Queen Changed Name from Edith to Matilda

Matilda of ScotlandHenry I, who ruled England from 1100 to 1135, was one of the sons of William the Conqueror, England’s first Norman king.

About two months after Henry was crowned king (on the interesting date 11/11/1100) he married one of the daughters of Malcolm III of Scotland and his Anglo-Saxon wife, Margaret.

Malcolm and Margaret’s daughter had been baptized with the Anglo-Saxon name Eadgyth [Edith], but when she was crowned Queen of England, she used the name Matilda.

From then on, she was known as either Matilda or Maud.

Why the name change?

Because “Matilda” was a name favored by the Normans. As historian Robert Bartlett put it, “A lot of people changed their names [following the Norman conquest] because they wanted to pass in polite society — they didn’t want to be mistaken for a peasant, marked out with an Anglo-Saxon name.”

In fact, Norman nobles liked to mock the couple by calling them Godric and Godiva, both of which are Anglo-Saxon names. “Godric and Godiva were the Jack and Jill of their period.”


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