Stephen and Matilda, rivals for the crown of England, (1932). Stephen (1096-1154), the last Norman King of England, reigned from 1135 to 1154. He supported the claim to the throne of Matilda (1102-1167), the daughter of Henry I, before usurping her when Henry died in 1135 and claiming the throne for himself. England descended into a period of civil war. Stephen was captured after he was defeated by Matilda's army at the Battle of Lincoln in 1141 but was freed in an exchange for the captive Robert, Earl of Gloucester, Matilda's most able lieutenant. Matilda's time on the throne was brief, as a rebellion forced her to flee London. Stephen regained the throne and Matilda was besieged in Oxford, but escaped to Wallingford, camouflaged against the snow by wearing a white cloak. The conflict dragged on until 1148 when Matilda returned to France after the Earl of Gloucester died. Eventually, in 1154, her son was crowned king as Henry II after Stephen died. From Kings and Queens by Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon, 1932.
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