09 September 2016
William Rufus was crowned King William II on 9 September 1087
On this day in history, 1087: William Rufus is crowned King William II. He was the third son of William the Conqueror, but succeeded to the throne as his eldest brother Robert inherited Normandy, and Richard, the next in line, had died in a hunting accident a decade earlier.
During his reign William Rufus (so nick-named perhaps on account of his red face or red hair) had feisty encounters with his elder brother – trying to wrest control of Normandy from him – and also quarrelled with Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was widely disliked, for instance for his strict upholding of his father’s forest laws – to kill the king’s deer was punishable by death.
Such are the twists and turns of fate, that William Rufus was, like his brother Richard, also to die in a hunting accident in the New Forest in 1100. At his death it seems he was not much mourned and he was buried with little ceremony in Winchester Cathedral. His younger brother succeeded him to the throne.
Pictured: William II as depicted in the Stowe Manuscript.