The White Ship
In 1120 King Henry I had occupied the throne of England for twenty years. In that time he had sired many sons and daughters, but only two were legitimate. His daughter Matilda was married to the German Emperor. His son, William Adelin (or athelin) was his heir. A year earlier William had married Count Fulk V of Anjou’s daughter.
In November of that year, King Henry was about to cross from Normandy to England from the port of Barfleur. When the winds were right a man named Thomas FitzStephen approached and offered the use of a new vessel, named The White Ship. King Henry already had a fine ship for his own crossing, but suggested his son travel in the new vessel. William went aboard with two of his half-siblings and some two hundred and fifty others, many young people.
Aboard their own vessel and far from…
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