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Robert Curthose, duke of Normandy

(c. 1050—1134) prince and crusader


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B. c.1053, eldest s. of William I and Matilda; acc. 9 Sept. 1087; m. Sibyl, da. of count of Conversans; issue: William; d. Cardiff, 10 Feb. 1134.

Robert, recognized as heir to Normandy and Maine, was short, fat, mercurial, impulsive, unstable, and known as ‘Short-boots’. He quarrelled with his father and waged war on him 1078–9, wounding him in the process. Reconciliation followed and he succeeded as duke in 1087, but greatly resented his younger brother William's succession in England. In 1088 he made a half-hearted and abortive attempt to expel him. ‘Rufus’ counter-invaded Normandy in 1091 but the two brothers then joined forces against the third, Henry, attacking him at Mont-St-Michel. In 1096 Robert went on crusade, acquitting himself with valour. He returned to Normandy in 1100, invaded England in 1101, but was briefly reconciled with Henry. The rapprochement did not last long and in 1106 he was decisively beaten and captured at Tinchebrai. He spent the rest of his life in comfortable imprisonment, possibly for his own protection, and died at Cardiff in 1134.

Subjects: British History.


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