In the Middle Ages, the Duke of Normandy was the ruler of the Duchy of Normandy in north-western France. The duchy arose out of a grant of land to the Viking leader Rollo by the French king Charles III in 911. In 924 and again in 933, Normandy was expanded by royal grant. Rollo's male-line descendants continued to rule it down to 1135. In 1202 the French king Philip II declared Normandy a forfeited fief and by 1204 his army had conquered it. It remained a French royal province thereafter, still called the Duchy of Normandy, but only occasionally granted to a duke of the royal house as an apanage.
There is no record of Rollo holding or using any title. His son and grandson, William I and Richard I, used the titles "count" (Latin comes or consul) and "prince" (princeps). Prior to 1066, the most common title of the ruler of Normandy was "Count of Normandy" (comes Normanniae) or "Count of the Normans" (comes Normannorum). The title Count of Rouen (comes Rotomagensis) was never used in any official document, but it was used of William I and his son by the anonymous author of a lament (planctus) on his death. Defying Norman pretensions to the ducal title, Adhemar of Chabannes was still referring to the Norman ruler as "Count of Rouen" as late as the 1020s. In the 12th century, the Icelandic historian Ari Thorgilsson in his Landnámabók referred to Rollo as Ruðu jarl (earl of Rouen), the only attested form in Old Norse, although too late to be evidence for 10th-century practice. The late 11th-century Norman historian William of Poitiers used the title "Count of Rouen" for the Norman rulers down to Richard II. Although references to the Norman rulers as counts of Rouen are relatively sparse and confined to narrative sources, there is a lack of documentary evidence about Norman titles before the late 10th century.
The first recorded use of the title duke (dux) is in an act in favour of the Abbey of Fécamp in 1006 by Richard II. Earlier, the writer Richer of Reims had called Richard I a dux pyratorum, but which only means "leader of pirates" and was not a title. During the reign of Richard II, the French king's chancery began to call the Norman ruler "Duke of the Normans" (dux Normannorum) for the first time. As late as the reign of William II (1035–87), the ruler of Normandy could style himself "prince and duke, count of Normandy" as if unsure what his title should be. The literal Latin equivalent of "Duke of Normandy", dux Normanniae, was in use by 1066, but it did not supplant dux Normannorum until the Angevin period (1144–1204), at a time when Norman identity was fading.
Richard I experimented with the title "marquis" (marchio) as early as 966, when it was also used in a diploma of King Lothair. Richard II occasionally used it, but he seems to have preferred the title duke. It is his preference for the ducal title in his own charters that has led historians to believe that it was the chosen title of the Norman rulers. Certainly it was not granted to them by the French king. In the twelfth century, the Abbey of Fécamp spread the legend that it had been granted to Richard II by Pope Benedict VIII (ruled 1012–24). The French chancery did not regularly employ it until after 1204, when the duchy had been seized by the crown and Normandy lost its autonomy and its native rulers.
The actual reason for the adoption of a higher title than that of count was that the rulers of Normandy began to grant the comital title to members of their own family. The creation of Norman counts subject to the ruler of Normandy necessitated the latter taking a higher title. The same process was at work in other principalities of France in the eleventh century, as the comital title came into wider use and thus depreciated. The Normans nevertheless kept the title of count for the ducal family and no non-family member was granted a county until Helias of Saint-Saens was made Count of Arques by Henry I in 1106.
From 1066, when William II conquered England, becoming King William I, the title Duke of Normandy was often held by the King of England. In 1087, William died and the title passed to his eldest son, Robert Curthose, while his second surviving son, William Rufus, inherited England. In 1096, Robert mortgaged Normandy to William, who was succeeded by another brother, Henry I, in 1100. In 1106, Henry conquered Normandy. It remained with the King of England down to 1144, when, during the civil war known as the Anarchy, it was conquered by Geoffrey Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou. Geoffrey's son, Henry II, inherited Normandy (1150) and then England (1154), reuniting the two titles. In 1202, King Philip II of France, as feudal suzerain, declared Normandy forfeit and by 1204 his armies had conquered it. Henry III finally renounced the English claim in the Treaty of Paris (1259).
Thereafter, the duchy formed an integral part of the French royal demesne. The kings of the House of Valois started a tradition of granting the title to their heirs apparent. The title was granted four times (1332, 1350, 1465, 1785) between the French conquest of Normandy and the dissolution of the French monarchy in 1792. The French Revolution brought an end to the Duchy of Normandy as a political entity, by then a province of France, and it was replaced by several départements.
