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The regency of Queen Margaret : Stephen of Perche in Palermo
William II was only 12 when his father died and Queen Margaret of Navarre undertook the regency. Contrary to his father he was called the ‘Good’. He was knowledgeable rather than being a warrior, pious and honest. During his coronation in 1166, he seduced everyone with his youthful personality and peace reigned. The regent gave favours to soldiers and was indulgent to rebels in order to maintain peace in the kingdom.
But plots continued to reign in the court. In 1166, the chancellor of Muslim extraction, kaid Peter was forced to flee, and Margaret, suspicious of the feudal lords and officials put in place under William I, called on a cousin of hers to help govern. The young count Stephen of Perche, became both the chancellor of the realm and archbishop of Palermo, and a remarkable cleric, Stephen of Blois became the young king’s private tutor.
But favours granted to the French and Navarrian members of his entourage, meant that local officials would detest Stephen of Perche. One mistake after another, lacking any understanding of the society in which he lived, Stephen particularly stirred up the anger of the Muslim population. He had to withdraw to Messina in December 1167. Plots and rumours led to a massacre of the French, and Stephen was forced to leave Sicily at the end of the summer in 1168.
Once more the barons rebelled and shared out the territories, the offices and positions. But with his ascension to power at the age of 18 in 1171, the regency was over and under his control; the baronial uprising came to an end.