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date: 29 November 2022

White Ship

A Dictionary of British History

John Cannon,

Robert Crowcroft

White Ship 

Its wreck on 25 November 1120 destroyed Henry I's plans for the succession, because his only legitimate son William died aged 17 in the disaster. An immediate second marriage to Adela of Louvain produced no male heir, so, in 1126, Henry nominated his daughter, the Empress Matilda, as his successor. The White Ship was sailing from Normandy to England when it hit a rock in the Seine estuary. Two contemporary chroniclers say that the crew was drunk.