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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 38

Ansclm, " have you ever voluntarily sworn to devote yourself to God and his Holy Son, and to lead a life of chastity, poverty, and obedience ?" " I never have, and never -will hind myself by such an oath," replied Matilda with an air of pride and firmness ; " and in truth," she continued, " Ihave adopted conventual life only as a necessity. I abhor it ; and whenever left to my own free will, Ï have torn off the veil, and trampled it under my feet, as a thing to be despised." " One more question,and I have done," said the learned archbishop. " Did your parents ever vow to dedicate your life to God ?" "Never," answered the princess. The council was satisfied with these explanations, and declared that " Matilda Atheling, having neither pledged nor connected herself with any religious sisterhood, she was free to marry the king." Hut, notwithstanding this favourable decision of the council at Lambeth, the celebration of the royal union did not immediately take place. On quitting Wilton nunnery, Matilda heard, to her disgust and astonishment, of Henry's amours with Nestor, the captivating daughter of lius ap Tudor, Prince of Wales, and numerous other mistresses, by whom he had about twenty natural children ; she now, therefore, hesitated before entering into holy matrimony with one so inconstant. The delay, however, so troubled the Saxon nobles, that they afforded her no peace until she consented to forego her scruples. " Oh, most beautiful and beneficent of princesses !" said they, " thou on whom depends the uprising of our nation's honour, we beseech thee to wed our good King Henry, and so change the enmity between the Saxon and the Norman races into love, and restore peace and plenty to the land." This and other similar earnest entreaties so moved the warm heart of the good Matilda, that on Sunday, the eleventh of November, 1100, her marriage and coronation were solemnized by Archbishop Anseltn, in Westminster Abbey. The inauguration of Matilda was accompanied with more pomp and gorge ous ceremony than was the previous co ronation of her royal lord, Henry. All London and Westminster were out of doors on that auspicious day; and al though the heavens lowered and gently wept on the passing pageant, the huzzas and the bright smiles of the multitude dispelled the gloom and lightened the hearts of all present. The church at Westminster was crowded with the nobles of the land and their superhly-dighted ladies. The pompous proceedings were opened by Archbishop Anselm, who uttered from the pulpit a history of the proceedings of the synod that had pronounced Matilda free to marry, and concluded by exclaiming, in a loud, clear voice, "Does any one object to this decision? if so, let him now speak out, or ever after hold his peace." A protracted pause followed this harangue, after which the universal assent of the assembly burst forth in a long, loud shout of approbation. The learned prelate then descended from the pulpit, and by his hands Matilda was united in holy wedlock to the king, and immediately afterwards crowned queen-consort before the brilliant assembly. On Matilda's exaltation to the throne, she found herself surrounded by foreigners, as scarcely an Anglo-Saxon had been permitted to enter the court circles of the Norman monarchs ; and although she was the people's idol, many of the Norman courtiers and nobles despised her, because she influenced her royal husband in favour of the Saxons ; whilst the moral restraint she had imposed on the court so annoyed them, that they, in derision, named her "the Saxon woman." Little, however, did Matilda heed their scoffings : with a worthy purity of purpose and honesty of heart, she spurned vice from the presence of royalty, and afforded queenly encouragement to learning, religion, and refinement. A munificent patroness of literature and art, her superb residence at Westminster was ever thronged with minstrels or irouviers, and learned clerks, whose songs and recitals afforded her infinite pleasure ; and we may presume that she was a Latin scholar, as to her the learned Hildebert,

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