Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tuesday Royal Book Review...
I finished The Bastard King by Jean Plaidy and loved it. I am a big fan of hers anyway and this book certainly lived up to her reputation. I have always been fascinated with William I mainly because I descend directly from him no less than 7 or 8 times. This is nothing unusual, he had a lot of children and they had a lot children. Multiply that by 23 generations and you are talking millions of descendants. Nevertheless his story is amazing anyway, because it changed England forever.
William's father Robert the Magnificent, the Duke of Normandy was out riding one day and saw this fair maid washing her clothes in the river. He was simply dumb struck at her beauty. He made inquiries and found out she was the local tanner's daughter. He sent his "boys" out to bring her to him in secret by night. She refused and said if he wants me, have him send me a nice horse and body guard to take me in full view across the castle bridge to him. I'm not going in the back way as some local whore. She had nerve, Robert was not known for his patience. He did as she requested and as they say "the rest is history".
As a result of their love affair, Arlette had two children William and his sister. The Duke loved Arlette, but never married her. He decided to go off to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage to purge his sins and left William as the new Duke of Normandy. William was only 7 years old. William was serious about being Duke and he learned very well the art of warfare, chivalry and government. He prided himself in being a strict but fair ruler.
He married Matilda of Flanders and had 9 children. Matilda was his number one fan and supported him in all his campaigns. He had his eye on the greatest prize, England. His father had failed to conquer England. England was considered the beautiful jewel to obtain. The country side, fertile fields and forests to hunt were very sought after by many nations. William was determined to conquer and rule. He did at a great cost. The Battle of Hastings changed England forever. William was Duke of Normandy, and William I of England. He conquered England with great destruction, but rebuilt her better than before. He brought a united rule to England, built castles, abbeys, and universities. He was a rich man and he invested heavily in the beautification of England.
He became known as the Conqueror throughout Europe because he never lost a battle. He could not be defeated. He was larger than life, however; his life was plagued with betrayal, death, and sorrow. He lost his beloved son, was hated by his other son and betrayed by friends. He had more enemies than friends. He often referred to David in the Old Testament "Live by the sword, die by the sword".
This has been the most enlightening insight into his life. Jean Plaidy makes it a very personal view. William and Matilda are easy to love and hate. I came away from reading this book very emotionally touched.
I give it a ***** review!