Stephen was the maternal nephew of his predecessor, Henry I, who had raised him after his own father’s death. He was the most respected member of the government and Henry’s death and, despite his cousin, Matilda’s claims, he saw fit to take the English throne himself. At first, Stephen things were relatively calm, though a few annoying Barons showed that Stephen was, perhaps, not quite up to the job. Four years later, however, Matilda invaded and, with the help of her powerful half-brother, she was able to keep an intermittent civil war going throughout the usurping king’s reign. The upper hand oscillated between the two, as Stephen was captured, but then released and Matilda was almost accepted as Queen. Eventually she got bored and went back to Normandy. However, her son did manage to force Stephen into recognising him as the Royal heir.
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