The information I have relates mostly to Matilda/Edith as her husband’s loyal regent during his frequent trips to Normandy. I have also found references to her good works, an interest in architecture and Henry’s apparent fondness for her despite his numerous mistresses and at least 22 illegitimate children, not all of them from before his marriage.

Kings having mistresses and illegitimate children was nothing unusual in medieval times, but Henry outdid even the Merry Monarch Charles II. Matilda/Edith certainly knew about most of this before she married him. Am I right in assuming that she simply accepted her husband’s philandering despite (probably) a lot of gossip behind her back?

Finally, I believe that the children were looked after by relatives and trusted servants but, although there are a number of references in the chronicles about the relationship between Henry and his children, I can’t find anything about Matilda/Edith as a parent. Do we know anything about her as a mother?

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    As far as I remember, you've pretty much covered everything written about her in the chronicles in your question. Aug 30, 2017 at 17:41
  • That's useful to know as I want to be thorough, but also frustrating as there are so many unanswered (unanswerable?) questions. Aug 31, 2017 at 0:39
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    Sadly, that is often the case. We only know what the chroniclers chose to write down. Aug 31, 2017 at 3:48

1 Answer 1


I wrote a biographical study of Matilda of Scotland some years back, and in that book I discuss all the evidence from the primary sources about Matilda's relationship with her son and her role in raising and educating her children. There isn't that much that can be known, but there are a few mentions of her doing things like taking William to visit Merton Priory, hoping that his happy memories of playing there as a child would induce him to be a lifelong patron.

In another article I wrote, "Public Lives, Private Ties: Royal Mothers in England and Scotland, 1070-1204" (Published in Medieval Mothering, Routeldge, 1996, pp295-312), I discuss Matilda as a mother along with her own mother Queen Margaret, and other royal mothers of the era.

  • Thanks for this. I came across the Merton Priory reference also, and a few instances where documents were witnessed by both Matilda and William, but other than these there doesn't seem to be anything else. This is evidence of them being together at certain times but says little (if anything) else. I was hoping for a few other 'tidbits' but I guess there aren't any. Dec 28, 2017 at 9:10

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