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the First Crusade

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Rachel Dearth
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« Reply #150 on: March 02, 2009, 05:30:13 am »

At Easter 1080 father and son were reunited by the efforts of Queen Matilda, and a truce lasted until she died in 1083. Robert seems to have left court soon after the death of his mother, Queen Matilda, and spent several years traveling throughout France, Germany and Flanders. He visited Italy seeking the hand of the great heiress Matilda of Tuscany (b. 1046), but was unsuccessful.

During this period as a wandering knight, Robert sired several illegitimate children. His illegitimate son, Richard, seems to have spent much of his life at the royal court of his uncle, William Rufus. This Richard was killed in a hunting accident in the New Forest in 1099, as his uncle King William was the next year. An illegitimate daughter was later married to Helias of Saint-Saens.

In 1087, the Conqueror died of wounds suffered during a riding accident during a siege of Rouen. At his death, he reportedly wanted to disinherit his eldest son, but was persuaded to divide the Norman dominions between his two eldest sons. To Robert, he granted the Duchy of Normandy and to William Rufus he granted the Kingdom of England. The youngest son Henry was given money to buy land. Of the two elder sons, Robert was considered to be much the weaker and was generally preferred by the nobles who held lands on both sides of the English Channel, since they could more easily circumvent his authority. At the time of their father's death, the two brothers made an agreement to be each other's heir. However, this peace lasted less than a year when barons joined with Robert to displace Rufus in the Rebellion of 1088. It was not a success, in part because Robert never showed up to support the English rebels.

Robert took as his close advisor Ranulf Flambard, who had been previously a close advisor to his father. Flambard later became an astute but much-disliked financial advisor to William Rufus until the latter's death in 1100.

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