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August Newsletter

I beg your forgiveness, dear Henry the Young King Readers! I have neglected our Lesser Land lately because of a full-time job I have taken at the court of a certain duke named... not surprisingly "Henry" :-) You can read about him on Kathryn Warner's wonderful blog, where we - the duke and I - were entertained by the lovely Kathryn and HM Edward II. As for our little realm, I promise to return as soon as summer is over. In the meantime, a few texts to recommend:

                        Plaque commemorating Geoffrey in Notre Dame Cathedral Paris. Photo courtesy of Malcolm Craig

In the closing days of August 1186, Henry the Young King's younger brother, Geoffrey of Brittany (b. 23 September 1158) met his untimely end while participating in the tournament at Paris. I wrote about it here and here. He went to the French court to plot against his father with Philippe Auguste. As for the latter, we celebrated his birthday on 21 August. Philippe was Henry the Young King's brother-in-law, the younger half-brother of Henry's queen, Marguerite. I wrote about Philippe's coronation and the role Henry the Young King played in it here. On 14 August 1174 the last phase of the Great Revolt of 1173-74 came to an end at Rouen, when Henry II and Louis VII of France came to terms. You can read about the siege of Rouen here. In three days, on 27 August, we will be celebrating the 843rd aqnniversary of Henry's second coronation - here's my last year's Winchester post. And finally, what a treat! The day that we know Henry's exact whereabouts when he was blowing horn at Domfront. Sounds a little bit enigmatic, doesn't it? :-) Let me explain, on 23 August 1169, Henry was at Domfront, hunting with his father, when the papal legates, Gratian and Vivian, arrived in the town. They had come to reconcile Henry II with the exiled Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket. As William fitz Stephen reported in his biography of Becket, the elder king returned late from hunting and paid a visit to the curial officials at their lodgings. While they were exchanging compliments, the king's son (our Henry) took centre stage arriving with his party, all blowing their horns and bringing the stag they had killed as a present to the envoys. John Guy in his biography of Becket calls it "a carefully staged act of deliberate provocation". The puppeteer who masterminded the scene must have been Henry II, of course, for I doubt that his fourteen-year-old son could come up with the idea like that. The time would show that Henry's father would not hesitate to employ various methods of beguiling the legates into finding in his favour. The stag scene was just the beginning of a cat and mouse game he would play.


Lastly, two texts which made my blood boil, but just for a while :-). The first because it's so full of misconceptions at some points, the second because in fact Henry does not fit in the company he was put in. I left a few comments to the first one.



Comments

  1. I can imagine steam coming out of your ears! I'm not on Facebook so can't read your comments but get the gist in your opening lines. Thank goodness the Young King has you to support him! I take it that Young Henry as an actual crowned King is the reason he doesn't fit into the company of the others?

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  2. You have a soft spot for neglected Henrys. :-) Which is a good thing because we can learn about them that way.

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