The Norman conquest of England began in 1066 with the invasion of the Kingdom of England by the troops of William, Duke of Normandy, and his victory at the Battle of Hastings. This resulted in Norman control of England, which was firmly established during the next few years. The Norman Conquest was a pivotal event in English history for several reasons. It largely removed the native ruling class, replacing it with a foreign, French-speaking monarchy, aristocracy, and clerical hierarchy. This, in turn, brought about a transformation of the English language and the culture of England. By subjecting the country to rulers originating in France it linked England more closely with continental Europe, while lessening Scandinavian influence, and set the stage for a rivalry with France that would continue intermittently for many centuries.