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breaking to pieces the effigies of the queen which lay thereon, and opening the grave in which the royal corpse was deposited. At that juncture, one of the party observing that there was a gold ring set with a fine sapphire on one of the queen's fingers, took it off, and with more gallantry than might have been expected from such a person, presented it to the abbess, Madame Anna de Montmorenci, who afterwards gave it to her father, the Baron de Conti, constable of France, when he attended Charles the Ninth to Caen, in the year 1563.1
In 1642 the monks of St . Stephen collected the bones of their royal patron, William of Normandy, and built a plain altar-shaped tomb over thera, on the spot where the original monument stood in the chancel. The nuns of the Holy Trinity, with equal zeal, caused the broken fragments of Matilda's statue and monument to be restored, and placed over her grave, near the middle of the choir, on a tomb of black and white marble three feet high and • six long, in the shape of a coffin, surrounded with iron spikes, and hung with ancient tapestry.2
The restored monument of Matilda remained undisturbed till nearly the close of the last century, when the French republicans paid one of their destructive visits to the church of the Holy Trinity at Caen, and, among other outrages against taste and feeling, swept away this memorial of its royal foundress;i but while a single arch of that majestic and time-honoured fane, the church of the Holy Trinity, survives, the first of our Anglo-Norman queens, Matilda of Flanders, will require no other monument.
1 Ducnrel. * Ducarel, i. 3 Ibid.
MATILDA OF SCOTLAND.
THE QUEEN OF HENRY I.
Ancestry of Matilda—Direct descent from Alfred—Margaret Atheling her mother—Marries King of Scotland—Matilda's birth—Her godfather—Education—First suitor— Her father invades England—His death—Her mother's grief—Pious death—Revolution in Scotland— Edgar Atheling carries the royal family to England—Princesses Matilda and Mary—Placed in Rumsey Abbey—Their aunt, Abbess Christina—Matilda's brother Edgar—Restored to the throne of Scotland—The Atheling a crusader—Matilda at Wilton Abbey— Her literary education—Attachment between Matilda and Henry Beauclerc—Her other suitors—Early life of Henry—Education at Cambridge—Surname—Literary work by him—Legacy at the Conqueror's death—Poverty of Henry—Affronted by Matilda's suitor— Earl Warren—Courtship of Matilda—Harsh rule of Lady Christina —Henry seizes English throne—Asks Matilda's hand—Opposition of her aunt—Council of the Church—Matilda's evidence—Her scruples —Importuned by Anglo-Saxons—Consents—Address to her by Anselm —Consent of the people—Her marriage and coronation—Sazon laws restored.
When we consider the perils to which the representatives of our ancient line of sovereigns, Edgar Atheling and his sisters, were exposed during the usurpation of Harold and the Norman reigns of terror, it almost appears as if an overruling Providence had guarded these descendants of the great Alfred, for the purpose of continuing the lineage of that patriot king on the throne of these realms, through the marriage of Henry I. with the daughter of Margaret Atheling, Matilda of Scotland. This princess, the subject of our present memoir, is distinguished among the many illustrious females that have worn the crown matrimonial of England, by the title of " the good queen;" a title which, eloquent in its simplicity, briefly implies that she possessed not only the great and shining qualities calculated to add lustre to a throne, but that she employed them in promoting the happiness of all classes of her subjects, affording at the same time a bright example of the lovely and endearing attributes which should adorn the female character.
Some historians call this princess, Matilda Atheling, and by these she is almost invested with the dignity of a queen-regnant, and styled the heiress of the AngloSaxon monarchs. In the same spirit, her grandson and representative Henry II. is designated "the restorer of the English royal line." This is, however, as Blackstone justly observes, "a great error, for the rights of Margaret Atheling to the English succession were vested in her sons, and not in her daughter."1 James I., on his accession to the throne of England, failed not to set forth that important leaf in his pedigree, and laid due stress on the circumstance of his descent from the ancient line of English sovereigns by the elder blood. 1 Blackstone's Commentaries, vol. i.
Alexander, the Archdeacon of Salisbury, who wrote the tracts of the Exchequer quoted by Gervase of Tilbury in his celebrated Dialogues of the Exchequer, has gravely set forth in his red book a pedigree of Matilda of Scotland, tracing her descent in an unbroken line up to Adam. There is a strange medley of christian kings and pagan sinners, such as Woden and Balder, with the Jewish patriarchs of holy writ, in this royal genealogy.1
Matilda is the only princess of Scotland who ever shared the throne of a king of England. It is, however, from her maternal ancestry that she derives her great interest as connected with the annals of this country. Her mother, Margaret Atheling, was the grand-daughter of Edmund Ironside and the daughter of Edward Atheling, surnamed the outlaw, by Agatha, daughter of the Emperor Henry II. of Germany. Her brother, Edgar Atheling, so often mentioned in the preceding memoir, feeling some reason to mistrust the apparent friendship of William the Conqueror, privately withdrew from his court, and in the year 1068, the same year in which Henry I. was born, took shipping with Margaret and her younger sister Christina and their mother Agatha, with intent to seek a refuge in Hungary with their royal kindred; but, by stress of weather, the vessel in which they, with many other English exiles, were embarked, was driven into the Frith of Forth. Malcolm Canmore, the young unmarried king of Scotland, who had just regained his dominions from the usurper Macbeth, happened to be present when the royal fugitives landed, and was so struck with the beauty of the Lady Margaret Atheling, that in a few days he asked her in marriage of her brother. Edgar joyfully gave the dowerless princess in marriage to the young and handsome sovereign, who had received the exiled English in the most generous and honourable manner, and whose disinterested affection was sufficient testimony of the nobleness of his disposition. The spot where Margaret first set her foot on the Scottish land was, in memory of that circumstance, called Queen's Ferry.
1 Lib. Rub., fol. notata, 49, a.
The Saxon chronicle, of whom this lady is an especial favourite, indulges in a most edifying homily on the providence which led the holy Margaret to become the spouse of the king of Scotland, who is evidently regarded by the cowled historian as little better than a pagan. Certain it is, that the mighty son of the gracious Duncan could neither read nor write. After her marriage, the Saxon princess became the happy instrument of diffusing the blessings of Christianity throughout her husband's dominions, commencing the work of conversion in the proper place, her own household and the court. The influence which her personal charms had in the first instance won over the heart of her royal husband, her virtues and mental powers increased and retained to the last hour of Malcolm's existence. He reposed the most unbounded confidence, not only in the principles, but the judgment of his English consort, who became the domestic legislator of the realm. She dismissed from the palace all persons who were convicted of leading immoral lives, or who were guilty of fraud or injustice, and allowed no persons to hold offices in the