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A Few Facts About Henry the Young King

Henry the Young King was the only king of England crowned in his father’s lifetime. In this his father, Henry II followed the continental tradition. The Capetian rulers had their heirs crowned during their reign in order to avoid even a momentary interregnum and disorder. Louis VI, for instance, still active monarch, had his son, also Louis, anointed in Rheims cathedral already in 1131. It was not until 1137 that Louis began his independent rule and only upon his father’s death. The same Louis had his only son, Philip crowned in 1179, a year before he himself died. Today I would like to introduce a few facts about Henry the Young King everyone should know. - Henry (b. 28 February 1155) was not meant to be a king. The crown was to be inherited by his elder brother, William (b.17 August 1153). Unfortunately, at the age of three, William became seriously ill and died, the only child of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, who failed to reach maturity. Upon his untimely passing, Henr
Recent posts

Celebrating Ten Years of Henry the Young King Blog: Interview with Kathryn Warner

  7 November 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of our blog. To celebrate this joyful occasion we have invited a special guest. Kathryn Warner is a historian of the 14th century with a particular focus on Edward II and his reign. In her books she illuminates the lives of the famous figures of the era, but not only that. So far she has written biographies of Edward II, Isabella of France, Hugh Despenser the Younger, the daughters of Edward I, the nieces of Edward II, Philippa of Hainault, John of Gaunt and Richard II. In her latest book she takes us to fourteenth-century London, one of Europe’s largest medieval cities, which she explores using a rich variety of important sources that provide first-hand accounts of everyday life and personal interactions between Londoners on the verge of disaster… the outbreak of the Black Death. Thank you for accepting our invitation, Kathryn. We are both hounoured and thrilled to welcome you to the blog on this special occasion. You supported us and encou

13 August: Remembering Sharon Kay Penman

" As the King of England crossed the inner bailey of Chinon Castle, his brother watched him from an upper-storey window and wished fervently that God would smite him dead. Geoffrey understood perfectly why Cain had slain Abel, his younger brother, the best-beloved..." These are the opening lines of  Time and Chance , a novel of historical fiction, written by Sharon Kay Penman. The first Penman book I have ever read. Twelve years ago it opened the whole new world for me. I was surfing the Internet, looking for some good historical novels and came across it by pure chance. I remember as if it was yesterday. Then other Penman books followed,  The Devil's Brood  among them, with the poignantly perfect portrait of Henry the Young King, with all his virtues and vices.  And Ms. Penman herself... Kind and generous spirit, whom I was honoured and happy to know. Not personally - after all there always was that pesky ocean between us - but we emailed each other for ten years.  Last

The French King Held The Palm of Victory: Bouvines 1214

… on 27  July, a Sunday, having killed many in the conflict the French king held the palm of victory. In the battle these distinguished fighters were captured: Pluto the German, Ferrand, count of Flanders, William of Salisbury, Renaud of Bolougne, the seneschal of Otto and one hundred and fifty other knights of illustrious status... In the blazing sun of July 1214, t hirty-one years after Henry the Young King's untimely passing,  at Bouvines, Flanders, two armies faced each other. At the head of the larger one stood Henry the Young King's nephew, Holy Roman Emperor, Otto IV, at the head of the the lesser one, the French king and Henry the Young King's one time brother-in-law, Philip II. At the same time Henry the Young King's brother John, the king of England, was waging war in Poitou, trying to regain what had been lost to Philip in the previous years. Philip sent his son and heir, Louis [the future Louis VIII] to fight him. William Longespee, Earl of Salisbury, at Bou

22 July 1183: First Royal Burial at Rouen

In 1183, t he citizens of Rouen had almost gone to war with the citizens of Le Mans to have the first royal burial in their cathedral. Fortunately, it never came to blows, but only after much ado and the royal intervention.   On 22 July, the body of Henry the Young King  ‘wrapped in those linen clothes that had been used at his coronation, and upon which the sacred oil had flowed’, was finally interred peacefully near the high altar,  next to his Norman ancestors and his paternal uncle, William, the youngest son of Empress Matilda and Geoffrey V le Bel. If we are to believe the eyewitnesses, the forty-day long journey from Martel, Limousin, where the king died, did not corrupt the body and it was perfectly preserved. A miracle, it was stated.  Rouen and the Cathedral in 1525, from the "Livre des Fontaines" by Jacques Le Lieur But how did the two capital cities, Rouen and Le Mans almost go to war over the king's dead body? It was a matter of prestige and opportunity. Accor

London. A Fourteenth - Century City and Its People. A Trip to Medieval London with Kathryn Warner

I am thrilled to announce that hsitorian Kathryn Warner's insightful new book, London. A Fourteenth-Century City and Its People, is out from Pen and Sword History. This book is a road map for all of us who seek to learn more about life in London from 1300 to 1350. It is going to provide us with such useful information as different diseases (we are unfamiliar with today), jobs and occupations no longer existant, pastimes the Londoners enjoyed, the fate of the drunkards and disorderly, prices of renting houses and accomodation and dozen of other aspects of life.  " Using a rich variety of important sources that provide first-hand accounts of everyday life and personal interactions between loved ones, friends, foreigners and foes alike, such as the Assize of Nuisance, Coroners’ Rolls, wills, household accounts, inquisitions post mortem and many more, this chronicle begins at the start of the fourteenth century and works its way up to the first mass outbreak of the Black Death at

Neither Arthur Nor Alexander: Celebrating Henry the Young King's Birthday

"He [the Marshal] now returned to his lord the Young King, who had no peer in prowess and largesse. Neither Arthur nor Alexander, who devoted their lives to prowess, achieved so much in so little time; had God granted him longer life he would have surpassed them both in prowess and fine deeds. And he gathered about him such a splendid company of knights that no emperor or king or count ever had so many of their quality: the like was never seen: he had the pick of all the best young knights of France and Flanders and Champagne..." In celebration of Henry the Young King's birthday  I want to present my birthday gift. Perhaps not as precious as a Norwegian gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) - the most welcome addition to Henry's Salisbury mews - but still something quite of a value: a few words concerning personages, circumstances and rituals centred around Henry's arrival into this world.  Parents Our Henry was the second son of Henry II of England and Eleanor, Queen of E

Remembering Sharon Kay Penman

August 13th marks the birthday anniversary of one of the greatest authors of historical fiction of all time. Had she lived Sharon Kay Penman would have turned 76. Unfortunately, she passed away this past January, leaving the world deprived of all the books she still could have written. She was not only a favourite historical fiction author of mine, but also a pen friend. We stayed in touch, emailing each other for ten years. I have been honoured and blessed to be called by Sharon "her Polish friend". To celebrate her 76th birthday I have written a few words for medievalists.net. Here they are: Sharon Kay Penman is the author of ten critically acclaimed historical novels: T he Sunne in Splendour ,  Here be Dragons ,  Falls the Shadow ,  The Reckoning ,  When Christ and his Saints Slept ,  Time and Chance ,  Devil’s Brood ,  Lionheart ,  A King’s Ransom  and  The Land Beyond the Sea .  She has also written four medieval mysteries:  The Queen’s Man ,  Cruel as the Grave ,  Drago