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Much Ado About... Coronation

14 June 1170 saw a new king of England crowned at Westminster Abbey with all the pomp and ceremony of a royal coronation. Later the coronation was to be found illegal by many an important personages, but at the time nothing could spoil the day for fifteen-year-old Prince Henry who from now on would be called Henry the Young King to distinguish him from his father, Henry II of England. I wrote about the event itself and the commotion it caused here. Today, let me just remind that Henry (b. 28 February 1155) was not meant to be king. The crown was to go to his elder brother, William (b.17 August 1153). Unfortunately, William became seriously ill and died, aged three, the only child of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, who failed to survive infancy. Upon his untimely passing, Henry, the second in line, became his father’s heir and from 1170 a co-king of England. Pity that only in name. Had his father been more  eager to share power and responsibilty with him, the history might have taken a different course. 

Speaking of which, I was delighted to come across a fascinating interview with Thomas Asbridge, historian and writer, known for both the BBC documentary (I had a small input in) and latest book on Henry's most loyal companion, William Marshal. The Tudor fans must forgive me, but I skipped the interview on Henry VIII and only listened to the one devoted to Henry the Young King. What I heard made me think that if not good, at least better times are coming for England's forgotten king. Find out what makes me think so here. Mr Asbridge mentions Professor Matthew Strickland's articles on Henry and the biography he is currently working on, so I guess he knows what he is talking about :-)


  1. I watched that documentary a few months back. I'll check out the other links.

    1. The interview is really worth listening to :-) At last someone to stand up for Henry not only in books but also in media. I do hope that Mr Asbridge's talk will renew/spark the interest in Henry.

  2. Great post. Shared on fb. xx :)

    1. Enjoyed the article Kasia.
      In Asbridge's The Greatest Knight, Asbridge puts Eleanor of Aquitaine at the Young King's coronation, when William FitzStephen tells us she was in Normandy. The William Marshal biography is packed with errors. However, his work on the Young King in that book is probably its saving grace and an interesting take.

    2. Thank you, Marsha. Much appreciated.

      I am happy to hear you enjoyed it, Elizabeth. Yes, I remember you warned your readers and William admirers against all the errors in the biography. Still I will read it for the sake of the Young King :-) Although, as I suspect, much of what is said in the book has been also said in the interview.


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