|Henry the Young King|
|Junior King of England|
|Reign||14 June 1170 – 11 June 1183|
|Coronation||14 June 1170|
|Born||28 February 1155|
|Died||11 June 1183 (aged 28)|
Castle of Martel, Lot
|Spouse||Margaret of France|
|House||Plantagenet / Angevin|
|Father||Henry II, King of England|
|Mother||Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine|
Henry the Young King (28 February 1155 – 11 June 1183) known commonly as Rex Junior in Latin or Li rei jovent in Old French, was the eldest surviving son of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Beginning in 1170, he was titular King of England, Duke of Normandy, Count of Anjou and Maine. Henry the Young King was the only King of England since the Norman Conquest to be crowned during his father's reign, but spent his reign frustrated by his father's refusal to grant him meaningful autonomous power. He died aged 28, six years before his father, leaving his brother Richard to become the next king.
Henry II, also known as Henry Curtmantle, Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Count of Anjou, Maine, and Nantes, and Lord of Ireland; at various times, he also partially controlled Scotland, Wales and the Duchy of Brittany. Before he was 40 he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France—an area that would later come to be called the Angevin Empire.
Eleanor of Aquitaine was queen consort of France (1137–1152) and England (1154–1189) and duchess of Aquitaine in her own right (1137–1204). As a member of the Ramnulfids rulers in southwestern France, she was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages. She was patron of literary figures such as Wace, Benoît de Sainte-Maure, and Bernart de Ventadorn. She led armies several times in her life and was a leader of the Second Crusade.
In the Middle Ages, the Duke of Normandy was the ruler of the Duchy of Normandy in north-western France. The duchy arose out of a grant of land to the Viking leader Rollo by the French king Charles III in 911. In 924 and again in 933, Normandy was expanded by royal grant. Rollo's male-line descendants continued to rule it down to 1135. In 1202 the French king Philip II declared Normandy a forfeited fief and by 1204 his army had conquered it. It remained a French royal province thereafter, still called the Duchy of Normandy, but only occasionally granted to a duke of the royal house as an apanage.
Little is known of the young Prince Henry before the events associated with his marriage and coronation. His mother's children by her first marriage to Louis VII of France were Marie of France, Countess of Champagne and Alix of France. He had one elder brother, William IX, Count of Poitiers (d. 1156), and his younger siblings included Matilda; Richard; Geoffrey; Eleanor; Joan; and John.
Louis VII, called the Younger or the Young, was King of the Franks from 1137 to 1180, the sixth from the House of Capet. He was the son and successor of King Louis VI, hence his nickname, and married Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe. The marriage temporarily extended the Capetian lands to the Pyrenees, but was annulled in 1152 after no male heir was produced.
Marie of France was a French princess and Countess consort of Champagne. She was regent of the county of Champagne in 1179-1181, and in 1190-1197.
Alix of France was countess consort of Blois by marriage to Theobald V, Count of Blois. She was regent of Blois during the absence of her spouse in 1190-1191, and regent during the minority of Louis I, Count of Blois from 1191 until 1197.
In June 1170, the fifteen-year-old Henry was crowned king during his father's lifetime, something originally practised by the French Capetian dynasty and adopted by the English kings Stephen and Henry II. The physical appearance of Henry at his coronation in 1170 is given in a contemporary court poem written in Latin, where the fifteen-year-old prince is described as being very handsome, "tall but well proportioned, broad-shouldered with a long and elegant neck, pale and freckled skin, bright and wide blue eyes, and a thick mop of the reddish-gold hair".
The Capetian dynasty, also known as the House of France, is a dynasty of Frankish origin, founded by Hugh Capet. It is among the largest and oldest royal houses in Europe and the world, and consists of Hugh Capet's male-line descendants. The senior line ruled in France as the House of Capet from the election of Hugh Capet in 987 until the death of Charles IV in 1328. That line was succeeded by cadet branches, the Houses of Valois and then Bourbon, which ruled until the French Revolution.
He was known in his own lifetime as "Henry the Young King" to distinguish him from his father. Because he was not a reigning king, he is not counted in the numerical succession of kings of England. According to one of Thomas Becket's correspondents, Henry was knighted by his father before the coronation, but the biographer of William Marshal asserts that the king was knighted by William in the course of the rebellion of 1173 (Georges Duby, Guillaume le Maréchal. Le meilleur chevalier du monde. 1984).
Thomas Becket, also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas of London and later Thomas à Becket, was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He engaged in conflict with Henry II, King of England, over the rights and privileges of the Church and was murdered by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral. Soon after his death, he was canonised by Pope Alexander III.
