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If the sacred back was not always safe from family and associates in the Anglo-Saxon period, still less was it proffered in the Norman and Angevin periods. William I endured the rebellion of one son, William II an accidental death while hunting; Henry I suppressed a baronial rebellion in favor of his feckless brother Robert Curthose; Stephen's reign was characterized by lawlessness and rebellion on behalf of Empress Matilda. Henry II found his whole family actively at war against him, Richard I met his death in a political quarrel in Aquitaine, John was constrained by a rebellion of many barons to issue Magna Carta, Henry III faced constant baronial opposition to his policies, Edward I was compelled to face magnate disquiet from 1297 to 1300, Edward II was deposed (and betrayed by his wife). Edward III alone of the kings discussed in this portion of my article reigned withal quietly (after 1341) and successfully (in terms of familial and baronial opposition, at least until 1376). This is not a happy picture, but it is one that reminds us that family relations were vital to successful kingship and that a king must, if successful, be a canny politician. Unlike Rosenthal, I have chosen to limit my discussion of royal biography for the period 1066–1377 to pointing out the sources that have appeared in print since 1945 and to book-length royal biographies; no longer is it true (in the words of Sidney Painter written in 1949 that prefaced his study of The Reign of King John) that, “when I started to write this volume, there was no adequate account of the reign of a medieval English king.
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