Henry, known as Henry 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
back under Angevin rule through her dowry. In 1169, Henry II made known that France- Anjou, Normandy and 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. England
William Marshal (c.1147-1219)- the fourth son of John Marshal (the second by his second wife, Sybil, sister of Patrick, Earl of Salisbury); in 1170 appointed tutor in arms of the newly crowned Henry the Young King. The latter’s mentor, guide and best friend for thirteen years, loyal to his young lord until the latter’s sudden death on 11 June 1183. Fulfilling Henry’s deathbed wish, he undertook the pilgrimage to the
Holy Land to take the Young King’s crusader cloak to the
Holy Sepulchre. He remained in the service of the Plantagenets for the rest of
his life, becoming- through his
marriage to Isabel of Striguil- one of the most powerful men in the empire
(lord of Striguil and Earl of Pembroke) and during the minority of Henry III the regent of . England
The children of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine
Henry II, king of
(1133- 1189), the first of the Plantagenet monarchs and one of the greatest medieval
rulers. Father of Henry the Young King. His vast domains stretched from the
Scottish border to the England Pyrenees. He also added
to his kingdom. After succeeding Stephen in 1154, he successfully undertook the
difficult task of restoring law and order that had been lost during the civil
war of the late king’s reign. He not only reestablished but also revolutionized
the legal system, and regained control over the unruly barons, which Stephen
had lost. Unfortunately, Henry proved to be not so skilled a father: due to his
unwillingness to share power, his sons kept rebelling against him. Ireland
Aquitaine (1124-1204), queen of England
and duchess of in her own right. Mother of Henry
the Young King, one of the most remarkable figures of the 12th-
century Aquitaine Europe. Having inherited Aquitaine in 1137, she married Louis (later Louis VII),
the successor of the French king, and shortly afterwards became queen of . The
couple had two daughters, Marie (future Countess of Champagne) and Alix (future
Countess of Blois), but their relationship deteriorated. Their marriage was
annulled in 1152. Two months later- which must have shocked her contemporaries
and her ex-husband- Eleanor married Henry of Anjou. Within two years they were
crowned King and Queen of England. The couple had eight children. Seven of them
survived infancy and reached maturity. France
Marguerite of France (1158-1198), Henry’s consort; the third daughter (first by his second marriage) of Louis VII of France; married to Henry the Young King in 1160, when she was merely two years old; brought the Norman Vexin to her husband’s family in her dowry; after Henry’s untimely death married to Bela III of Hungary (c.1148-1196).
William (June 1177)- Henry and Marguerite’s only child. The boy arrived before he was due, and died shortly afterwards. Interestingly enough, there are two different versions describing his birth and apparently some controversy arose over it at the time. Roger of Howden noted that “… queen Margaret, the wife of the king, the son, being pregnant, went to her father [Louis VII], the king of
France, and, on arriving at , was delivered of a still-born son. The
Franks, however, asserted that this son of the king was born alive and was
baptized, and named William”. (The Annals, Vol I, p.456). In this case
the Franks must have known better. After all they were there, receiving the
first-hand information. Paris
Henry the Young King’s brothers: William of
(1153-1156). Henry’s eldest
brother The only child of Eleanor and
Henry who failed to survive infancy. When he died in 1156 he was a few months
shy of his third birthday. He was buried in Reading Abbey, beside his
great-grandfather, Henry I. Upon his death, Henry (our Henry) became his
father’s heir. Richard I, king of Poitiers
(1157-1199), Henry’s younger brother, who succeeded their father in 1189. A crusader king, champion of Christendom, and
brilliant military commander. In 1172
formally recognized the Duke of Aquitaine. Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany (1158-1186), Henry’s younger
brother, since 1181 Duke of Brittany through his marriage to Constance, Conan
of Brittany’s heiress. A capable administrator and shrewd ruler, according to
Gerald of Wales “his were the powers of language able to throw two kingdoms
into confusion”. John (1166-1216), Henry’s
youngest brother, in 1199 succeeded Richard as king of England . In 1173 the matter of
John’s inheritance brought his eldest brother, Henry the Young King to rebel
against their father. Geoffrey
(c.1152-1212)- Henry’s half-brother, the eldest illegitimate son of Henry II; during the Great Revolt of 1173-74 stood firmly by his father’s side
and won his name fighting the rebels in England. In the aftermath of the
uprising appointed chancellor to Henry the Young King. Since 1175 Bishop-elect of Lincoln (resigned the office in 1182),
since 1181 Chancellor of England and since 1189 Archbishop of York. England
Henry the Young King’s sisters: Matilda Duchess of Saxony and
(1156-1189), Henry’s sister, one
year his junior. In 1168 she became the second wife of Henry the Lion, duke of
Saxony and Bavaria .
During her husband’s absences (his pilgrimage to the Bavaria Holy
Land in 1172-73), despite her youth, Matilda often administered
his vast lands. Matilda and Henry had six children. One of their sons, Otto
became Holy Roman Emperor. Eleanor-Leonora
(1161-1214) Henry’s sister, in 1170 betrothed to Alfonso VIII, King of Castile, Toledo and Extremadura, she married him in September 1177, the match arranged to secure the
southern border of her father’s continental domains, with as her dowry. Of all Henry’s
sisters, it was Leonora who enjoyed as great political influence as their
mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Joan,
Queen of Gascony Sicily (1165-1199) Henry’s
youngest sister, in 1177 married to William (1155-1189), king of Naples and .
After his death in 1189 she was imprisoned by her husband’s successor, Tancred
and held in captivity for several months. It was Joan’s brother Richard, king
of Sicily ,
who came to her rescue, ensuring her release and return of the dowry paid to
William on her marriage. In 1196 she took Raymond VI of England (1156-1222) as her second husband. Toulouse
Henry’s half-sisters (separated from their mother upon their parents’ divorce in 1152; raised at their father’s court): Marie (1145-1198) countess of
Champagne for over thirty years, the eldest daughter of Eleanor
of Aquitaine by Louis VII of .
