Monday, April 6, 2009

And Now for Your Monday Monarch Moment

William Rufus (1087-1100)

William Rufus is one of those historical figures whose most interesting feature is his death. The second most interesting thing is that his nickname was "Rufus" because he had red hair. Or blond hair but a red face, depending on who you ask. (See? Not that interesting.)

When William the Conqueror died, leaving behind three surviving sons, he decided to give some stuff to each of them. The oldest one got Normandy, the middle one (Rufus) got England, and the last one got a whole bunch of money. Hint: if you ever become an absolute ruler, do not do this. Sons 1 and 2 spent the rest of their time trying to reunite their father's kingdom (each under his own rule, of course), which resulted in lots of fighting, nobles picking sides, attempted rebellion by Bishop Odo, etc.

Bishop Odo?
But remember Son #3?

King William II died in suspicious circumstances while out hunting in August 1100. The official story is that the king and his friends were taking their pleasure in the New Forest, Hampshire . . . when the fateful arrow was loosed by William's friend, Walter Tirel. The arrow struck William in the chest and he died at once. However, suspicion is inevitable that William's brother Henry, who was in the party and who subsequently became king, was somehow involved in the 'accident'. Henry rode at once to Winchester, where he secured the royal treasury, then proceeded to London to have himself elected king by the ruling council. Crucially, the 'accident' happened when the rightful heir, [Son #1], was away on the First Crusade and Tirel himself was never punished.
Charles Phillips, Kings and Queens of Britain

Assassinated with an arrow by an agent of your usurping brother? That's classic.

And this has been your Monday Monarch Moment.


aggieonboard said...

I don't want you to be discouraged by the lack of comments on this post. I want to make sure you know that I appreciate Monarch Moments.

Rachel said...

Thank you!