141. Because she was never crowned, she is normally excluded from lists of English monarchs, and her rival (and cousin) Stephen of Blois is listed as monarch for the period from 1135 to 1154. She campaigned for her oldest son’s inheritance, living to see Henry II. ascend the throne of England in 1154.