In 1204, the King of France confiscated the Duchy of Normandy (with only the Channel Islands remaining under English control) and subsumed it into the crown lands of France. Thereafter, the ducal title was held by several French princes.
In 1332, King Philip VI gave the Duchy in appanage to his son John, who became king John II of France in 1350. He in turn gave the Duchy in appanage to his son Charles, who became king Charles V of France in 1364. In 1465, Louis XI, under constraint, gave the Duchy to his brother Charles de Valois, Duke of Berry. Charles was unable to hold the Duchy and in 1466 it was again subsumed into the crown lands and remained a permanent part of them. The title was conferred on a few junior members of the French royal family before the abolition of the French monarchy in 1792.
In the Channel Islands, the British monarch is known as the "Duke of Normandy", notwithstanding the fact that the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth, is a woman. The Islands owe allegiance to her in her role as their duke. The Channel Islands are the last remaining part of the former Duchy of Normandy to remain under the rule of the British monarch. Although the English monarchy relinquished claims to continental Normandy and other French claims in 1259 (in the Treaty of Paris), the Channel Islands (except for Chausey under French sovereignty) remain Crown dependencies of the British throne. The British historian Ben Pimlott noted that while Queen Elizabeth II was on a visit to mainland Normandy in May 1967, French locals began to doff their hats and shout "Vive la Duchesse!", to which the Queen supposedly replied "Well, I am The Duke of Normandy!". Both Channel Islands legislatures refer to Elizabeth II in writing as "The Queen in the right of Jersey" or "The Queen in the right of Guernsey" respectively. However, the Queen is referred to as "The Duke of Normandy", the title used by the islanders, especially during their loyal toast, where they say, "The Duke of Normandy, our Queen", or The Queen, our Duke" or, in French "La Reine, notre Duc", rather than simply "The Queen", as is the practice in the United Kingdom.
A statue of the first seven dukes was erected in Falaise in the 19th century.
Alan III of Rennes (997–1 October 1040) (French: Alain III de Bretagne) was Count of Rennes and duke of Brittany, by right of succession from 1008 to his death.Charles, Duke of Berry (1446–1472)
Charles (French: Charles de France; 26 December 1446 – 24 May 1472), Duke of Berry, later Duke of Normandy and Duke of Aquitaine, was a son of Charles VII, King of France. He spent most of his life in conflict with his elder brother, King Louis XI.Duchy of Normandy
The Duchy of Normandy grew out of the 911 Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between King Charles III of West Francia and Rollo, leader of the Vikings. The duchy was named for its inhabitants, the Normans.
From 1066 until 1204 it was held by the kings of England, except for the brief rule of Robert Curthose (1087–1106), eldest son of William the Conqueror but unsuccessful claimant to the English throne; and Geoffrey Plantagenet (1144–1150), husband of Empress Matilda and father of Henry II.
In 1202, Philip II of France declared Normandy forfeit to him and seized it by force of arms in 1204. It remained disputed territory until the Treaty of Paris of 1259, when the English sovereign ceded his claim except for the Channel Islands; i.e., the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey, and their dependencies (including Sark).
In the Kingdom of France, the duchy was occasionally set apart as an apanage to be ruled by a member of the royal family. After 1469, however, it was permanently united to the royal domain, although the title was occasionally conferred as an honorific upon junior members of the royal family. The last French duke of Normandy in this sense was Louis-Charles, duke from 1785 to 1789.Duke of Normandy (pigeon)
Duke of Normandy (pigeon number NURP 41 SBC 219) was a pigeon who received the Dickin Medal in 1947 from the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals for bravery in service during the Second World War. Duke of Normandy was the first bird to arrive back with a message from the paratroops of 21st Army Group on D-Day (6 June 1944) after the capture of a gun battery at Merville.Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou
Geoffrey V (24 August 1113 – 7 September 1151)—called the Handsome or the Fair (French: le Bel) and Plantagenet—was the Count of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine by inheritance from 1129 and then Duke of Normandy by conquest from 1144. By his marriage to the Empress Matilda, daughter and heiress of Henry I of England, Geoffrey had a son, Henry Curtmantle, who succeeded to the English throne as King Henry II (1154–1189) and was the first of the Plantagenet dynasty to rule England; the name "Plantagenet" was taken from Geoffrey's epithet. His ancestral domain of Anjou gave rise to the name Angevin for three kings of England (Henry II his son and heir, and Henry's sons Richard and John), and what became known as the Angevin Empire in the 12th century.Henry II of England
Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (French: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Count of Anjou, Maine, and Nantes, and Lord of Ireland; at various times, he also partially controlled Scotland, Wales and the Duchy of Brittany. Before he was 40 he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France—an area that would later come to be called the Angevin Empire.