William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, also called William the Marshal, was an Anglo-Norman soldier and statesman. He served five English kings – Henry II, his sons the "Young King" Henry, Richard I, John, and John's son Henry III.
Georges Duby was a French historian who specialised in the social and economic history of the Middle Ages. He ranks among the most influential medieval historians of the twentieth century and was one of France's most prominent public intellectuals from the 1970s to his death.
Henry did not appear to have been very interested in the day-to-day business of government, which distinguished him from his father and younger brothers. His father, however, is reputed to have failed to delegate authority to his son, retaining power in England. The majority opinion amongst historians is that of W. L. Warren (1973): "The Young Henry was the only one of his family who was popular in his own day....the only one who gave no evidence of political sagacity, military skill, or even ordinary intelligence...", and elaborated in a later book, "He was gracious, benign, affable, courteous, the soul of liberality and generosity. Unfortunately he was also shallow, vain, careless, high-hoped, incompetent, improvident, and irresponsible."
Wilfred Lewis Warren was an historian of medieval England. Educated at Exeter College, Oxford, he worked as a professor of modern (post-classical) history and Dean of theology at the Queen's University, Belfast. His field of interest was Norman and Angevin England, on which he published several major works. In 1956 he received a doctorate in 14th-century English church history. He was fascinated by and well versed in Ulster politics.
The Young King's contemporary reputation, however, was positive. Likely this was due to the enthusiastic tournament culture of his time. In the History of William Marshal, the biography of the knight assigned to him as a tutor in 1170 and his tournament team leader until 1182, he is described as a constant competitor at tournaments across northern and central France between 1175 and 1182. With his cousins, counts Philip I of Flanders and Baldwin V of Hainaut, he was a key patron of the sport. He is said to have spent over £200 a day on the great retinue of knights he brought to the tournament of Lagny-sur-Marne in November 1179.[ citation needed ]
A tournament, or tourney, was a chivalrous competition or mock fight in Europe in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It is one type of hastilude.
Lagny-sur-Marne is a commune in the eastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France 26.1 km (16.2 mi) from the centre of Paris.
Though he lacked political weight, his patronage brought him celebrity status throughout western Europe. The baron and troubadour Bertran de Born knew him, stating:
[He was] the best king who ever took up a shield, the most daring and best of all tourneyers. From the time when Roland was alive, and even before, never was seen a knight so skilled, so warlike, whose fame resounded so around the world – even if Roland did come back, or if the world were searched as far as the River Nile and the setting sun.
There was a perception amongst his contemporaries, and the next generation, that his death in 1183 marked a decline both in the tournament and knightly endeavour. His one-time chaplain, Gervase of Tilbury, said that "his death was the end of everything knightly".
The young Henry played an important part in the politics of his father's reign. On 2 November 1160, he was betrothed to Margaret of France, daughter of King Louis VII of France and his second wife, Constance of Castile, when he was 5 years of age and she was at least 2. The marriage was an attempt to finally settle the struggle between the counts of Anjou and the French kings over possession of the frontier district of the Norman Vexin, which Louis VII had acquired from Henry's grandfather, Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, in around 1144. By the terms of the settlement, Margaret would bring the castles of the Norman Vexin to her new husband. However, the marriage was pushed through by Henry II when Young Henry and Margaret were small children so that he could seize the castles. A bitter border war followed between the kings.
They were formally married on 27 August 1172 at Winchester Cathedral, when Henry, aged seventeen, was crowned King of England a second time, this time together with Margaret, by Rotrou, the Archbishop of Rouen.
Young Henry fell out with his father in 1173. Contemporary chroniclers allege that this was owing to the young man's frustration that his father had given him no realm to rule, and his feeling starved of funds. The rebellion seems, however, to have drawn strength from much deeper discontent with his father's rule, and a formidable party of Anglo-Norman, Norman, Angevin, Poitevin and Breton magnates joined him. The revolt of 1173–1174 came close to toppling the king; he was narrowly saved by the loyalty of a party of nobles with holdings on the English side of the Channel, and by the defeat and capture of William I, the King of Scotland. Young Henry sought a reconciliation after the capture of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the failure of the rebellion. His funds were much increased by the terms of the settlement, and he apparently devoted most of the next seven years to the amusement of the tournament.
In November 1179, he represented his father at the coronation of Philip Augustus as associate king of France at Reims. He acted as Steward of France and carried the crown in the coronation procession. Later, he played a leading role in the celebratory tournament held at Lagny-sur-Marne, to which he brought a retinue of over 500 knights at huge expense.
