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King Henry II

King Henry II

Middle Ages - King Henry II

Short Biography profile and facts about the life of King Henry II of England
The following biography information provides basic facts and information about the life of King Henry II King of England:

  • Nationality: French / English
  • Also Known by the Nicknames: "Curt Mantle" (because he wore practical short cloaks), "Fitz Empress" ( meaning the son of an Empress: Matilda) and also "The Lion of Justice" which was a nickname first given to his grandfather Henry I

  • The word Angevin derives from Anjou (the father of King Henry II was Geoffrey of Anjou)
  • The word Plantagenet derives from the French plant 'genet' and a spray of this broom blossom was worn by King Henry II in his cap. This nickname became "Plantagenet;" which became a kind of surname to the kings of England.
  • Lifespan: 1133 1189
  • Reigned as King of England: 11541189
  • Date of Birth: King Henry II was born on 5 March 1133 at Le Mans
  • Family connections / Genealogy: Grandson of King Henry I. He was the son of Queen Matilda and Geoffrey of Anjou
  • King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine had the following children:
    • Henry the Young King (11551183)
    • Richard I (11571199)
    • Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany (11581186)
    • Matilda, Duchess of Saxony (11561189)
    • Leonora of England (11611214)
    • Joan Plantagenet (11651199)
    • John (11671216)
  • King Henry II had two illegitimate children:
    • Geoffrey, Archbishop of York (11521226)
    • William de Longespee, 3rd Earl of Salisbury (1176- 1226)
  • Henry II Married: Eleanor of Aquitaine on 18 May 1152
  • Date succeeded to the throne of England: 1154. His coronation was on 19 December 1154
  • Date when King Henry II died: 6 July 1189 at the Chateau Chinon. King Henry II was buried Fontevraud Abbey 
  • Character of King Henry II: Clever, strong, determined and spirited. He had a terrible temper
  • Accomplishments or why King Henry II was famous: He was the first of the Plantagenet or Angevin Kings. He made Ireland a part of his vast domain. He struggled with Thomas Becket who ended up being murdered in Canterbury Cathedral

King Henry II
The story and biography of King Henry II which contains interesting information, facts & the history about the life of King Henry II

Timeline of King Henry II

The story of King Henry I ( Nicknames : "Curt Mantle", "Fitz Empress" and "The Lion of Justice")
Henry Fitz-Empress was the first king of the Plantagenet family, also called the House of Anjou. He followed King Stephen as King of England. A strong king who pulled down almost all the Castles that had been built in Stephen's time to gain control and power over the barons. Henry was an extremely powerful king who was lord of nearly half France.

The story of King Henry I and Thomas a Becket
King Henry II ruled England well and made many laws. One was that, if a priest or monk was thought to have committed any crime, he should be tried by a king's judge, instead of a bishop. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas a Becket, refused to consent to this law. Thomas a Becket and King Henry II had once been great friends but this refusal led to their argument. King Henry was so angry with him that Thomas a Becket was forced to leave England, and take shelter with the King of France. Six years passed by before a temporary reconciliation was made. The archbishop realised that the king still hated him. Just after his return, Thomas a Becket laid under censure some persons who had given offence. They went and complained to the king, and Henry exclaimed in passion, "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" Four of his knights who heard these words set forth to Canterbury.

The archbishop guessed why they were come; but he would not flee again, and waited for them by the altar in the cathedral, not even letting the doors be shut. There they slew him. King Henry was devastated by this act which had been prompted by his own words.  After three years King Henry showed his penitence by entering Canterbury Cathedral barefoot and knelt before the tomb of Thomas a Becket. The penitence continued with every priest or monk in turn to strike him with a rod.

The story of King Henry I and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine
Whilst the dispute with Thomas a Becket was going on, the Earl of Pembroke, called Strongbow, one of Henry's nobles, had gone over to Ireland and obtained a little kingdom there, which he professed to hold for King Henry. The Kings of England became became Lords of Ireland, though for a long time they only had the Province of Leinster, and were always at war with the Irish around. Henry was a most powerful king; but his latter years were very unhappy. His wife was a difficult woman, and her sons were all disobedient and rebellious. Once all the three eldest sons, Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey, and their mother, left the court, and began to make war upon him. King Henry was much stronger and soon forced them to submit. Queen Eleanor was incarcerated in a strong castle in England as long as he lived. Her sons were much more fond of her than of their father, and they thought this usage so hard, that they were all the more ready to break out against him.

King Henry I and his son, Henry the Young King
In 1170, his eldest son Henry ( known as Henry the Young King) was crowned king of England as Henry III. Historians know him as Henry "the Young King" so as not to confuse him with the later king of this name who was his nephew. The battle between father and son raged on when Henry, who was leading an army against his father, when he was taken ill, and felt himself dying. He sent an entreaty that his father would forgive him, and come to see him. But the young man had so often been false and treacherous, that Henry feared it was only a trick to get him as a prisoner, and only sent his ring and a message of pardon; and young Henry died, pressing the ring to his lips, and longing to hear his father's voice.

King Henry I and his other sons, Geoffrey, Richard and John
Geoffrey, his third son, was killed by a fall from his horse, and there were only two sons left alive, Richard and John. News came that the Mohammedans in the Holy Land had won Jerusalem back again; and the Pope called on all Christian princes to go on a crusade to recover the Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The kings of England and France, young Richard, and many more, were roused to take the cross; but while arrangements for going were being made, a fresh dispute about them arose, and Richard went away in a rage, got his friends together, and, with King Philip of France to help him, began to make war on King Henry. His father was feeble, and worn out, and could not resist as in former times. He fell ill, and gave up the struggle, saying he would grant all they asked. The list of Richard's friends whom he was to pardon was brought to him, and the first name he saw in it was that of John, his youngest son, and his favourite, the one who had never before rebelled. His heart was broken and in the year 1189, Henry II died.

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