Henry was the son of Geoffrey of Anjou and Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England. He became actively involved by the age of 14 in his mother's efforts to claim the throne of England, then occupied by Stephen of Blois, and was made Duke of Normandy at 17. He inherited Anjou in 1151 and shortly afterwards became the Duke of Aquitaine by marrying Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Louis VII of France had recently been annulled. Stephen agreed to a peace treaty after Henry's military expedition to England in 1153, and Henry inherited the kingdom on Stephen's death a year later. Henry was an energetic and sometimes ruthless ruler, driven by a desire to restore the lands and privileges of his grandfather Henry I. During the early years of his reign the younger Henry restored the royal administration in England, re-established hegemony over Wales and gained full control over his lands in Anjou, Maine and Touraine. Henry's desire to reform the relationship with the Church led to conflict with his former friend Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This controversy lasted for much of the 1160s and resulted in Becket's murder in 1170. Henry soon came into conflict with Louis VII and the two rulers fought what has been termed a "cold war" over several decades. Henry expanded his empire, often at Louis' expense, taking Brittany and pushing east into central France and south into Toulouse; despite numerous peace conferences and treaties, no lasting agreement was reached.
Henry and Eleanor had eight children – three daughters and five sons. Three of his sons would be king, though Henry the Young King was named his father's co-ruler rather than a stand-alone king. As the sons grew up, tensions over the future inheritance of the empire began to emerge, encouraged by Louis and his son King Philip II. In 1173 Henry's heir apparent, "Young Henry", rebelled in protest; he was joined by his brothers Richard (later a king) and Geoffrey and by their mother, Eleanor. France, Scotland, Brittany, Flanders, and Boulogne allied themselves with the rebels. The Great Revolt was only defeated by Henry's vigorous military action and talented local commanders, many of them "new men" appointed for their loyalty and administrative skills. Young Henry and Geoffrey revolted again in 1183, resulting in Young Henry's death. The Norman invasion of Ireland provided lands for his youngest son John (later a king), but Henry struggled to find ways to satisfy all his sons' desires for land and immediate power. By 1189, Young Henry and Geoffrey were dead, and Philip successfully played on Richard's fears that Henry II would make John king, leading to a final rebellion. Decisively defeated by Philip and Richard and suffering from a bleeding ulcer, Henry retreated to Chinon castle in Anjou. He died soon afterwards and was succeeded by Richard.
Henry's empire quickly collapsed during the reign of his youngest son, John. Many of the changes Henry introduced during his long rule, however, had long-term consequences. Henry's legal changes are generally considered to have laid the basis for the English Common Law, while his intervention in Brittany, Wales, and Scotland shaped the development of their societies and governmental systems. Historical interpretations of Henry's reign have changed considerably over time. In the 18th century, scholars argued that Henry was a driving force in the creation of a genuinely English monarchy and, ultimately, a unified Britain. During the Victorian expansion of the British Empire, historians were keenly interested in the formation of Henry's own empire, but they also expressed concern over his private life and treatment of Becket. Late-20th-century historians have combined British and French historical accounts of Henry, challenging earlier Anglocentric interpretations of his reign.House of Normandy
The House of Normandy is the usual designation for the family that were the Counts of Rouen, Dukes of Normandy and Kings of England which immediately followed the Norman conquest of England and lasted until the House of Plantagenet came to power in 1154. It included the Viking Rollo and his descendants, and William the Conqueror and his heirs down through 1135. After that it was disputed between William's grandchildren, Matilda, whose husband Geoffrey was the founder of the Angevin Dynasty, and Stephen of the House of Blois (or Blesevin dynasty).
