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Matilda, By Tracy Borman


"Diminutive yet formidable."

You know the type. Though the life of Mrs William the Conqueror was "shrouded in mystery", Borman has expertly forged an absorbing biography from fragments of her personal history.

These range from William's wooing technique – when Matilda initially turned him down, he dragged her through the mud of Bruges Palace, which oddly enough worked – to her being caught supporting the treachery of her eldest son Robert.

Her extenuating plea to William was "May I never be guilty of hardness of heart" – and that worked as well.