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Those Who Did Not Forget

As you can see I cannot live without Henry and even when I take a blog break my thoughts turn to him. But to the point, 22 July 1183 was the day when Henry's body, ‘wrapped in those linen clothes that had been used at his coronation, and upon which the sacred oil had flowed’, was interred peacefully near the high altar of the Rouen Cathedral, according to the Young King's wish. The citizens of the Norman capital must have been satisfied- after all they had fought tooth and nail to have their first royal burial. You can read about it here.

Fortunately for Henry there were a few friendly souls who did not forget about him the very moment he was buried. First of all, William Marshal fulfilled his dying wish and took his crusader's cloak to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. He later founded a house of Augustinian canons at his estate of Cartmel, Lancashire, in memory of the two kings he had served: Henry II and Henry the Young King ‘my lord’. In 1184 Geoffrey Duke of Brittany, together with his wife, Constance founded a chaplaincy at the cathedral of Rouen ‘for the soul of his late brother, the young king Henry, with a rent of 20 l. per annum from his mills at Guingamp’. Troubadour Bertran de Born, who knew the Young King and urged him to support Richard’s unruly barons in the rebellion against their overlord, wrote a moving planh bewailing Henry’s unexpected and premature death. In 1194, eleven years after Young Henry’s passing, his cousin, Countess Eleanor of Beaumont-sur-Oise made a grant to the abbey de Notre-Dame d’Ourscamp for the souls of her late sister, Isabelle, Philip of Flanders’s wife, her present and past husbands, and ‘of the Young King Henry, my cousin’. Also Henry’s half-brother, Geoffrey, already the Archbishop of York, made a grant for his soul. Gervase of Tilbury, the Young Henry’s former chaplain immortalized him in his Otia Imperialia written for Henry’s nephew, Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor. In 2009, Sharon Kay Penman, an American historical novelist, vividly brought Young Henry to life in the last part of her Angevin trilogy, Devil’s Brood, making him, with all his charms and whims, frailties and merits, a complete human being.


  1. Surprised to see this post as you said you were taking abreak - the lure of young Henry is irresistible :). Watched Beckett, the film with Richard Burton, and kept a lookout for the young king - not portrayed very flatteringly I'm afraid.

  2. Unfortunately or fortunately, scarcely a day passes without me thinking about Henry :-)
    I haven't seen the Becket film yet, but in the TV series Devil's Crown with the brilliant Brian Cox as Henry II, the young Henry is not portrayed very flatteringly, either. Cliches, I'm afraid.

  3. Well, as long as your husband doesn't mind the rival. :-)

    I'm fascinated by a certain Arminius, though there's not enough material for a blog dedicated solely to him. He features as main character in a novel I'm writing instead.

  4. Gebriele, I would love to read your novel one day! Thank you for dropping by.

    An no, my husband doesn't mind :-D Ge got used to that there are three of us in our marriage :-D

  5. Just saw Becket, too, the other day - what a coincidence. :-) I give talks on Eleanor's life, among other fascinating medieval persons, and she is not portrayed very flatteringly, either. However, both Burton and O'Toole give such masterful performances that despite the Eleanor-bashing (and Henry-bashing) I can only recommend the movie (and Lion in Winter, too). Check it out, Kasia! (And thanks for a great, Henry-nerdy blog! I love it!)

    1. Thank you so much, Ulrik! I'm so very happy and flattered you find my blog interesting. I'm sure that Henry is happy, too.

      I saw Lion in Winter (both versions) and I loved it, although I missed Henry a little bit:-) I need to see Becket in the near future. Thank you for the recommendation.

    2. Thank *you*. It's my pleasure reading!

      BTW: Do you know of any author's who've written something a bit more elaborate about Henry's relation to his mum? There's (obviously) a lot about his relation to Henry Sr, but ... not so much, it seems to me, about Henry and Eleanor.

      Quick edit: Wouldja believe ... that CAPTCHA 'prove-your-not-a-robot' I got for this post first was ... 1183! Perhaps Henry TYK is reading along somewhere ... :-)

  6. God, how very exciting! 1183... This surely means something :-)

    As for Henry and his mum, I would recommend Ralph Turner's biography of Eleanor. I was pleasantly surprised that the author wrote a separate chapter about Eleanor's relations with her children.

    You're right- it is usually Henry-Henry relationship that is brought into focus. If anyone mentions Eleanor as a mother it's always about the role she played in the Great Revolt of 1173-74 (I mean her relationship with Henry or Geoffrey- her involvement in Richard's reign is another matter).

    1. I'm reading Turner currently so I'll keep a lookout for those passages/chapters. Thanks! It is fascinating so much family matters and political matters where linked in those days, including - probably - the prime reasons for Eleanor's conspiracy with Henry Jr and the others against Henry Sr. A pity the source material is so scarce. However, your blog is certainly making the best of what's there, and putting it in context. And for that I am grateful, too. I feel I can only understand Eleanor and her times best, if I don't focus chiefly on everything from Eleanor's 'position' but also delve into for example what we know about the Young King and his life. So thanks again. I'll stick around! :-)

    2. Have you read Devil's Brood by Sharon Kay Penman, perchance? I think that she gets as close as possible to the truth about Henry and Eleanor and their turbulent relationship. The scale of her research is outstanding. Let's take the Young King, for example- you could read Devil's Brood instead of my blog, and to the same effect (perhaps I shouldn't have said that:-)). I highly recommend her Angevin trilogy.

    3. I haven't read either Penman or Strickland. I will definitely check them out - thank you again^2 :-) For you, I suppose I would recommend Warren's magnificent Henry II bio - if I wasn't sure you'd read it already! :-)

    4. Thanks Ulrik, I read the fragments of Warren's bulky volume, the ones about the Young king, of course :-) I guess i cannot forgive Professor Warren his harsh criticism and the famous "charming, vain, idle spendthrift" sentence. In my view, historian shouldn't be judgemental and express his opinion freely, but rather focus on facts (which leaves us with charming and spendthrift only :-)).

      Thank you again for frequent visits to our blog :-D

    5. Oh, I hadn't gotten around to that part yet. (It is a big volume after all ... ) Anyway, Warren is also skirting a bit too easily over his assessment of Eleanor's influence at Henry's court. Guess it comes with the territory, who you set your sights on also looms the largest. Or something like that :-)

  7. As for non-fiction, I would suggest the works of Professor Matthew Strickland.


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