william conqueror family tree

Royal Lineage: The Family Tree of William the Conqueror

Welcome to this deep dive into the family tree of William the Conqueror, one of the most influential figures in European history. William was a Norman Duke who famously conquered England in 1066, creating a new dynasty that would go on to shape the continent for centuries to come.

In this article, we will explore William the Conqueror’s family tree, tracing his lineage back to its origins in Normandy. We will delve into the notable figures, interconnections, and branches that expanded the family’s influence over time. By the end, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the impact that this family had on history.

Key Takeaways:

  • William the Conqueror is a central figure in European history, and his family tree played an important role in shaping the continent.
  • The Norman dynasty, of which William was a part, originated in Normandy and expanded its influence through strategic marriages, alliances, and conquests.
  • Tracing William the Conqueror’s family tree back a few generations reveals notable ancestors who contributed to the family’s legacy.
  • William’s immediate family, including his parents, siblings, spouse, and children, played instrumental roles in expanding the family’s influence.
  • The successors of William the Conqueror inherited his titles and carried on his family’s legacy, continuing to shape European history for centuries.
  • The William the Conqueror family tree had a lasting impact on political, cultural, and social aspects of history, with notable figures leaving their mark on each front.
  • The family tree still has modern descendants, who can trace their lineage back to William and continue to carry on the family legacy in various ways.

Early Origins in Normandy

The family tree of William the Conqueror has its roots in the region of Normandy, France. This northern coastal area was a hotbed of political activity in the middle ages, with various factions jostling for power and influence.

The Norman dynasty emerged during this time, and William’s ancestors were among the prominent families that vied for control. Their rise to power was aided by their ties to the ruling class and their success in battles and treaties.

The Viking Connection

The Norman ancestry of William the Conqueror can be traced back to Viking raiders who attacked the French coast in the 9th century. These Norse warriors established a settlement in what would become Normandy, intermarrying with the local population and adopting their language and customs.

In the centuries that followed, the Normans became a distinct cultural and political entity, forging their own destiny and challenging the established order.

The Norman Conquest of England

William the Conqueror’s family history is intimately intertwined with the events that led to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. His great-great-grandfather, Rollo, was a Viking leader who had conquered Normandy in the 10th century, establishing a foothold in the region that his descendants would expand and consolidate over the centuries.

William’s own father, Robert the Magnificent, was a powerful duke of Normandy, who passed his title on to his son in 1035. William proved to be a shrewd and capable leader, expanding his territories through force and diplomacy, and ultimately setting his sights on England.

In 1066, William the Conqueror led a massive invasion force across the English Channel, defeating the Anglo-Saxon army at the Battle of Hastings and establishing Norman rule over England. This momentous event would have far-reaching consequences for European history, cementing the Norman dynasty’s place among the continent’s ruling families.

William Conqueror’s Ancestors

William the Conqueror’s family tree has its roots in Normandy, where his ancestors played significant roles in local politics and military affairs. The family’s lineage can be traced back to the early 10th century, where they gained prominence as the Dukes of Normandy.

Their origins were largely shaped by the events of the time, including Viking raids and the establishment of the Normans as a distinct group within the Frankish Empire. Over time, the family grew and expanded their influence through strategic marriages and alliances.

Name Role Significance
Richard I Duke of Normandy The first Norman Duke of Normandy who established the family’s rule over the area.
William Longsword Duke of Normandy Expanded the family’s territory and solidified their power within Normandy.
Richard II Duke of Normandy Strengthened Norman control over Maine and other neighboring regions.
Robert I Duke of Normandy Known for his military prowess and for leading expeditions to the Holy Land.

William the Conqueror’s immediate ancestors include Robert I’s son, William the Conqueror’s father, known as Robert the Magnificent, and his mother, Herleva, who was said to have been the daughter of a tanner.

Through their lineage, William the Conqueror’s family tree extends to include numerous influential figures who played key roles in European history, including Charlemagne, King Alfred the Great, and Rollo, the first Duke of Normandy.

William Conqueror’s Parents

William the Conqueror’s parents were Robert I, Duke of Normandy, and Herleva of Falaise. Robert I was the son of Richard II, Duke of Normandy, and Judith of Brittany. Herleva was the daughter of Fulbert, a tanner in Falaise, and possibly the wife of Robert’s chamberlain, Herluin de Conteville. It is said that Robert fell in love with Herleva, and they had several children together, including William.

Robert became Duke of Normandy at the age of 8 after his father’s death, and Herleva played an important role in his upbringing. She was a strong and influential figure in William’s childhood, and it is believed that she instilled in him many of the qualities that would later make him a successful ruler.

Robert was known for his military prowess and his larger-than-life personality, but his reign was also marked by political turmoil. He was constantly at odds with his vassals and even his own family members, and this instability would ultimately have a profound impact on William’s own rule.

Despite this, William maintained a close relationship with his parents throughout his life, and his mother was always a source of strength and support. When Robert died in 1035, William was only 7 years old, but he was already being groomed to take over as Duke of Normandy.

Overall, William the Conqueror’s parents played a crucial role in his upbringing and shaped the course of his life. Their lineage and connections within the family tree would also have far-reaching consequences, influencing the course of history for generations to come.

