His friends called him Duke of Normandy; his subjects: William the Bastard; history chose to call him William the Conqueror. No one dared to call him the Conqueror to his face. He claimed that he was the rightful king and that the Conquest was the only way to have this right. He was born in Falaise, Normandy (present day France) in the year 1028. He was born of his mother, Arlette, from Falaise, and his father: Robert, Duke of Normandy. William, being Robert's only heir, took over the throne as the Duke of Normandy when Robert died while off on a Crusade. Three of William's guardians died very violent deaths and his tutor was also murdered. Lucky for him his mother was there tp fend for him and to take care of him until he was old enough to do so himself. This may have been a cause for his later recklessness and ruthlessness.
When William was fifteen years old in 1042 he was knighted and began to have some part in ruling over the affairs of Normandy. From 1046 until 1055 William had to deal with many rebellions against Normandy, but he still kept control. Sometimes William had to rely on his ally, Henry, King of France. During these years William began to learn to fight and to take charge.
William used plans for fighting that were very easy to follow and simple to understand. His plans were very direct and his fighting was often advantageous because he knew when he was losing and he knew the right time to retreat, even if it meant losing some national pride. He always improvised and didn't like the idea of a formal government very much and liked his own rule most of all.
For a wife, William chose Matilda...