- King of England 1087-1100 House of Normandy
BiographyWilliam II of England, King of England, was born circa 1056 in Normandy, France to William I of England (1027-1087) and Matilda of Flanders (c1031-1083) and died 2 August 1100 in New Forest, England, United Kingdom of a hunting accident. Notable ancestors include William I of England (1027-1087), Charlemagne (747-814), Hugh Capet (c940-996), Alfred the Great (849-899). Ancestors are from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom.
William II of England or William Rufus, the third son of William I of England, was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending control into Wales. William is commonly known as William Rufus (Rufus being Latin for 'the Red'), perhaps because of his red-faced appearance or, more likely, due to having red hair as a child that grew out in later life.
He was a figure of complex temperament: capable of both bellicosity and flamboyance. He did not marry, nor did he produce any offspring, legitimate or otherwise, which has led to speculations of possible homosexuality by historians. He died after being struck by an arrow while hunting, under circumstances that remain unclear. Circumstantial evidence in the behaviour of those around him raise strong, but unproven, suspicions of murder. His younger brother Henry hurriedly succeeded him as king.
Barlow says he was "A rumbustious, devil-may-care soldier, without natural dignity or social graces, with no cultivated tastes and little show of conventional religious piety or morality—indeed, according to his critics, addicted to every kind of vice, particularly lust and especially sodomy." On the other hand, he was a wise ruler and victorious general. Barlow finds that, "His chivalrous virtues and achievements were all too obvious. He had maintained good order and satisfactory justice in England and restored good peace to Normandy. He had extended Anglo-Norman rule in Wales, brought Scotland firmly under his lordship, recovered Maine, and kept up the pressure on the Vexin."
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