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British Monarchs: William II (Normans) 1087-1100


William II


House: Normans
Reign: 1087-1100

William II (called "Rufus", perhaps because of his red-faced appearance) (c. 1056 2 August 1100) was the second son of William the Conqueror and was King of England from 1087 until 1100, with powers also over Normandy, and influence in Scotland. He was less successful in extending his control in Wales.

Although William was an effective soldier, he was a ruthless ruler and was little liked by those he governed; according to the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he was "hated by almost all his people." The chroniclers of his time took a dim view of Rufus because many literate men of the day were men of the Church, against which Rufus fought hard and long; and in Norman tradition, William Rufus scorned the Anglo-Saxons and their culture. (Cantor 1993, p 280)

William himself seems to have been a flamboyant character, and his reign was marked by his bellicose temperament. He never married or had illegitimate children; William's favourite was Ranulf Flambard, whom he appointed Bishop of Durham in 1099, an appointment based on political requirements, for a see that was at the same time a great feudal fief. It has been suggested that William was homosexual.


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