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Showing posts from February, 2013

Happy Brithday My Liege!

...a son, Henry, was born in London to King Henry of England and Queen Eleanor on 28 February [1155] and was baptized by Richard bishop of London. (Diceto, Images of History).

Happy Birthday to Henry the Young King who is 858 years old today. I wish I could be at Rouen cathedral at the very moment to pray at his tomb. Instead I want to present my birthday gift, perhaps not as precious as a Norwegian gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) would be - 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 England and Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right (click here to read a short biographical note). At the time of his birth Eleanor was thirty-one* and already a mother of three children, two daughters - Marie (b.1145) and Alix (b.1151) - by her first husband, Louis VI…

Marguerite of France, the Young Queen (c. 1157/1158-1197)

Marguerite of France, Henry the Young king's wife has been even more neglected by historians than her husband. Not much is known about the young queen, even the exact date of her birth remains unknown. Not very unusual, concerning the treatment of women in the Middle Ages, but in case of Marguerite there was more to that. Her arrival into this world must have been a great disappointment to her father, Louis VII of France. A few years before he had divorced Eleanor of Aquitaine- ironically Marguerite’s future mother-in-law- because he had found her unable to produce a male heir. His second marriage, as it turned out, did not have a very auspicious beginning either, for in 1158 Donna Constanza of Castile had a cheek to give birth to one more daughter and leave Louis without so much-awaited male heir. Marguerite was the third daughter of Louis, the first by his second wife. She was born when her father was already thirty-eight and despairing over lack of a son. From his first marriag…

The Illustrious Younger Brother, Richard Coeur-De-Lion in Fiction. A Guest Post by Joan Battistuzzi and Stephanie Ling

Today I am delighted to welcome my friends, Joan and Stephanie, whom I met thanks to Sharon Kay Penman’s wonderful Angevin trilogy. The ladies were most kind to share with us their ideas concerning Ms. Penman’s latest novel, Lionheart, in which Henry the Young King’s illustrious younger brother Richard Couer-de-Lion emerges ‘flesh and bone’, the true man behind the myth, even more irresistible than the legend has it. I do hope that Henry is not going to turn in his grave because of the text devoted entirely to his younger brother (of whom, it is well known, he had always been jealous) and posted here, in his own realm. The next texts are going to be entirely Henry the Young King-centric, I promise. How could they not? After all, February is the month when we celebrate his birthday.
Now let’s listen to the two completely distinctive voices ringing true and authentic in their admiration of the lionhearted king and a certain American novelist who gloriously brought him back to life. Over …