Best remembered for her associations with Chretien de Troyes. Under her and her
husband, Henry the Liberal’s (1152-81) patronage the court of Champagne and its
literature flowered. Skilled administrator and politician. In the count’s
eighteen-month absence (June 1179- February 1181) Marie ruled the county in his
name, the role she was later to assume again upon her husband’s death in 1181,
this time as a regent (from March 1181 to May 1187) for her eldest son Henry
and again in 1190 upon Henry’s departure for the Holy Land. Alix (1151–1198), the second daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and
Louis VII of France; in 1164 married to Theobald V the Good, Count of
Blois (1152-91), the younger brother of Marie’s husband, Henry of Champagne. France
Henry the Young King’s grandparents: on his mother’s side: William X, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, and Count of Poitou (c.1099-1137); Aénor of Châtellerault, duchess of Aquitaine (c.1103-1130); on his father’s side: Geoffrey Plantagenet ‘le Bel’, count of Anjou, Touraine and Maine (1113-1151); Empress Matilda, Lady of the English (1102-1167).
Henry’s uncles on his father’s side: Geoffrey, Count of
(1134-1158) and William, Count of Poitou (1136-1164)- the
two younger brothers of Henry II of England
Petronilla (Alix) of Aquitaine (c.1125-1151)- Henry’s aunt, the younger sister of Eleanor of Aquitaine; illegally- this is at least how the Pope saw it- married to Count Raoul I of Vermandois (1117-1152), the seneschal of France, who had his first marriage (to Eleanor of Champagne, sister of King Stephen of England) annulled. The match led to a war with Theobald of Champagne (Eleanor of Champagne’s brother) and excommunication of the couple by Pope Innocent II.
Henry’s cousins: Elisabeth/Isabelle of Vermandois* (d.1182)- the elder daughter of Petronilla of Aquitaine and Raoul of Vermandois; married to Philip of Flanders, who after Raoul II’s death in 1167 obtained all of Vermandois and Valois ‘and had many other fiefs from the honour of Vermandois on the part of his wife Elisabeth’ (Gilbert of Mons, p.51). Raoul II the Leper of Vermandois (d.1167)- the only son of Petronilla of Aquitaine and Raoul of Vermandois; being still under age succeeded his father in 1152, with Ivo count of Soissons and lord of Nesle in custody of the county; died of leprosy. After his death Vermadois went to his elder sister Elisabeth. Eleanor of Vermandois** (d.1214)- the younger daughter of Petronilla of Aquitaine and Raoul of Vermandois; married four times: 1. Godfrey of Hainaut (d. 1163), 2. William IV count of Nevers (d.1168), 3. Matthew count of
(d.1173), 4. Matthew III of Beaumont-sur-Oise (d.1208), grand chamberlain of Boulogne . France
Louis VII, king of France (1120-1180), father-in-law of Henry the Young King; first husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine; succeeded his father, Louis VI le Gros in 1137; married thrice; his first daughter by his second wife became Henry the Young King’s consort.
Philip Augustus, king of France (1165-1223)- Henry the Young King’s brother-in-law; the only son of Louis VII of
crowned king in his father’s lifetime in 1190. France
* Elisabeth’s alleged love affair with Walter de Fontaines was one of the greatest scandals of the 12th century. Walter was put to death after he and the countess had been caught in adultery by Elisabeth’s husband. The knight denied fervently and wanted to prove his innocence, but was ignored. Philip had him tied hand and foot and put to death in most humiliating manner. The wretch was wounded with swords and clubs, and later suspended by his feet in a latrine hole until he was dead. Roger of Hoveden in his Annals called Walter’s death “shocking”. Philip was to paid for this act of cruelty. Walter’s family allied with the lord of Guise and ravaged the count’s lands in retaliation. To stop them, Philip was forced to pay them compensation. Elisabeth was punished as well. Philip took over all her titles and lands. I have also come across the information that he had her placed in a convent, where she lived out her days. She died in 1182.
** In 1194, eleven years after the Young Henry’s passing, Eleanor, the then countess of Beaumont-sur-Oise made a grant to the abbey de Notre-Dame d’Ourscamp for the souls of her late sister, Elisabeth/Isabelle, her present and past husbands, and ‘of the Young King Henry, my cousin’. As Professor Crouch has pointed out in his excellent Tournament the two, Eleanor and the Young King, must have often met on the occasion of the numerous tournaments held in the north of today’s
The Annals of Roger of Howden.
Trans. by Henry T. Riley. Internet Archive of Northeastern University Libraries Vol I.
Chronicle of Hainaut by Gilbert of
into English by Laura Napran. The Boydell Press, 2005. Mons
Images of History by Ralph of Diceto in The Plantagenet Chronicles ed. by Dr Elizabeth Hallam.
Edition, 2002. Greenwich
Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy by Kenneth J. Panton. Google Books.
by Marion Meade. Pheonix Press Paperback, 2002.. Aquitaine
William Marshal. Court, Career and Chivalry in the Angevin Empire 1147-1219 by David Crouch.Longman, 1990
Tournament by David Crouch. Hambledon Continuum, 2005.
The Angevin Empire by John Gillingham. Edward Arnold, 1984.
Aristocratic Women in Medieval
ed. by Theodore Evergates. France
Press, 1999. University of Pennsylvania
The Aristocracy in the
1100-1300 by Theodore Evergates. Google
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Archbishop Geoffrey Plantagenet and the Chapter of
by D.L.Douie. York St. Anthony’s Press, 1960.