Published by William Collins Genres: Historical
The sinking of the White Ship is one of the greatest disasters in English history. Here, Sunday Times bestselling author Charles Spencer tells the real story behind the legend to show how one cataclysmic shipwreck changed England’s course.
In 1120, the White Ship was known as the fastest ship afloat. When it sank sailing from Normandy to England it was carrying aboard the only legitimate heir to King Henry I, William of Ætheling. The raucous, arrogant young prince had made a party of the voyage, carousing with his companions and pushing wine into the eager hands of the crew. It was the middle of the night when the drunken helmsman rammed the ship into rocks.
The next day only one of the three hundred who had boarded the ship was alive to describe the horrors of the slow shipwreck. William, the face of England’s future had drowned along with scores of the social elite. The royal line severed and with no obvious heir to the crown, a civil war of untold violence erupted. Known fittingly as ‘The Anarchy’, this game of thrones saw families turned in on each other, with English barons, rebellious Welsh leaders and Scottish invaders all playing a part in the bloody, desperate scrum for power.
One incredible shipwreck and two decades of violent uncertainty; England’s course had changed forever.
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