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Showing posts from January, 2016

Henry and Richard. "Two Princes Born Of The Same King, So Noble, And Yet So Different"

Between Poitiers and I'Ile Bouchard and Mirebeau and Loundun and Chinon someone has dared to build a fair castle at Clairvaux, in the midst of the plain. I should not wish the young King to know about it or see, for he would not find it to his liking; but I fear, so white is the stone, that he cannot fail to see it from Mathefelon.
Thus wrote Bertran de Born in 1182, the year preceeding the Young King's untimely death, and although geographically he might have been wrong, he was right that someone did dare to build a castle at Clairvaux in the lands nominally belonging to Henry the Young King. That "someone" was Henry's younger brother Richard, the then duke of Aquitaine. Quite opposite to what Bertran said, Richard's transgression must have been much to Henry's liking and the troubadour knew about it when composing the lines. At the time the brothers went beyond the point where amends could be made and rifts mended, but was it always so? Did they always r…

Short Notes On Work In Progress II

Henry/Richard post I am currently working on is getting longer and longer as I often find myself straying from the main subject matter, probing into subthreads found in the primary (and secondary) sources I am working with and finding myself totally immersed in the family history. And it is quite a history, isn't it? Of course, I am staying in Henry and Richard's company all the time, but my attention is being drawn to the aspects of their lives different from the one I am discussing in my post. 
                                                               Gaucelm Faidit
And thus I have come across this quote from Kate Norgate's England under the Angevin Kings (it has struck me that she found Henry such a puzzling figure, she had nothing but condemning words for him, true, but she sounded genuinely perplexed as well, which I find quite "refreshing" :) "... one of the most puzzling figures in the history of the time ... this undutiful, rebellious son, this co…

Short Notes On Work In Progress...

As you may know I am currently working on a post about Henry and his younger brother Richard who was to go down in history as Couer de Lion. When researching and re-reading, I have come across this - as I would call it - key quote concerning Henry II and the way he treated his eldest son and heir. I am sharing it with you now, but will make proper use of it and discuss it at length when writing about Henry, his younger brother John and who was the real Lackland in the family.

In his biography of Richard, John Gillingham gives a vivid description of Henry senior, quoting and analyzing works of Henry's courtiers, Walter Map among them. It was Walter who was to report that when ruling and dealing with his subjects his liege lord usually employed methods adopted from his mother, Empress Matilda. According to Walter "he seems to have dealt with those who came to him with requests by saying that he would do something for them, and then repeating this promise whenever he had to, post…

Happy New Year!

We would like to wish a Happy New Year to all our readers. May 2016 be a good one, as it is certainly going to be for Henry the Young King, whose biography by Matthew Strickland is out on 18 May. We have written about ithere. Before it is published though, we are going to discuss a few matters concerning Henry and his family. In the upcoming months we will host our friend and Eleanor of Aquitaine expert, Ulrik Kristiansen with a series of posts about Henry and his illustrious Lady Mother, we are going to take a closer look at Henry and Richard and determine whether the animosity between them has not been a myth to be dealt with, we are going to prove that Henry, not John, was the real Lackland and that Bertran de Born was not that bad as Dante chose to depict him in his Divine Comedy. These are but a few major topics we are going to focus on in the opening months of 2016. We will be happy if you come and join us :-)