The Norman counts of Rouen were:
William Longsword, 927–942The Norman dukes of Normandy were:
Richard I, 942–996
Richard II, 996–1027
Richard III, 1026–1027
Robert I, 1027–1035
William, 1035–1066 (became King of England as William the Conqueror)The Norman monarchs of England and Normandy were:
William the Conqueror, 1066–1087
William II, 1087–1100 (not Duke of Normandy)
Robert II, 1087–1106 (not King of England)
Henry I, 1100–1135; 1106–1135
William Adelin, 1120 (not King of England)
Stephen (non-agnatic; a member of the House of Blois), 1135–1154Norman Count of Flanders:
William Clito (r. 1127–1128), son of Robert Curthose, great-grandson of Baldwin V, designated by Louis VI of FranceJudith of Brittany
Judith of Brittany, also called Judith of Rennes (982–1017), was Duchess of Normandy from c. 1000 until her death.Richard II, Duke of Normandy
Richard II (unknown – 28 August 1026), called the Good (French: Le Bon), was the eldest son and heir of Richard I the Fearless and Gunnora. He was a Norman nobleman of the House of Normandy. He was the paternal grandfather of William the Conqueror.Richard III, Duke of Normandy
Richard III (997/1001 – 6 August 1027) was the Duke of Normandy who reigned from August 1026 to his death. His brief reign opened with a revolt by his brother.Richard I of Normandy
Richard I (28 August 932 – 20 November 996), also known as Richard the Fearless (French: Richard Sans-Peur; Old Norse: Jarl Richart), was the Count of Rouen or Jarl of Rouen from 942 to 996. Dudo of Saint-Quentin, whom Richard commissioned to write the "De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum" (Latin, "On the Customs and Deeds of the First Dukes of Normandy"), called him a Dux. However, this use of the word may have been in the context of Richard's renowned leadership in war, and not as a reference to a title of nobility. Richard either introduced feudalism into Normandy or he greatly expanded it. By the end of his reign, the most important Norman landholders held their lands in feudal tenure.Robert Curthose
Robert Curthose (c. 1051 – 3 February 1134), sometimes called Robert II, succeeded his father, William the Conqueror as Duke of Normandy in 1087 and reigned until 1106. Robert was also an unsuccessful claimant to the throne of the Kingdom of England. The epithet "Curthose" had its origins in the Norman French word courtheuse "short stockings" and was apparently derived from a nickname given to Robert by his father; the chroniclers William of Malmesbury and Orderic Vitalis reported that William the Conqueror had derisively called Robert brevis-ocrea ("short boot").
The eldest son of William the Conqueror, Robert's reign as duke is noted for the discord with his brothers William II and Henry I in England. Robert mortgaged his duchy to finance his participation in the First Crusade, where he was an important crusader commander. Eventually, his disagreements with Henry I led to his death in captivity and the absorption of Normandy as a possession of England.Robert I, Duke of Normandy
Robert the Magnificent (French: le Magnifique; 22 June 1000 – 1–3 July 1035), was the Duke of Normandy from 1027 until his death in 1035.
Owing to uncertainty over the numbering of the Dukes of Normandy he is usually called Robert I, but sometimes Robert II with his ancestor Rollo as Robert I. He was the son of Richard II and brother of Richard III, who preceded him as the Duke. Less than a year after his father's death, Robert revolted against his brother's rule, but failed. He would later inherit Normandy after his brother's death. He was succeeded by his illegitimate son, William the Conqueror who became the first Norman king of England in 1066, following the Norman conquest of England.Rollo
Rollo or Gaange Rolf (Norman: Rou; Old Norse: Hrólfr; French: Rollon; c. 860 – c. 930 AD) was a Viking who became the first ruler of Normandy, a region of France. He is sometimes called the first Duke of Normandy. His son and grandson, William Longsword and Richard I, used the titles "count" (Latin comes or consul) and "prince" (princeps). His great-grandson Richard II was the first to officially use the title of Duke of Normandy. His Scandinavian name Rolf was extended to Gaange Rolf because he became too heavy as an adult for a horse to carry, therefore he had to walk ("gaa" in older Dano-Norwegian). Rollo emerged as the outstanding personality among the Norsemen who had secured a permanent foothold on Frankish soil in the valley of the lower Seine. Charles the Simple, the king of West Francia, ceded them lands between the mouth of the Seine and what is now Rouen in exchange for Rollo agreeing to end his brigandage, and provide the Franks with protection against future Viking raids.Rollo is first recorded as the leader of these Viking settlers in a charter of 918, and he continued to reign over the region of Normandy until at least 928. He was succeeded by his son, William Longsword in the Duchy of Normandy that he had founded. The offspring of Rollo and his followers became known as the Normans. After the Norman conquest of England and their conquest of southern Italy and Sicily over the following two centuries, their descendants came to rule Norman England (the House of Normandy), the Kingdom of Sicily (the Kings of Sicily) as well as the Principality of Antioch from the 10th to 12th century, leaving behind an enduring legacy in the histories of Europe and the Near East.Rollo Duke of Normandy
