|The Anglo-Norman Territories|
|William, Duke of Normandy|
The period separating the death of Robert the Magnificent, Duke of Normandy (1035), from the restoration of King Edward the Confessor to the throne of England (1042) is contemporary with the minority and subsequently the affirmation of the power of William of Normandy (1035-1047).
The Normandy inherited by the young Duke William was a rich, well-administered province. His predecessors had been able to retain control over the large domains which gave them the resources with which to reward loyal vassals and to make significant monastic foundations. The right to mint money remained the monopoly of the Prince and brought him abundant resources. Trade also profited from the links maintained with the Anglo-Saxon world.
The Norman expansion continued, especially towards southern Italy, following the old pilgrim routes. This was one indication of the growth of the population, another being the new tendency of smaller lineages to withhold rights to succession from the younger members of the family. Normans were also present in the entourage of Edward the Confessor, King of England, whom they helped to regain his throne.
In many of the principalities, the beginning of the 11th century was marked by claims to autonomy on the part of the second rank lords who confronted each other in private wars and built themselves domains on newly opened up territories, to the detriment of the church's assets and those of the Prince. In Normandy this behaviour was punished by exile which was another source of emigration.
This period of prosperity was threatened by the unexpected disappearance of Robert the Magnificent in 1035. Before asserting his claims to the English throne, William would have to escape intrigues, re-establish order in his Duchy and repel the attacks of neighbouring princes who were quick to take advantage of his temporary vulnerability