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Showing posts from April, 2013

Who’s Who? All Those Who Mattered to Henry the Young King. Part I

Henry, known asHenry the Young King (well, yes! he certainly mattered a lot to himself) to distinguish him from his father, king Henry II. He was born on 28 February 1155 as the second child of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. In 1156, upon his elder brother William’s death Henry became his father’s heir and a central figure of his his home and foreign policy. In 1158, aged three, he was betrothed to Marguerite, Louis VII’s first daughter by his second wife, Constance of Castile. The princess brought the Norman Vexin- a heated point of contention between England and France- back under Angevin rule through her dowry. In 1169, Henry II made known that Anjou, Normandy and England should go to young Henry. The latter was declared of age in 1170, settled with a large income and a household of his own (with William Marshal as a tutor in arms), and crowned king of England in his father’s lifetime.

William Marshal(c.1147-1219)- the fourth son of John Marshal (the second by his second wife, S…

The History of William Marshal

William Marshal’s outstanding career and his rise in power would not have been possible without Henry the Young King. From the fourth son and landless knight he had still been in 1170s he eventually became one of the most powerful men in the Angevin empire and during the minority of the future Henry III the regent of England. Some time ago I wrote an article about the beginnings of what was to become William and the Young King’s lifelong friendship. In it I mainly focused on the earlier years spent by William in the Plantagenet household, the years when he served his young lord as tutor in arms, guide and most faithful companion. To read it click here.


Upon William’s death, on 14 May 1219, his eldest son and namesake commissioned one John, a poet to write a poem on an epic scale to celebrate his late father’s life story. Written in Middle French and comprising 19,214 lines in rhyming couplets, the Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal is the only surviving biography of a layman of that t…

Wallingford. 10 April 1155

Just a short note today, but the one that cannot be missed. On 10 April 1155 (Eyton) took place, what can be called, the first official meeting between Henry (the future Young King) and  the barons and nobles of the realm. 
' King Henry [II] holds a great council at Wallingford* whereat the nobles recognize the successional rights of the Princes, William and Henry'(Eyton, p.10)
Henry's father, freshly crowned king Henry II had both his sons, William** and Henry taken to Wallingford, where he called  'together the barons and bishops of the realm to swear allegiance to his eldest son and, in case of William’s death, to Henry as his second heir' (Meade, p.210), a ceremony which neither of the boys would remember (William was two years old at the time, whereas Henry was two months old).  Not a year would pass since the ceremony, when little William, a few months shy of his third birthday, would fall ill and die, the death that for his younger brother would mean a sudden…

The Lion by the Ant was Slain. A Guest Post by Richard Willis

Today I am very happy to welcome my dear friend and Henry the Young King’s benefactor, Richard Willis, who has kindly decided to share with us his brilliant text describing circumstances of the death of Richard I, Henry the Young King’s illustrious younger brother and famous crusader king. The latter died on 6 April 1199 at Chalus. I am sure Henry would not mind sharing his kingdom with his brother for a while, in spite of the fact that the two had usually been at loggerheads. Over to you, Richard…


The date is 6 April 1199 – the Tuesday before Palm Sunday. The location is the Limousin, part of the duchy of Aquitaine, ruled at the time by the great matriarch Eleanor. Her union with the English king Henry II produced eight children – seven of who survived infancy – but there was one she valued above them all. It is that child, her fourth, that she is standing vigil with, for the hour of his death has come.
Just forty-one years old at the time, Richard, king of England – already in possess…

The First Day of April

1 April 1175
After the Great Rebellion of 1173-74 had been won decisively by Henry II, his three eldest sons could do little else but accept their father’s conditions. Those were determined by the so called Treaty of Falaise (September 1174). On 1 April 1175 Henry the Young King did homage to his father at Bur-le-Roi* and the two kings were reconciled. The following persons were present at Bur on this occasion: the archbishop of Rouen, bishops of Bayeux, Avranches, and Rhedon, and earl William de Mandeville. And although after the ceremony was over the father and the son parted- the old king went to Valoins, and the young paid a visit to the court of his father-in-law, Louis VII of France- the meeting at Bur marked the beginning of what was to become the Young King’s “lost” year, as he would have probably called it himself. To learn why the 1175 was “lost” click here.
1 April 1204 On 1 April 1204, Henry’s mother, Eleanor, Queen of England and Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right died, …