Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou

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Geoffrey V (24 August 1113 – 7 September 1151), called the Handsome (French: le Bel) and Plantagenet, was the Count of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine by inheritance from 1129 and then Duke of Normandy by conquest from 1144. By his marriage to the Empress Matilda, daughter and heiress of Henry I of England, Geoffrey had a son, Henry Curtmantle, who succeeded to the English throne and founded the Plantagenet dynasty to which Geoffrey gave his nickname.


Early life

Geoffrey was the elder son of Fulk V of Anjou and Eremburga of La Flèche, heiress of Elias I of Maine. Geoffrey received his nickname for the yellow sprig of broom blossom (genêt is the French name for the genista, or broom shrub) he wore in his hat as a badge. King Henry I of England, having heard good reports on Geoffrey's talents and prowess, sent his royal legates to Anjou to negotiate a marriage between Geoffrey and his own daughter, Matilda. Consent was obtained from both parties, and on 10 June 1128 the fifteen-year-old Geoffrey was knighted in Rouen by King Henry in preparation for the wedding. Interestingly, there was no opposition to the marriage from the Church, despite the fact that Geoffrey's sister was the widow of Matilda's brother (only son of King Henry) which fact had been used to annul the marriage of another of Geoffrey's sisters to the Norman pretender William Clito. This fact is understandable considering the opposition to the marriage between Clito and Sibylla came from King Henry himself, not the church.


On 17 June 1128 Geoffrey married Empress Matilda, the daughter and heiress of King Henry I of England by his first wife Edith of Scotland, and widow of Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor. The marriage was meant to seal a peace between England/Normandy and Anjou. She was eleven years older than Geoffrey, very proud of her status as an Empress (as opposed to being a mere Countess). Their marriage was a stormy one with frequent long separations, but she bore him three sons and survived him.

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