William Conqueror’s Siblings

William the Conqueror had several siblings, most notably Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and Robert, Count of Mortain. Odo was a key figure in the Norman Conquest, fighting alongside his brother at the Battle of Hastings and overseeing the construction of the Bayeux Tapestry as a historical record of the event.

Robert, on the other hand, remained in Normandy and played a significant role in managing the family’s property and affairs. He also participated in the First Crusade and was a patron of the arts, commissioning the creation of the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey.

Other siblings included Adeliza, who married the Count of Aumale, and Agatha, who became the Empress of Byzantium through her marriage to Emperor Henry III.

The siblings of William the Conqueror were influential in their own right, shaping the family’s legacy and contributing to events of historical significance.

William Conqueror’s Spouse and Children

William the Conqueror married Matilda of Flanders in 1051. Matilda was the daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, and Adela of France. Together, William and Matilda had ten children, including:

Name Birth Year Notes
Robert Curthose 1051 Eldest son and heir to the throne of Normandy.
Richard 1054 Youngest son to survive infancy, died in a hunting accident in 1075.
Adeliza 1055 Married Stephen, Count of Blois and Chartres.
Cecilia 1056 Became a nun at the abbey of Holy Trinity in Caen.
William Rufus 1057 Succeeded his father as King of England.
Constance 1061 Married Alan IV, Duke of Brittany.
Adela 1062 Married Stephen II, Count of Blois and Chartres after her sister’s death.
Agatha 1064 Became a nun at the abbey of Sainte-Trinité in Caen.
Henry I 1068 Succeeded his brother William Rufus as King of England.
Matilda 1079 Married Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor, and became Empress consort of the Holy Roman Empire.

William the Conqueror’s children and their descendants played significant roles in the history of England, Normandy, and Europe. The House of Plantagenet, which ruled England from 1154 to 1485, was descended from William’s daughter Matilda and her husband Geoffrey Plantagenet.

Successors of William the Conqueror

The Norman dynasty continued after William the Conqueror’s death, with his eldest son Robert inheriting his title as Duke of Normandy. However, Robert’s turbulent reign was marked by conflict and instability, and he was eventually replaced by his younger brother, William Rufus, who became King of England.

William Rufus was succeeded by his younger brother Henry I, who managed to maintain peace and stability during his reign. Upon his death, the throne passed to his daughter Matilda, but her claim was contested by her cousin Stephen of Blois, leading to a period of civil war known as The Anarchy.

The Anarchy was eventually resolved in favor of Matilda’s son, Henry II, who became King of England and Duke of Normandy. Under Henry II’s rule, the Norman dynasty reached new heights of power and influence, but his reign was also marked by conflict with his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and his children, including Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland.

After the death of John Lackland, the Norman dynasty continued through his son, Henry III, and later through the reigns of Edward I, Edward II, and Edward III. However, with the death of Edward III’s heir, Richard II, the dynasty came to an end, and the crown passed to the House of Lancaster through Henry IV.

The legacy of the Norman dynasty, and of William the Conqueror’s family tree, can still be seen in modern England and throughout the world. Many notable figures throughout history can trace their lineage back to the Norman dynasty, including American presidents George Washington and Barack Obama.

Branches and Interconnections

The William Conqueror family tree extends beyond his immediate relatives to include various branches and interconnections. These relationships expanded their influence and helped establish the Norman dynasty.

One of the most notable interconnections was between William the Conqueror’s daughter and Henry I of England. This marriage united the Norman and Anglo-Saxon royal families, solidifying their power and influence. Their son, William Adelin, was next in line to the English throne but tragically died in the White Ship disaster.

Branch Notable Figures
House of Blois Stephen, King of England
House of Plantagenet Henry II, King of England; Richard the Lionheart; John, King of England
House of Normandy Robert Curthose; William Rufus, King of England; Henry I, King of England

The William Conqueror family tree also includes various marriages and alliances that expanded their influence. For example, William’s granddaughter Matilda married Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou. Their son, Henry II, went on to become King of England, establishing the House of Plantagenet.

Another significant relationship was between the Norman dynasty and the Holy Roman Empire. William’s great-grandson, Henry II of England, married Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose previous marriage was to Louis VII of France. The alliance helped strengthen ties between England and the Holy Roman Empire.

The interconnections within the William Conqueror family tree demonstrate the far-reaching impact of their lineage and the legacy they left behind.

Notable Figures in the Family Tree

The William Conqueror family tree is filled with fascinating characters who have left their mark on history. From rulers and warriors to artists and scholars, their accomplishments have shaped the world we live in today. Here are just a few of the most notable figures from the family tree.

Robert I, Duke of Normandy

Robert I, also known as Robert the Magnificent, was William the Conqueror’s father. He was a skilled military commander and played a significant role in the Norman Conquest of England. He is also known for his patronage of the arts and his support for the Norman monastic reform movement.

Matilda of Flanders

Matilda of Flanders was William the Conqueror’s wife and queen consort of England. She was known for her intelligence and political acumen, and played an active role in the government of England during her husband’s frequent absences. She was also a patron of the arts, commissioning the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman Conquest.