The Young Henry's affairs took a turn for the worse in 1182. He fell out with William Marshal, the leader of his tournament mesnée.The unknown author of L'Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal suggests that Marshal's disgrace was because he had indulged in a clandestine affair with Queen Margaret. David Crouch, one of the Marshal's principal modern biographers, argues that the charge against William was actually one of lèse majesté , brought on by Marshal's own arrogance and greed. By this account, the charge of adultery was only introduced in the Life of William Marshal as a distraction from the real charges, of which he was most probably guilty. Though the Young King sent his wife early in 1183 to the French court, it was done most likely to keep her safe in the impending war with his brother, Richard, rather than because she was in disgrace.
The only child of Henry and Margaret was William, born prematurely on 19 June 1177, and died three days later. This difficult delivery may have rendered her barren, for she had no further children.
Henry the Young King died, aged 28, in the summer of 1183, during the course of a campaign in Limousin against his father and his brother Richard the Lionheart. He had just completed a pillage of local monasteries to raise money to pay his mercenaries. He contracted dysentery at the beginning of June. Weakening fast, he was taken to Martel, near Limoges. It was clear to his household that he was dying on 7 June, when he was confessed and received the last rites. As a token of his penitence for his war against his father, he prostrated himself naked on the floor before a crucifix. He made a testament and, since he had taken a crusader's vow, he gave his cloak to his friend William Marshal, with the plea that he should take the cloak (presumably with the crusader's cross stitched to it) to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. On his deathbed, he reportedly asked to be reconciled to his father, but King Henry, fearing a trick, refused to see him. He died on 11 June, clasping a ring his father had sent instead as a sign of his forgiveness. After his death, his father is said to have exclaimed: "He cost me much, but I wish he had lived to cost me more."
After Henry's death, there was an attempt by his mother and a faction of his friends to promote his sainthood. Thomas of Earley, Archdeacon of Wells, published a sermon not long afterward detailing miraculous events attending the cortège that took his body north to Normandy. Henry had left orders that his entrails and other body parts should be buried at the abbey of Charroux, but the rest of his body should rest in Rouen Cathedral. However, during the funeral procession, a member of Henry's household was seized by his mercenary captains for debts the late king had owed them. The knights accompanying his corpse were so penniless they had to be fed by charity at the monastery of Vigeois. There were large and emotional gatherings wherever his body rested. At Le Mans, the local bishop halted the procession and ordered the body buried in his cathedral, perhaps to help defuse the civil unrest Henry's death had caused. The dean of Rouen recovered the body from the chapter of Le Mans a month later by a lawsuit, so that the Young Henry could be buried in Normandy as he had desired in his testament.
Henry's remains are in Rouen Cathedral, where his tomb is on the opposite side of the altar from the tomb of his younger brother, Richard I of England,with whom he was perpetually quarrelling. The tomb of the Archbishop of Rouen, who had married him to Margaret, lies nearby in the ambulatory. His brothers Richard and John each later became King of England.
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Henry and Richard were "both tall in stature, rather above the middle size, and of commanding aspect. In courage and magnanimity they were nearly equal; but in the character of their virtues there was great disparity... [Henry] was admirable for gentleness and liberality... had a commendable suavity... commended for his easy temper... remarkable for his clemency... the vile and undeserving found their refuge in [Henry]... was the shield of bad men... was bent on martial sports... bestowed his favours on foreigners... [Henry's] ambition magnanimously compassed the world."
Another description says "He was tall in stature and distinguished in appearance; his face expressed merriment and mature judgment in good measure; fair among the children of men, he was courteous and cheerful. Gracious to all, he was loved by all; amiable to all, he was incapable of making an enemy. He was matchless in warfare, and as he outstripped them all in valor, cordiality, and the outstanding graciousness of his manners, his true generosity, and true integrity...
|Ancestors of Henry the Young King|
Geoffrey V —called the Handsome or the Fair and Plantagenet—was the Count of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine by inheritance from 1129 and then Duke of Normandy by conquest from 1144. By his marriage to the Empress Matilda, daughter and heiress of Henry I of England, Geoffrey had a son, Henry Curtmantle, who succeeded to the English throne as King Henry II (1154–1189) and was the first of the Plantagenet dynasty to rule England; the name "Plantagenet" was taken from Geoffrey's epithet. His ancestral domain of Anjou gave rise to the name Angevin for three kings of England, and what became known as the Angevin Empire in the 12th century.
