King Stephen
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Biography for
King Stephen (Character)
from "The Devil's Crown" (1978)

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Stephen of Blois (1096-1154) was king of England from 1135 until his death in 1154. His reign was marked by constant struggles to suppress his first cousin Matilda's claim to the throne. The ultimate result of the ensuing wars was the concession that Matilda's son, the famous Henry II Plantagenet, would succeed Stephen. Stephen of Blois (ca. 1092-1154) was a grandson of William the Conqueror (through his mother, Adela of Normandy) and King of England during the period known as The Anarchy (1135-1153).

When Henry I (Stephens uncle died in 1135, he left many illegitimate sons, but his only legitimate child to survive him was a daughter, Matilda (1102-1167). Stephen claimed the throne for himself, and series of civil wars ensued between Stephen and Matilda. Peace was only reached after the death of Stephens son, Eustace, in 1153. Without a viable heir, Stephen opened up to negotiations, and eventually acknowledged Matildas son, Henry Plantagenet (1129-1189), as his successor. Stephen had another son, William, who he might have later put forward as successor, if he had lived to see his son reach his majority, but Stephen died the following year (1154) of a stomach illness, while William was still underage. The terms of the last peace treaty were honoured, and Matildas son, Henry Plantagenet became King Henry II.

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