Rollo Duke of Normandy, also known as The Bloody Brother, is a play written in collaboration by John Fletcher, Philip Massinger, Ben Jonson, and George Chapman. The title character is the historical Viking duke of Normandy, Rollo (lived 846-c.931). Scholars have disputed almost everything about the play; but it was probably written sometime in the 1612–24 era and later revised, perhaps in 1630 or after. In addition to the four writers cited above, the names of Nathan Field and Robert Daborne have been connected with the play by individual scholars.Sprota
Sprota was the name of a Breton captive who William I, Duke of Normandy took as a wife in the Viking fashion (more danico) and by her had a son, Richard I, Duke of Normandy. After the death of her husband William, she became the wife of Esperleng and mother of Rodulf of Ivry.William Adelin
William Ætheling (Old English: [ˈwiɫiɑm ˈæðeliŋg]; 5 August 1103 – 25 November 1120), commonly called Adelin, sometimes Adelinus, Adelingus, A(u)delin or other Latinised Norman-French variants of Ætheling, was the son of Henry I of England by his wife Matilda of Scotland, and was thus heir apparent to the throne. His early death without issue caused a succession crisis, known in history as the Anarchy.William Longsword
William Longsword (French: Guillaume Longue-Épée, Latin: Willermus Longa Spata, Old Norse: Vilhjálmr Langaspjót; c. 893 – 17 December 942) was the second ruler of Normandy, from 927 until his assassination in 942.He is sometimes anachronistically dubbed "Duke of Normandy", even though the title duke (dux) did not come into common usage until the 11th century. Longsword was known at the time by the title Count (Latin comes) of Rouen.Flodoard—always detailed about titles—consistently referred to both Rollo and his son William as principes (chieftains) of the Norse.William the Conqueror
William I (c. 1028 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. A descendant of Rollo, he was Duke of Normandy from 1035 onward. After a long struggle to establish his power, by 1060 his hold on Normandy was secure, and he launched the Norman conquest of England six years later. The rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands and by difficulties with his eldest son.
William was the son of the unmarried Robert I, Duke of Normandy, by Robert's mistress Herleva. His illegitimate status and his youth caused some difficulties for him after he succeeded his father, as did the anarchy that plagued the first years of his rule. During his childhood and adolescence, members of the Norman aristocracy battled each other, both for control of the child duke and for their own ends. In 1047 William was able to quash a rebellion and begin to establish his authority over the duchy, a process that was not complete until about 1060. His marriage in the 1050s to Matilda of Flanders provided him with a powerful ally in the neighbouring county of Flanders. By the time of his marriage, William was able to arrange the appointment of his supporters as bishops and abbots in the Norman church. His consolidation of power allowed him to expand his horizons, and by 1062 William secured control of the neighbouring county of Maine.
In the 1050s and early 1060s William became a contender for the throne of England, then held by the childless Edward the Confessor, his first cousin once removed. There were other potential claimants, including the powerful English earl Harold Godwinson, who was named the next king by Edward on the latter's deathbed in January 1066. William argued that Edward had previously promised the throne to him and that Harold had sworn to support William's claim. William built a large fleet and invaded England in September 1066, decisively defeating and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. After further military efforts William was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066, in London. He made arrangements for the governance of England in early 1067 before returning to Normandy. Several unsuccessful rebellions followed, and by 1075 William's hold on England was mostly secure, allowing him to spend the majority of the rest of his reign on the continent.
William's final years were marked by difficulties in his continental domains, troubles with his eldest son, and threatened invasions of England by the Danes. In 1086 William ordered the compilation of the Domesday Book, a survey listing all the landholdings in England along with their pre-Conquest and current holders. William died in September 1087 while leading a campaign in northern France, and was buried in Caen. His reign in England was marked by the construction of castles, the settling of a new Norman nobility on the land, and change in the composition of the English clergy. He did not try to integrate his various domains into one empire but instead continued to administer each part separately. William's lands were divided after his death: Normandy went to his eldest son, Robert Curthose, and his second surviving son, William Rufus, received England.