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Showing posts from May, 2014

Grandpas, Swords and Archbishops: Three Random Facts about Henry the Young King

In the spring of 1183 Henry the Young King was leading military campaign against his younger brother Richard [later Lionheart] and his father, Henry II, treading the path that was to be his last. On 23 May, together with his knights and mercenaries, he seized control of Richard’s castle at Aixe, hollow victory since the Duke and his soldiers had already abandoned the keep. Three days later, on 26 May in Caen, the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops of Bayeux, Evreux, Lisieux, Sees and Rochester, acting on Henry II’s orders, excommunicated all who “impeded the making of peace between the king and his sons”. All with the exception of the Young King.Henry could not have known that*. He was in the town of Uzerche, suffering from- as it may seem- the first bout of illness which was to kill him seventeen days later. He quickly came to himself, though, and joined forces with Hugh of Burgundy and Raymond V of Tolouse, his much-awaited allies.
On a merrier note, here are a few facts about…

18 May 1152. The Wedding at Poitiers

Happy Wedding Anniversary to Henry the Young King's parents, Eleanor of Aquitaine (1124-1204) and Henry fitz Empress (1133-1189)! On Sunday, 18 May 1152, they were married in the cathedral of St Pierre, Poitiers, the match that was to result in forging the greatest empire of the 12th century-Europe. Henry, the eldest son of Geoffrey le Bel of Anjou and Empress Matilda, already the duke of Normandy, heir to England, Anjou and Maine, was lucky to win the greatest prize on the then marital market- the former queen of France now free to be wed again. Duke William X’s eldest daughter and heiress, Eleanor, two months earlier was divorced, her first marriage declared null and void on grounds of consanguinity. For fifteen years she had been the consort of Louis VII of France (1120-1180), but apparently displeased her husband with bearing him only two daughters, Marie (b.1145) and Alix (b.1151). By marrying Henry fitz Empress just eight weeks after her first marriage was annulled she must …

Book Review: "A King's Ransom" by Sharon Kay Penman. A Guest Post by Ms. Joan Battistuzzi

In the opening days of May 1179, Richard, Duke of Aquitaine, the younger brother of Henry the Young King, was besieging Taillebourg Castle. The fortress, then held by one of Richard's barons, Geoffrey de Rancon, was considered so impregnable that no one before had even try to lay siege to it. Richard took it in four days. In the opening days of May 2014 my friend , Joan Battistuzzi, was writing the review of the freshly read A King's Ransom by Sharon Kay Penman. The book, published on 4 March 2014, is the last in Ms. Penman's brilliant Angevin series. Joan kindly agreed to share her thoughts and impressions with Henry the Young King's readers and we are very happy to welcome her to our humble abode. Over to you, Joan...
Sharon Kay Penman's recently published, A King's Ransom, is that lovely rarity, a perfect novel.  In her continuing saga of Richard the Lionheart, who leaves the Holy Land only to end up at the notorious Trifels Castle as Heinrich von Hohenstaufe…