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Showing posts from January, 2013

Matilda and Geoffrey: Henry's Paternal Grandparents

‘… on 7 September 1151, the victorious duke of the Normans, of the people of Anjou, Touraine and Maine, returning from a royal council [held in Paris by Louis VII of France], having been taken seriously ill with a fever [after he went to swim on a hot day] … collapsed on his couch. Then, looking into the future of his land and his people with the spirit of prophecy, he forbade Henry his heir to introduce the customs of Normandy or England into his own county, nor the reverse, as it might be, according to the succession of changing fortune’. This is how John of Marmoutier described Henry the Young King’s paternal grandfather, Geoffrey le Bel of Anjou’s sudden death at the Chateau-du-Loir, in the Pays de la Loire region of France. Geoffrey was only thirty-nine and did not live long enough to see his eldest son, Henry crowned king of England. He was buried in the church of St Julien at Le Mans ‘in a most noble tomb which the righteous bishop, William of pious fame, had built fittingly…

Unyielding Fathers, Rebellious Sons. A Guest Post by Ken John

Today I am very happy to welcome my friend and Henry the Young King’s benefactor, Ken John, who is currently working on his first novel set during the reign of Edward I. Ken has very kindly decided to share with us his ideas concerning respectively the Young King’s and Edward’s situations and give us the glimpse of his book. As we shall see, there was a time in Edward’s life when he was on the verge of rebellion against his father, Henry the Young King’s nephew, Henry III. I think that in the course of reading we shall trace some striking similarities between the Young King and the young Edward. 


                                           Unyielding Fathers, Rebellious Sons

Reading a passage from Ralph Turner’s biography of Eleanor of Aquitaine, I was struck by the similarities between the discontent shown by Henry and Eleanor’s sons, leading to their rebellion(s) and that which occurred, albeit to a lesser extent, by Edward I and his father Henry III. The following passage is relevant…

New Year’s Day 1176. I Am No Bird To Be Mewed Up…

Henry the Young King spent Christmas 1175 at Windsor together with his father, the elder king Henry. As the year came to an end and the new year 1176 began he was the most unhappy young king in Christendom. Exactly two months shy of his twenty-first birthday, “tall in stature,… fair among the children of man…” (Gervase of Tilbury) and “…of the most handsome countenance” (Robert of Torigni), staying in what he considered his house arrest, deprived of his vitae fons, the tournaments, he had a real cause to complain. He spent almost entire year 1175 on English soil, not out of his own choice but as the result of the disastrous- at least to him- Great Revolt. And although he had his dearest friend, his carissimus, William Marshal with him all the time, he took the whole situation badly. Earlier in 1175 he was to remark:
… it could be a source of much harm to me to stay idle for so long, and I am extremely vexed by it. I am no bird to be mewed up; a young man who does not travel around coul…