Henry I of England

Henry I was the youngest son of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders, and became king of England after the death of his brother, William II. He is known for his administrative reforms, including the introduction of the Exchequer, a financial institution that helped to increase royal revenue. He also played a significant role in the establishment of common law in England.

Matilda of Scotland

Matilda of Scotland was the daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret of Scotland. She was married to Henry I of England and played an important role in consolidating Norman power in Scotland. She was also known for her piety and her support for the monastic reform movement.

These are just a few of the many fascinating figures in the William Conqueror family tree. Their contributions to history have had a lasting impact, and they continue to inspire and intrigue us today.

Legacy and Influence

The William the Conqueror family tree has left an indelible mark on history, shaping the political, cultural, and social landscape of their time and beyond.

William’s successful invasion of England in 1066 laid the foundation for the Norman dynasty, a period of great political and cultural change in Britain. Under the rule of the Normans, the country experienced a transformation in its architecture, art, and language, with the emergence of the Anglo-Norman dialect.

The family’s influence extended beyond the borders of England, with many descendants becoming prominent figures in continental Europe, particularly in France. Among them were kings, queens, dukes, and other nobility who played an important role in shaping the political landscape of medieval and early modern Europe.

The William the Conqueror family tree also produced notable figures in the fields of literature, science, and the arts. One of the most famous descendants of the family was William Shakespeare, whose ancestral connection to the Norman dynasty has been traced based on historical records.

Today, the legacy of the William the Conqueror family tree can be seen in the many historic sites and landmarks that bear their name, such as the Tower of London, which was built during the Norman period. The family’s connection to Normandy is also celebrated through festivals and events in the region, highlighting their enduring influence even after centuries have passed.

Modern Descendants of William the Conqueror’s Family Tree

The legacy of William the Conqueror continues to this day, with many individuals and families able to trace their lineage back to this historic family tree. Among them are several notable figures who have made a significant impact in various fields.

One such example is the actress Emma Watson, who is a direct descendant of William the Conqueror through her father’s side. She is known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series and has since become an influential figure in the entertainment industry.

Another notable descendant is architect Lord Norman Foster, who has designed several iconic buildings around the world. He is also a direct descendant of William the Conqueror and has been recognized with numerous awards for his contributions to the field of architecture.

Additionally, the current British royal family is also descended from William the Conqueror. Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, and Prince Harry are all direct descendants of this historic family tree.

It is fascinating to see how the legacy of William the Conqueror continues to live on through his modern-day descendants. Their achievements and contributions further showcase the family’s impact on history and serve as a reminder of their enduring influence.


The William Conqueror family tree is a remarkable piece of history, tracing the lineage of one of the most influential figures in Norman dynasty. From their early origins in Normandy to their lasting impact on modern-day descendants, the family tree is a testament to the enduring legacy of William the Conqueror and his descendants.

Throughout the article, we have explored the various branches and interconnections within the family tree, highlighting the achievements and contributions of its notable figures. We have seen how the family’s influence has extended beyond political and social spheres to shape the course of history in countless ways.

By tracing the family tree through the generations, we gain a deeper understanding of the connections and interdependencies that have shaped the course of history. The William Conqueror family tree stands as a testament to the enduring power of family, legacy, and influence.

The Enduring Legacy of William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror’s family tree has left an indelible mark on history, with its influence felt across centuries and continents. From the political and cultural impact of Norman dynasty to the personal connections of modern-day descendants, the family tree continues to shape our understanding of the past and present.

As we look to the future, it is clear that the William Conqueror family tree will remain a vital piece of history, serving as a beacon of inspiration and a source of knowledge for generations to come.


Q: What is the significance of William the Conqueror’s family tree?

A: William the Conqueror’s family tree is significant because it traces the lineage of one of the most influential figures in European history. It showcases the connections between Norman dynasty and the region of Normandy.

Q: How far back does William the Conqueror’s family tree go?

A: William the Conqueror’s family tree can be traced back several generations, highlighting the prominent ancestors who played a role in shaping his legacy.

Q: Who were William the Conqueror’s parents?

A: William the Conqueror’s parents were Robert I, Duke of Normandy, and Herleva, a mistress of Robert.

Q: Did William the Conqueror have any siblings?

A: Yes, William the Conqueror had several siblings, including Odo, bishop of Bayeux, and Robert, count of Mortain.

Q: Who was William the Conqueror’s spouse?

A: William the Conqueror’s spouse was Matilda of Flanders.

Q: How many children did William the Conqueror have?

A: William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders had several children, including Robert Curthose, William Rufus, and Henry I.

Q: Who were the successors of William the Conqueror?

A: The successors of William the Conqueror included his sons Robert Curthose and William Rufus, as well as his youngest son Henry I.

Q: Were there any notable figures in William the Conqueror’s family tree?

A: Yes, there were many notable figures in William the Conqueror’s family tree, including his ancestors and descendants who made significant contributions to history.

Q: What is the modern connection to William the Conqueror’s family tree?

A: There are modern descendants who can trace their lineage back to William the Conqueror, showcasing the enduring impact of his family tree.