Robert FitzRoy, 1st Earl of Gloucester was an illegitimate son of King Henry I of England. He was the half-brother of the Empress Matilda, and her chief military supporter during the civil war known as The Anarchy, in which she vied with Stephen of Blois for the throne of England.
Geoffrey II was Duke of Brittany and 3rd Earl of Richmond between 1181 and 1186, through his marriage with the heiress Constance. Geoffrey was the fourth of five sons of Henry II, King of England and Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine.
Margaret of Navarre was the queen consort of the Kingdom of Sicily during the reign of William I (1154–1166) and the regent during the minority of her son, William II.
Alan III of Rennes was Count of Rennes and duke of Brittany, by right of succession from 1008 to his death.
Walter de Coutances was a medieval Anglo-Norman bishop of Lincoln and archbishop of Rouen. He began his royal service in the government of Henry II, serving as a vice-chancellor. He also accumulated a number of ecclesiastical offices, becoming successively canon of Rouen Cathedral, treasurer of Rouen, and archdeacon of Oxford. King Henry sent him on a number of diplomatic missions and finally rewarded him with the bishopric of Lincoln in 1183. He did not remain there long, for he was translated to Rouen in late 1184.
The Angevin Empire describes the possessions of the Angevin kings of England who held lands in England and France during the 12th and 13th centuries. Its rulers were Henry II, Richard I, and John. The Angevin Empire is an early example for composite states.
The House of Plantagenet was a royal house which originated from the lands of Anjou in France. The name Plantagenet is used by modern historians to identify four distinct royal houses: the Angevins, who were also counts of Anjou; the main body of the Plantagenets following the loss of Anjou; and the Plantagenets' two cadet branches, the houses of Lancaster and York. The family held the English throne from 1154, with the accession of Henry II, until 1485, when Richard III died in battle.
Margaret of France was queen of England by marriage to Henry the Young King, and queen of Hungary and Croatia by marriage to Béla III of Hungary.
Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester and 1st Earl of Lincoln (1170–1232), known in some references as the 4th Earl of Chester, was one of the "old school" of Anglo-Norman barons whose loyalty to the Angevin dynasty was consistent but contingent on the receipt of lucrative favours. He has been described as "almost the last relic of the great feudal aristocracy of the Conquest".
The House of Normandy is the usual designation for the family that were the Counts of Rouen, Dukes of Normandy and Kings of England which immediately followed the Norman conquest of England and lasted until the House of Plantagenet came to power in 1154. It included the Viking Rollo and his descendants, and William the Conqueror and his heirs down through 1135. After that it was disputed between William's grandchildren, Matilda, whose husband Geoffrey was the founder of the Angevin Dynasty, and Stephen of the House of Blois.
Robert II or Robert the Dane, Archbishop of Rouen, and Count of Évreux was a powerful and influential prelate, and a family member of and supporter of five dukes of Normandy.
William Longsword was the second ruler of Normandy, from 927 until his assassination in 942.
Joan of England was a queen consort of Sicily and countess consort of Toulouse. She was the seventh child of Henry II, King of England and Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine. From her birth, she was destined to make a political and royal marriage. She married William II of Sicily and later Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse, two very important and powerful figures in the political landscape of Medieval Europe.
Events from the 1170s in England.
Hugh de Cressy was an Anglo-Norman administrator and nobleman. Little is known of his ancestry and he first served two brothers of King Henry II of England before becoming a royal official. He was rewarded with a marriage to an heiress for his service to the king. In England he often served as a royal justice and witnessed documents, which showed his closeness to the king. On the continent, he recruited mercenaries for the royal army and was named constable of the castle of Rouen in the royal lands in France. He died in 1189 after giving lands to various monasteries before his death.
The Angevins were a royal house of French origin that ruled England in the 12th and early 13th centuries; its monarchs were Henry II, Richard I and John. In the 10 years from 1144, two successive counts of Anjou in France, Geoffrey and his son, the future Henry II, won control of a vast assemblage of lands in western Europe that would last for 80 years and would retrospectively be referred to as the Angevin Empire. As a political entity this was structurally different from the preceding Norman and subsequent Plantagenet realms. Geoffrey became Duke of Normandy in 1144 and died in 1151. In 1152 his heir, Henry, added Aquitaine by virtue of his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Henry also inherited the claim of his mother, Empress Matilda, the daughter of King Henry I, to the English throne, to which he succeeded in 1154 following the death of King Stephen.
Henry the Young KingBorn: 28 February 1155 Died: 11 June 1183
as sole ruler
| King of England |
Duke of Normandy
Count of Anjou and Maine
with Henry II
as sole ruler